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Georgia Mountains Farm Tour encourages visitors to purchase local produce
Scott Hancock talks about the use of horses and mules to pull farm equipment Saturday at the Nacoochee Valley Farm during the Georgia Mountains Farm Tour. - photo by Tom Reed | The Times

North Georgia farmers encouraged people to “eat well, buy local” Saturday, the first day sustainable food farms in the area were open for public tours in the inaugural Georgia Mountains Farm Tour.

Sponsored by the Soque River Watershed Association, the tour featured sustainable local food farms, gardens and restaurants all throughout the North Georgia region, including Habersham, White, Rabun and Stephens counties.

Those touring had the opportunity to learn about sustainable and organic agriculture and try foods made with local produce and prepared by local chefs.

“Being able to tour farms and see how they work makes the choice to eat organic foods something other than just the latest trend,” said Alice-Ann Mayor, who was in town from Union County for the tour. “I love seeing what sets food like this apart, then being able to eat it at a local restaurant and taste the difference.”

Mayor’s husband, Reed, agreed.

“There’s something to say about knowing where your food comes from nowadays,” he said. “Walking around farms like this is just applicable to everyday life.”

People in attendance also had the opportunity to buy food fresh from the farms. By allowing visitors to eat and take home farm fresh produce, the participating organizations hoped to increase the impact of these locally grown foods as well as showcase the local food movement in Northeast Georgia.

Sharon Mauney, a fifth generation steward of LoganBerry Heritage Farm in Cleveland, believed the tour was an opportunity to educate on eating locally and living healthy.

“We incorporate systems that are sustainable, holistic and environmentally friendly,” said Mauney, who also described the farm tour as a “full sensory experience.”

Visitors at LoganBerry were able to enjoy their “seasonal farm market opening day, with in-season produce, food samples, cooking demos, tastings and recipes,” Mauney said.

Those with a tour pass also had the opportunity to shop at local farmers markets, just another way for visitors to try food that they saw firsthand to be the freshest of the fresh.