Several Miami County farms and rural operations will welcome visitors this weekend during the annual Miami County Spring Farm Tour, and this year’s event will feature three new stops.
One of those new stops is Nighthawk Vineyard & Winery, which is back on the tour after taking a few years off. The winery’s outdoor patio offers a shaded space for enjoying musical performances and a glass of wine.
Whispering Elm Farm is another new stop this year. Tucked away by Hillsdale Lake, Whispering Elm is an organic farm specializing in culinary and medicinal herbs as well as elderflowers and elderberries. The farm offers several tonics and syrups as well as classes and events to support a healthier, more natural lifestyle.
Wildwood Outdoor Education Center is the third new stop. Summer campers love the wide open spaces of Wildwood. During the camping offseason, the center provides outdoor leadership and team building activities for school and corporations. Visitors will be able to enjoy canoeing on the pond, guided hikes and fishing, according to a news release.
Every year the tour attracts families, young couples, retirees, aspiring farmers and just about anyone who would like to enjoy some time in the country.
All of the 14 stops will be open to visitors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 11 and 12.
Those who choose to spend a day or two visiting the stops on the tour will be able to see a variety of animals, ranging from alpacas and goats to horses and Hereford cattle.
Several stops will have products for sale that may require refrigeration, so participants are encouraged to bring a cooler. Most stops have picnic and rest area amenities for families to enjoy. Products include cheese, pecans, fresh vegetables and wine.
The self-guided tour celebrates the county’s diversity and highlights local farm products found on the back roads of Miami County. Directional signs will be posted to help guide visitors throughout the tour, and parking areas will be designated at each stop.
Visitors will be entered into an individual drawing for each stop they travel to. To enter, visitors can pick up a “Farm Passport” at any participating location. For every new stop visited, participants can ask the farm’s workers to sign or stamp their passport.
For more information about the farm tour, or to receive a map of the sites, call (913) 294-4045. More information about the tour can also be found online at www.MICOFarmTour.com.
This year’s stops, and their self-provided descriptions, are:
Carl and Sharon Schroeder, 7195 W. 327th St., Louisburg
Foxfire Farm features pick-your-own strawberries. Using sustainable farming practices, they grow strawberries, asparagus, blueberries, elderberries, blackberries, heirloom tomatoes, sweet corn, garlic, onions and pumpkins. Their goats and chickens love to greet visitors too.
For more information, call (913) 449-8236 or send an email to email@example.com.
Isinglass Estate Winery
Brandon and Sarah Vore, 16241 W. 381st St., La Cygne
The 30-acre, meticulously cultivated vineyard is the heart of Isinglass Estate. Their team’s efforts create year-round beauty. They have learned that there is something decidedly therapeutic about wandering through it as the sun sets or the fog rolls in. Visitors are invited to come experience for themselves what serenity feels like.
Patricia Wolfe, 100 Lakemary Drive, Paola
Lakemary School’s Animal and Garden Therapy Center is affectionately referred to as “The Ranch.” Serving K-12 special needs children, it provides activities to engage students through therapy, outdoor education and recreation. Visitors will be able to see chickens, rabbits, goats, dogs, fish, mini pigs and gardens.
Louisburg Cider Mill
Josh Hebert, 14730 W. Kansas Highway 68, Louisburg
Visitors will be able to visit the pressing barn and see the equipment the mill uses to press apples. They can also watch the production team bottle Lost Trail soda. They are also welcome to stroll through the country store to sample products and purchase goods to take home.
For more information, call (913) 837-5202 or go online to www.louisburgcidermill.com.
Miami Purebred Herefords
Scott and Krista Lee, 36140 Victory Road, Paola
Using artificial insemination and embryo implantation, the Lees raise purebred Herefords with superior genetics that provide award-winning beef. They also raise fainting goats, known as meat goats, which have a rich flavor. A small flock of laying hens provides colorful eggs. They also have a guardian llama.
For more information, call (913) 731-4498 or go online to www.facebook/miamipure bred or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Middle Creek Winery at New Lancaster General Store
Stephen and Kristin Graue, 36688 New Lancaster Road, Paola
Established in 1874 as a farmer’s co-op, the restored general store is listed on the National Historic Register. Once a creamery, the store traded in milk, butter, chickens, eggs and grain. Today, visitors can sample wines from Middle Creek. The old store features Kansas products, gifts, local art and antiques.
Nighthawk Vineyard & Winery
Cathy and Don Warring, 16381 W. 343rd St., Paola
With an idyllic pastoral setting in a 100-year-old walnut grove, Nighthawk Winery is the perfect place to unwind, settle back and enjoy a glass of artisan wine created on site from their 3 1/2-acre vineyard and locally grown grapes. Visitors can enjoy lunch while challenging their family members to a variety of yard games.
Leland and Slina Prothe, 33850 Victory Road, Paola
Visit their pecan farm and operation. The farm has been in the Prothe family since 1879. Taste some fresh pecans, and you will never buy from the store again. See equipment in operation and read about the other equipment used. Pecans and black walnuts will be available.
Rocking Goat Farms LLC
Michael Amen, 37126 New Lancaster Road, La Cygne
Rocking Goat Farms is a small, local farm and goat dairy offering raw milk, handcrafted cheeses, fudge, eggs, goat milk soap and handspun Babydoll yarn. Along with goats, they have Babydoll sheep, llamas, specialty chickens, geese ducks, turkeys and peacocks. Their dairy goats are bred for milk and show.
Silver Lining Herefords
Gerald and Marlyn Silvers, 8435 W. 295th St., Louisburg
This registered Polled Hereford cattle operation has been in existence for more than 45 years. They have some of the finest Herefords in the area. In addition to cattle for sale, they produce and sell outstanding grain-fed beef. Cattle will be on display to see and touch.
For more information, call (913)375-2931 or send an email to email@example.com.
Stonehaven Bison Ranch
Kevin and Jan Leslie, 32846 Block Road, Paola
They are a family-owned bison ranch established in 2014 with 16 bison. Visit the ranch and view the herd in their viewing area. Then try a bison burger during the Boy Scout fundraiser from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. both days. Bison products will be on sale throughout the tour.
For more information, call (913) 957-4687 or go online to www.ksbuffalo.com.
Timber View Farm Alpacas
Brad and Becky Ryckert, 14713 W. 311th St., Paola
Timber View Farm cares for 16 Huacaya alpacas, and they really enjoy sharing their love for the animals with other people. Visitors can feed them while marveling at their super soft, luxurious fiber. They also have a farm store featuring various products made from alpaca fiber. Shearing demonstrations are planned for both days.
Whispering Elm Farm
Colin and Melissa McDonald, 27017 Waverly Road, Paola
Whispering Elm Farm is a small, organic farm specializing in herbs, elderflowers, elderberries and their newest addition, cut flowers. Visitors are invited to come see the elderberry orchard, beehives and free-range ducks. They can also tour the medicinal gardens to learn the wonderful health benefits these plants offer. Syrups, tonics, honey and flowers will be available for purchase.
Wildwood Outdoor Education Center
Jane Blakeley, 7095 W. 399th St., La Cygne
Explore Wildwood’s wild spaces. Canoe across the pond; fish for bass, carp and catfish; or go on a guided hike through the trails. Be sure to bring a snack and eat while looking out over the pond. Visitors should wear closed-toe shoes.