Monday, September 16, 2013

Farm Heritage Day at Indigo Farms in Calabash

The Welcoming Oak at Indigo Farms.
image credit: indigo farms website 

"Last year, one lady and her daughter just came to buy some fresh baked bread and ended up staying the whole day!" - Mary Bellamy

Summer has ended, and it is now time to experience the rich bounty of Autumn on the Carolina coast.  Long before the beaches began to attract summertime holiday-makers, the people living along the coasts of North and South Carolina worked hard, farming and fishing, and lived well off the land. We are lucky to have some descendants from those original communities still living in the area, who generously share their rural heritage with newcomers.

The owners of Indigo Farms, OK and Mary Bellamy, whose family has farmed this land for six generations, preserve and share their history and traditions with others through their annual Farm Heritage Day. Every year it's held on the first Saturday of October (This year, it's October 5th, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.), and admission and parking are still free. Bring the kids, and come hungry for delicious food and a good time learning about the lives our ancestors lived.

The farm bakery will be selling its usual range of tasty pies, cookies, crusty bread, as well as traditional treats like molasses and hoop cheese available at their produce market. But on the day there also will be a concession stand selling a wide selection of yummy sandwiches and barbeque plates to tempt your tummy - and the farm's apple and grape harvests have been pressed for fresh cider and juice to quench everybody's thirst.

This event always provides lots to see and learn about, with demonstrations of blacksmithing, the making of lye soap, and the craft of dying with indigo, the valuable cash crop of the past for which the farm is named. You'll also get to see some demonstrations of a horse-drawn plow and a horse-powered cane mill - plus the good folks from the nearby Horry County Museum will be there with still more historical artifacts, antique guns, and a working turn-of-the-century engine.  Every year attracts a little something more to this gathering.

The children can run off their energy in the corn maze, or explore the straw house and a tee-pee; and then rev it up again with the excitement of a hayride or "stock pig racing." Adding to the festive atmosphere, local musicians and gospel singers come to Farm Heritage Day every year to entertain the crowds and help to honor the traditions of those who came before us.

For additional details on this event and many others throughout the year, visit the Indigo Farm website.