Family Fun at Patterson Farm Inc. Market and Tours
Do you know the original source of the produce that you consume? Have you ever had a first-hand experience interacting with the agricultural process? It’s important to have an understanding of how food products are grown and sustainable farming practices. Most people are accustomed to purchasing their produce directly from their local grocery stores or farmers’ market. While doing so is designed to offer convenience, visiting a working farming allows a person to gain an appreciation of the work that goes into bringing food to their table. Rowan County is fortunate to have a multigenerational family farm right in our backyard that we can gain this knowledge from. Patterson Farm Market & Tours is the operation of this family farm that is open to the public and offers a unique and interactive way to learn about agriculture and “growing healthy traditions”.
4 Generations of Farming
Patterson Farm Inc. is a fruit and vegetable commercial farm that was first established in 1919 by James A. Patterson. The family business has continued to thrive for 4 generations with the future linage currently preparing to continue the legacy. Michelle Patterson, who serves as the Treasurer and the Director of Fun, reports that several of the Patterson children have obtained their collegiate education in sustainable agriculture and are either working at the business full time or are supporting the business in different aspects from the creation of sustainable ways to maintain their products to overseeing the special events and tours. As the farm operation continues to grow, they now have several divisions to serve their growing customer base.
The farm expanded from its original structure and divided into Patterson Farm Repack and Patterson Farm Market & Tours. Patterson Farm Repack serves their customers up and down the east coast. At the repack operation they process and package their produce to ship to customers such as grocery stores and restaurants. When asked what produce they grow, Michelle specified that during different seasons they have strawberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, pumpkins, poinsettias, and other plants. Patterson Farm Market & Tours is a destination where visitors can come to shop at the market, experience interactive farm play, and gain insights on agricultural practices. Patterson Farm Market & Tours is often referred to by school age youth as the “Strawberry Farm” or the “Pumpkin Patch” as they are frequented by school field trip groups.
Attraction and Events
After speaking with Michelle Patterson, I quickly learned that Patterson Farm Market & Tours offers a variety of experiences that are designed to appeals to all ages. They are traditionally known for their educational school tours, where their staff make learning fun while “educating the next generation on the importance of farms and our food supply chain”. An example of this is the Dirt on Dirt Tour. This experience is specifically created to meet NC Common Core Standards for the 3rd grade but can be modified to meet any age. The students learn “the importance of soil to farmers, plants, and our plant”. Other specialized tour days that are offered are the Farmer for the Day, Strawberry Patch Tour, and Special Needs Day, which is designed to meet any special needs guest may have. They also have Home School Days. On these days, groups of home school students are welcome to tour the farm and are presented specific topics on certain days. As a special treat the students will be able to leave with either a small pumpkin or a pint of strawberries.
You don’t have to be a student to enjoy Patterson Farm Market & Tours. Their farm activities cater from young children and school aged kids all the way up to teens and adults. You can plan what activities you’d like to enjoy by using their attraction age gauge available at the market. They are open weekdays and weekends depending on the season and hours. Some new fall activities for 2022 include Human Foosball, spin chairs, and barnyard soccer.
Market of Goods
Some people that visit Patterson Farm Market & Tours come to partake in the homemade goods such as their ice cream (that comes in several flavors) apple cider slushie, and creamy milkshakes. Their current seasonal ice cream flavor of the month is pumpkin cheesecake. In addition to their confectionery goods, they also have an entire market of homemade and crafted goods for to appeal to everyone. Maybe you would enjoy the fresh seasonal flowers they offer or fresh popped kettle corn. They also have special made salsa, chicken salad, candles, dolls, soaps, and different pimento cheese that is a fan favorite. This is just a small example of the wide variety of goods that the market offers for sale. The market is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (hours subject to change based on the season).
Beyond The Attraction and Goods
Patterson Farm Market & Tours also offers birthday parties and corporate events to interested groups. They are able to accommodate groups of various sizes and have a large and open inviting space that is ideal for hosting team building events. If you are interested, all information is available on their website.