Every time I tell someone I live in the western part of Rowan County, they ask “What do you do out there?!” I always chuckle because to the naked eye, it would seem there isn’t much to do, but I’m happy to tell you that western Rowan County is country living at its best!
100-Year-Old Family Farm
Western Rowan is an area rich in farming and family traditions! I am lucky enough to be neighbors with Patterson Farm Market & Tours Inc. which is located at 10390 Caldwell Road in Mt. Ulla. If you visit their website, you will learn that they grow over 300 acres of fresh produce and are known for their tomatoes and strawberries. That is a staggering number of fresh veggies and fruits right at our fingertips! Patterson Farm is a family operation that began in 1919, and over the past 100 years each generation has gone to college studying various areas of agriculture which adds to the success of the farm. Though strawberry picking season has recently ended, stop by their market for a wide selection of fresh vegetables including tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, and corn. Cool off with a hand-dipped ice cream cone and shop farm-fresh eggs and Homestead Creamery Milk. They are also a one-stop-shop for all your summer veggie and fruit canning needs – it’s tomato season people! In addition to their produce, they also offer Educational Tours welcoming school groups, home school groups, special needs group, and senior outings. I certainly don’t want to wish summer away, but the fall season brings a whole other array of fun on the farm with their weekend fall festivals, hayrides, pumpkin patch and so much more! You will definitely want to get some beautiful poinsettias for your holiday décor too, grown right in their greenhouses!
Biggest Community Barn Quilt in NC
If I leave my house and head to the IGA grocery store in Cleveland, I will pass by West Rowan Farm, Home, and Garden. This iconic farm-and-feed store has been business for over a hundred years and is currently ran by Elsie Bennett. I stopped in and had a chat with her about the great things happening in the store. West Rowan Farm, Home, and Garden is a staple of the western Rowan community that is now finding ways to inspire the youth in the area while keeping to its roots and traditions. Guests stop in for ice cream and Cheerwine slushies just about every day. On Sundays, there is a weekly after-church ice cream social.
If you visit the store today, you will notice that things have indeed evolved over the years.
There are now tables where volunteers huddle and work on the major community quilting project to make the “Biggest Community Barn Quilt in North Carolina”. Volunteers paint different quilt patterns that reflect their personal stories as well as local inspiration. They are currently looking for sponsors to complete the project, if interested please do not hesitate to call the store at 704-278-2800. Ellis states she’s working to ensure West Rowan Farm, Home, and Garden remains a key landmark and cornerstone of the community for years to come!
Local Parks Offer Relaxation & Recreation
Sloan Park is a quaint park with 100 acres of green space, 3 miles of trails, and 5 picnic shelters for families and groups to enjoy. Get active on their volleyball courts or softball diamond. This peaceful retreat is also home to a historic gristmill. My family and I like to host picnics when we desire relaxation. Sloan Park is open year-round daily.
Community Park on Hurley School Road is the home of West Rowan baseball. This park/athletic complex offers four soccer fields, five baseball fields, open grassy fields, and walking trails. Visitors can also enjoy a well-stocked fishing lake and three picnic areas. When we moved to Rowan County, it took us a couple of years to form a new Fourth of July tradition. So, last year we decided to get up early and go fishing at Community Park. It was so much fun! When we saw other families fishing and grilling out, we decided then it would be a part of our new tradition. My youngest son keeps us coming back to this park often with his love with America’s pastime. He plays little league baseball in the fall and spring seasons. The concession stand sits in the middle and is run by an army of parent volunteers. This is where I first learned about pickle pops (pickle juice ice pops and the kids love it)!
Adventures of the West
You cannot live in western Rowan County and not enjoy the great outdoors! My boys love riding bikes, climbing trees, and catching bugs. I’ve made up their beds and discovered all kinds of different shaped rocks which they say is a part of their collection (insert eye roll). I can see the benefits living out in the country has had on their physical and emotional well-being. It especially shows in their willingness to do well in school. These are personal experiences my family has enjoyed directly, but there are other great things happening in western Rowan County which I promise to bring to you in a later blog!