fbpx

A Guide to the Most Unique Farms of Currituck

 In Community, OBX Community, Summer 2024

Traveling on Highway 158 toward the Outer Banks, one passes through thousands of acres of lush farmland that line both sides of the road from Moyock to Point Harbor. Based on the number of produce stands in view, it’s natural to assume that our farms consist solely of fruits, vegetables, and grains. Yet, the county offers a variety of– unique farms that are highly worthy of exploration, and three are highlighted below.

HISTORY: When owners Cathie and David Tomlinson purchased this seven-acre farm in 2013, the former residents had ten alpacas. Cathie explains, “When we took ownership, we had to learn about the care of these exotic animals quickly!” They embraced the challenge and, over time, the Tomlinson’s expanded their herd through breeding and open purchasing of alpacas with new pedigrees, including a herd sire who has excellent fiber (wool).

David says, “At its highest count, our herd numbered 35. Importing alpacas from their native countries of Bolivia, Chili, and Peru is banned in the United States, so the alpacas you now see are American-bred and born. Our farm breeds alpacas, and 14 crias (baby alpacas) have been born here. The process is long because the gestation period lasts 11.5 months and typically only one cria is born.”

A BUSINESS IS BORN: Their farm business concept was born organically through community interest. Cathie, a native New Yorker, has a dynamic and welcoming personality, which ensures tours are engaging and fun! She manages the day-to-day operations and tours while David, a 30-year Navy veteran, maintains the barn and grounds and assists with animal care.

Photos by Julie Short

Photos by Julie Short

At first contact, Cathie exclaimed, “I’m glad you called; our farm is a hidden gem in Currituck County!” She does not exaggerate — the grounds are beautiful, the barn is organized and well-maintained, and their animals are healthy and well-tended.

The current one-hour farm tour includes interactions (petting, handfeeding, photo shoots) with 13 alpacas, an African Zebu cow, a miniature horse, two mini donkeys, ducks, chickens, and roosters. Tomlinson sends their alpaca’s fiber to a co-op in New England for processing. Alpaca fiber is hypoallergenic and softer than cashmere. They sell these hats, gloves, socks, scarves, and shoe inserts in their gift shop.

David explains, “The most asked question from the general public is to explain the difference between llamas and alpacas. Llamas are typically 100-150 pounds heavier than an alpaca and have banana-shaped ears, whereas alpacas have straight ears like a kitten. I like to say if you’re looking up at an animal it’s likely a llama, while if you’re looking down or directly in their face it’s likely an alpaca.”

Alpacawaka welcomes field trip groups from schools, Scout troops, youth groups, birthday parties, etc. You can also hire their adorable traveling Alpacas-To-Go team, Chester and Angus, for a one-hour visit to event sites.

ALPACAWAKA

alpacawaka.com
(757) 450-9446
alpacawaka@gmail.com

393 Snowden Road
Moyock, NC
(off Highway 168,
Caratoke Highway)

OPEN:
Appointment Only
Book online or by telephone

PRODUCTS:
Farm Tours, Farm Field Trips,
Alpacas-To-Go, Fiber Products, Gift Items and Fertilizer

FEE – FARM TOURS:
$10 per person
($30 minimum per tour)

SANCTUARY VINEYARDS

santuaryvineyards.com
(252) 491-2387

7005 Caratoke Highway
Jarvisburg, NC
(off Hwy 158)

OPEN:
10:00 am – 6:00 pm
7 days a week

FEE:
Wine purchase options, event details, and their associated fees are available online.

HISTORY: Sanctuary Vineyards was established in 2002, and it comprises 26 acres under vine on a one-hundred-acre farm. The annual growing season begins in March and, depending on the grape, harvesting occurs between August and October.

John Wright, General Manager/Vineyard Manager, spoke about the family’s inspiration to produce local wines, “We were looking for ways to preserve the farmland, and we wanted to try a new crop that could appeal to those folks visiting the Outer Banks. Most people aren’t aware that North Carolina is rated in the Top 10 for grape production nationwide – and Currituck County had some of the earliest plantings of European-style grapes in our state, some of which date as far back as 1986.”

PRODUCTS: “Our wines are produced on-site,” John continues, “and we grow a variety of grapes including Albarino, Chardonnay, Traminette, Viognier, Petit Manseng, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Tempranillo, Tannat, etc.”

These wines are aged in French oak barrels or fermented in stainless steel tanks. While oak adds spice aromas to aging wines, stainless steel allows wines to ferment neutrally, without additional nuances, which results in a brighter, crisper taste.

Wines can be purchased per bottle, or you can receive a discount with each case purchase. Purchasing wines online is easy, or you can visit Sanctuary Vineyards, attend their weekly wine-tasting events (noted below), or visit any of the Outer Banks Cotton Gin locations.

GIVING BACK: Sanctuary Vineyards is a community-minded and civically responsible family business. They have established annual festivals during the offseason, which are well-attended and much appreciated by locals. They fundraise for over 50 nonprofit charities annually and produce wines, such as ‘Wild Pony White,’ in which the proceeds go directly to the non-profit from each bottle sold.

WEEKLY WINE SAMPLING EVENTS
Tuesday Delight: The Cotton Gin, Duck
(Tuesdays, 2-5 pm, June – August) Live music and wine tasting.
Corolla Cork & Craft: Historic Whalehead, Corolla
(Wednesdays, 3-7 pm, June – August) Live music and wine tasting.
Corolla Uncorked: The Cotton Gin, Corolla
(Thursdays, 2-5 pm, June – August) Live music and wine tasting.
Acoustic Sunset Wine Down: Sanctuary Vineyards, Jarvisburg
(Thursdays, 5:30-8:30 pm, April – September) Live music and food trucks (pet friendly).

SOUTHERN DREAMS FARM, LLC.

southerndreamsfarmnc.com
(252) 202-3796
southerndreamsfarmnc@gmail.com

southerndreamsfarm.etsy.com
foreverbirdhomesandmore.etsy.com

117 Rachel Lane
Powells Point
(off N. Spot Road)

PRODUCTS:
Fresh Farm Eggs, Shiitake Mushrooms, Pickled Quail Eggs, Live & Processed Fowl, Manure Fertilizer, Vegetable & Herb Starts, Bird Feeders, and Bird & Bat Homes

OPEN:
Appointment Only

HISTORY: Owners Jeff Davenport and his wife, Shawn, began their family farm in 2007. “The creation of our farm was inspired by our love of animals and a sense of obligation to teach our children (and now, grandchildren) how to live off the land,” says Shawn. With an uptick of Americans now searching for more affordable food options and self-reliant living, this farm tour feels very relevant and timely.

FOWL: The Davenports raise and sell live and processed fowl. They also sell pasture-raised eggs from their chickens, Peking ducks, and quail. Shawn states, “Our 75+ chickens produce about 300 eggs weekly, and we also collect about 75 duck eggs and 600 quail eggs.” Quail eggs are an excellent source of protein and are considered a delicacy in Asia, Europe, and parts of North America. Their quail eggs are processed, pickled in a dozen marinades, and sold to consumers.

MUSHROOMS: Shawn and Jeff come from mushroom-loving families. Shawn’s dad, Jim Yergin, encouraged Jeff to grow shiitake mushrooms on logs. The mushrooms grow year-round, with major fruiting occurring in the spring and fall months, and are sold fresh, dried, or as a powder. Shiitake powder is rich in minerals and has natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. In Chinese medicine, it is believed to improve blood circulation, boost overall health, and foster longevity.

The Davenports also sell a “Grow Your Own Mushrooms” kit for $20/per log. Jeff explains, “A foot-long log is hand-cut and shiitake spores are inoculated into pre-drilled holes, which are then covered with food-grade wax. Each log can produce fresh mushrooms for up to seven years. A metal plaque on the log documents the inoculation date, and detailed care instructions are provided to each buyer.”

BIRD HOUSES: Jeff builds durable birdhouses designed to last for years. They are mold-resistant and impervious to moisture, insects, and termites. Designs include purple martin houses (8, 16, and 24 chamber structures), bluebird houses, bird feeders, and bat homes.

For more information, visit Jeff’s website: foreverbirdhomesandmore.com or email him at davenporthobbies@gmail.com.

GIVING BACK: Southern Dreams Farm, in partnership with Jarvisburg Feed and Supply, provides free annual community workshops. The spring workshop helps inexperienced people learn to raise backyard chickens. In the spring and fall, they host a second poultry processing workshop to fill freezers.

Julie Short
Author: Julie Short

Contact Us

We'd love to hear from you! Shoot us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt
Photo Courtesy of Twiddy and Company