DOBSON — The Farm is not just any farm.
At The Farm, on Bray Ford Road in Dobson, the pumpkin patch is full of princesses, bunnies ride a barrel train, gypsies take pony rides and trick-or-treating takes place in a corn maze.
Josh and Mayghan Watson’s 65-acre farm has been open to the public for visits since Sept. 2, but this weekend they are throwing a Harvest Jubilee where all of the above is happening, in addition to a live DJ, pumpkin carving and costume contests, face painting, a playground, bounce houses, pedal tractors, hay rides, chicken coop and lots of food.
Josh Watson started growing produce between his junior and senior years at Surry Central High School when he planted an acre of tomatoes and sold them during the summer. He kept expanding until reaching his current 65 acres.
Meanwhile, his wife Mayghan was teaching school where it blew her mind that the kids couldn’t trace their food back any further than the school cafeteria.
She said that, according to the kids, “Pizza came from Pizza Hut.”
“There is a gap in our education somewhere. Kids don’t grow up on farms anymore. They don’t have that life experience. You’d think in a rural county that wouldn’t be the case, but it is.”
So she quit her teaching job. The Watsons sell their produce at a farm stand in July and August, and open their farm for families to visit and help children get a better idea of the origins of their food. School groups come to The Farm on field trips. They see a salad garden and a pizza garden, a T-shirt garden that grows cotton, while wheat and grain crops show the kids where bread comes from.
Two pigs named Sausage and Bacon quickly identify the source of pork, with cows and chickens on the farm to help out with beef, dairy and poultry.
Josh Watson is president of Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers in Surry County. He has been involved with the group since 2009 but his interest in farming goes back to high school where his agriculture teacher Daniel Overcash encouraged him to grow vegetables.
After that initial one-acre crop of tomatoes, Watson went off to N.C. State to learn more, then came back and added more acreage.
“Josh loves to grow things,” said his wife. “He does a very good job, too.”
According to Mayghan Watson, “Less than 2% of the population are farmers and their average age is almost 60.”
The Watsons, a young couple with two young daughters, Lily, age four, and Ella, 18 months, are at the beginning of their careers and single-handedly bucking that trend.
The Farm is located at 769 Bray Ford Road in Dobson. Harvest Jubilee continues Sunday from 1-7 p.m. One Day Pass is $10. Age 65 and up is $8. Age two and under is free. Half-price on Sunday for law enforcement and military with ID.
The Farm will remain open until Nov. 12 for its regular fall season. For more information, visit www.letsgotothefarm.com or call 336-817-5208.
Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.