If you need an excuse to explore the countryside on a Friday afternoon, look at a chicken, pet a goat, or buy a melon or a hunk of cheese, you’re in luck. The Bayview Farm Crawl kicked off May 13 and will go year round each Friday from noon to 6 p.m. For now, five farms near each other in the Bayview area are taking part in the weekly event: Acacia Farms, Bayview Veggies, Franny’s Garden, River’s End Nursery and Thompson Farms — names that should be familiar to patrons of area farmers markets.
Besides affording the public a chance for a rustic adventure, the Farm Crawl benefits the farmers as well. Jack Moffitt of Bayview Veggies, on North San Roman Road just south of Perez Road, said he’s seen a roughly 20-percent bump in weekly sales. “It used to be zero sales on Friday,” he said. “We kept the gates locked and we harvested. “We could have been selling the veggies the whole time. It’s found money, basically.” Moffitt said he now gets about 20 visitors on Fridays. Thompson Dairy Farms, at 38141 F.M. 510, gets even more, he said. “He pulls them in over there probably double that,” Moffitt said. “He’s a little more centrally located, and he’s got cheese and baby goats that have to be fed.”
River’s End at 27510 Ted Hunt Rd., known for its annual summer “Mango Fiestival,” and Acacia Farms at 39629 Palm Dr. have reported bumps in their Friday sales, he said. Produce is at a “low ebb” this time of year because of the heat, Moffitt said, though watermelons and okra will be available and, besides, a visit to the country is fun — especially for kids who aren’t used to it. Moffitt said he remembers running around on relatives’ farms when he was a boy. “I’ve really enjoyed the kids coming out,” he said. “Seeing a chicken up close and personal is a pretty rare event in their life.”
Children are welcome to explore Bayview Veggies as long as they don’t try to “start any engines,” mess with equipment or get tangled up in fencing, Moffitt said. “I like seeing them do it,” he said. “It brings back a lot of good memories.”
Moffitt said he’d like to get bicyclists interested in the crawl, noting that Bayview Veggies features plenty of “good old country-style pasture parking” for vehicles to park and unload bikes. The crawl is a shoe-string operation, with small signs at intersections to guide visitors. Bayview municipal ordinances forbid big signs, though Moffitt said he puts up a banner at his farm every Friday. A map is available at the Bayview Farm Crawl Facebook page. Moffitt admitted he’s had to guide in more than one lost crawler via phone. “I answer my phone during those six hours, so I’m air traffic control,” he said.