Taking a drive to find some fresh air, I stumbled upon a little farm located along the historic French Broad River near Brevard, North Carolina. The East Fork Farm is a hard working organic farm that grows vegetables, raises a variety of game birds and invites visitors to look outside the box. They recently joined forces with Adventure Camp Guru, a referral and guide service for folks searching for summertime adventures.

Assortment of chicken and quail eggs

Assortment of chicken and quail eggs. Photo: Karin Strickland

Through fresh, local food and breathtaking adventures, The East Fork Farm is hoping to become a “must-do experience” for families visiting the Brevard area. It’s ideal for a modern-day professional looking for a tranquil escape or a family looking to explore the mountains.

Scott and Neal fishing the East Fork of the French Broad River.

Scott and Neal fishing the East Fork of the French Broad River. Photo: Karin Strickland

Their story is one of humble beginnings: through hard work and familial support, everything visitors see has been built by hand. The farm brings nostalgia to a time when things were simpler and you worked for what you have. They have worked tirelessly to make this dream a reality and they are so close, yet they recognize there is hard work still to come.

Brandon Hughes building a “squirrel’s nest” off grid shelter along the French Broad River.

Brandon Hughes building a “squirrel’s nest” off grid shelter along the French Broad River. Photo: Karin Strickland

Co-owner Scott Sullivan, originally from Mississippi, says he sold mountain bikes, his Jeep, and kayaking, camping and fishing gear to put money down on purchasing the land. The plan was to operate as a referral service until he was able to start guiding private trips. Scott recruited Kris Kolenut for his expertise in adventure programming. These guys have professional experience guiding all types of outdoor adventures in the area.

Scott and Kris canoeing the Lower North Fork of the French Broad.

Scott and Kris canoeing the Lower North Fork of the French Broad. Photo: Karin Strickland

In the early spring they met Neal Mitchell, Emily Hughes, and Brandon Hughes, also with Mississippi roots. The three had established an organic farm and a successful fly fishing guide service in 2013. The meeting grew into a relationship in which their new farm venture was born. They decided to join forces and participate in the Transylvania Farmers Market where local farmers, producers and artists come together every Saturday from April through December.

In August, they guided their first backcountry trip with four teenagers from Atlanta, taking them fly-fishing and backpacking through the Shining Rock Wilderness in Pisgah National Forest. The young clients agreed they had never experienced something so exciting and fulfilling. Word spread as the business began to take form. Since then, they’ve made giant strides in planning and implementing the expansion of the East Fork Farm into a fusion of farm life and outdoor adventure.

Brandon Hughes fishing the Lower North Fork of the French Broad.

Brandon Hughes fishing the Lower North Fork of the French Broad. Photo: Karin Strickland

These friends have been living this way because it’s what they know and love. With the first pages of their story written, they’re searching for others that find value in local organic food and outdoor adventure to help them write the next chapter.

DSC_1599

Kris, Brandon, Emily, and Scott enjoying the evening at the farm after a long day. Photo: Karin Strickland

While the property is already one of a kind, The East Fork Farm is looking to expand options for their guests by offering a cozy bunkhouse and bathhouse, and developing off-grid camping along the river. They also plan to offer limited amounts of CSA shares next year.

Brandon and Scott working on “squirrel’s nest” off grid shelter.

Brandon and Scott working on “squirrel’s nest” off grid shelter. Photo: Karin Strickland

“We want to expand in a way that will provide accessibility for more families to visit,” Brandon Hughes says. “Sharing the idea of delicious organic food while embracing the adventure of the Blue Ridge Mountains is what the East Fork Farm is all about.”

Brandon Hughes holding a Reeves Pheasant Rooster.

Brandon Hughes holding a Reeves Pheasant Rooster. Photo: Karin Strickland

Anyone can go online to support their vision and make a huge difference to an already growing community. With public backing, The East Fork Farm will continue spreading its wings by delivering quality incentives to their investors.

When people invest in local enterprises like The East Fork Farm, the investor not only receives a unique, local experience — they also enrich the community around them. Every dollar spent at independent businesses yields three times more money to the local economy than the one spent at chains.

With the holidays fast approaching, The East Fork Farm is excited about providing meaningful, mutually beneficial gifts for people looking to explore Transylvania County. Consider investing at any level in this unique Appalachian experience. Every single dollar counts.

At the time of this article, The East Fork Farm has raised 30% to their goal. It will take friends like you to come together and make this a reality. Please visit www.smallknot.com/eastforkfarmlife

Photos taken by Karin Strickland of the Mcdowell Photography Project.