Sourwood Innkeepers Connie and Proal always talk about their love and commitment to buy local for their Asheville Bed and Breakfast. This commitment carries through to buying local sourwood honey, pottery, soaps for the inn and supporting all the local farms and dairies for their dining menus. To get to know these farmers and feature their products on our social media, Proal set up a meeting for us to interview Anna from Ivy Creek Family Farms. After our visit, we reflected on our thoughts about Anna and her family farm. To us, she and her family are a perfect example of “The Heart of America.” It is a treasure that we should all stop to notice and support these farmers and others across our country that is such an American treasure!
Anna’s life story is quite remarkable and she knew her calling was to be a teacher and a grower of life. In 2001, her younger sister Katie was diagnosed with bone cancer. While helping care for her in the hospital, Anna noticed that there weren’t many positive activities available for kids like Katie, except to watch TV. So to help with her sister’s emotional, social, and cognitive needs, it all started when she brought in a camera.
At first, Anna taught photography just to Katie. But then she started teaching Katie’s neighbors in the hospital, then five other kids on the unit got involved, then 10, then 20. Photography and visual arts quickly proved powerful ways to help patients successfully cope with their medical treatments and hospital stays. Soon after, Anna created Arts for Life which is still flourishing today.
Always a teacher and now a mother of 5-year-old Abe and 8-year-old Leah, Anna’s love of farming and growing things turned to family farming full-time 7 years ago. Just listening to Anna’s love of life makes one want to be a better person.
Anna said she has a passion to work with the living. “I grow vegetables because I love life and when I farm I get to see that life thrive. And when I teach I get to see children thrive”
Summer on the farm requires long hours, some days being 16+ hours. During the school season, she also teaches history at a local private school.
This truly is a family affair with young Abe’s job description of tractor driver, mechanic, and all-around helper and Leah goat and chicken supervisor:)
About the Farm
The story of how Ivy Creek Family Farm evolved is quite endearing. The idea of having a family farm for the Littman’s was born 12 years ago when a neighbor offered them a quarter of an acre to grow vegetables on. The bounty from this little plot of land was so large that they started selling produce in a near-bye barn every Saturday. During this time they both saw and understood the importance family farms have for the community. Originating from that farm stand and a quarter of an acre of borrowed land, the dream of a larger farm was born.
Today, Ivy Creek Family Farm operates from a 38-acre piece of land in Barnardsville. Anna, Paul, and their staff of four intensely farm eight of those acres to grow vegetables, flowers, fruit, and shiitake mushrooms using ecologically sound and organic practices.
Every Saturday they sell their produce at the North Asheville Tailgate Farmer’s Market where innkeeper Proal picks up vegetables for the weekend meals at the inn. Ivy Creek also sells produce to local restaurants, Food Pantry boxes, CSA members, and at the on-sight farm stand.
Working with local chefs
Everyone at Ivy Creek Family Farms is friendly and warm. They especially love working with local chefs. As quoted from their website- “When Chef Philip Bollhoefer arrived to volunteer with us seven years ago he changed the way we farm at Ivy Creek and the way we work with chefs. Pulling carrots from the ground, he watched us grade them. “What are you doing with those baby carrots?” he wondered. And with that, Ivy Creek Family Farm began growing baby carrots for chefs. Since then we have specialized our crops to fit chef’s plates, their pallets, and their inventions.”
At the Sourwood Inn, Ivy Creeks greens and kale are a staple with seasonal produce guiding new recipes.
Come Stay With Us at the Sourwood Inn
Stay with us for an unforgettable Asheville mountain getaway. We are busy putting the finishing details on our Thanksgiving meal, including a Bird And Beef main entree and vegetables from Ivy Creek Family Farms. Come and experience all of our farm direct dining and curated wine. Relax in our upscale guest rooms that include private balconies, wood-burning fireplaces, and luxurious baths.
Thank you Anna for all that you do and for taking the time to give us a tour of your wonderful family farm. Wishing you and your family all the best!