Ashe farm tour to highlight slope management

By Jesse Campbell (

Article Published: Jan. 23, 2014 | Modified: Feb. 12

Discussing the latest advancements in water and slope management will be the major points of emphasis at Old Season Farm in Ashe County during an Educational Farm Tour at 1 p.m. Feb. 11.

The tour is sponsored by Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture.

Due to the mountainous terrain of the High Country, steep slopes, coupled with a wide range of weather conditions, can make water management difficult.

To address that issue, Kristen and David Travis will be discussing swales and other unique approaches to water and weed management in their hazelnut orchard.

Swales are ditches that help to slow the movement of surface runoff, increase water infiltration and improve water and nutrient availability to plants, according to a news release.

The Travises have recently constructed three acres of swales on their land, which was funded by a BRWIA grant.

Other topics of discussion during the tour include hazelnuts as a High Country crop and using sheep for integrated orchard management.

“Our goal is to find or develop varieties of the European hazelnut that can be grown profitably in our region,” Kristen Travis said. “We don’t know if they will produce reliably yet. Still, we’re excited to share what we’ve learned so far.”

Following the tour, there will be a 3 p.m. potluck dinner held at the Travises’ home.

This get-together will offer the opportunity for women involved in any aspect of agriculture to network, learn from one another and connect with Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture and their services. Those planning to attend are encouraged to bring their favorite teas or finger foods to share.

Old Season Farm is located at 545 Will Vannoy Road in West Jefferson. For more information, call (828) 386-1537, or email (

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