Susan Tipton-Fox, Diversified Small-Scale Farmer and Homesteader
Name: Susan Tipton-Fox
Occupation: Farmer and Homesteader (Susan writes and teaches about things that happen at the farm)
Place of Residence: Burnsville (Yancey County), North Carolina, Rugged yet beautiful Appalachian Mountains
Background and Personal History: Susan and her husband, Alan, both worked off-farm jobs and used their small farm to continue the farming and preserving practices that had been passed down to them by their families.
In 2006, Susan was diagnosed with breast cancer, and it became a necessity that she and her husband make their small farm sustain them. So, through mistakes and triumphs, they decided they could be of help to others. This idea became a reality when an opportunity was put before them: teaching through Mayland Community College.
Now, the couple presents on-farm workshops. They also try to keep the knowledge and culture of their Mountain and Native American roots alive and thriving for the next generation.
Current Projects: Susan and Alan are growing their on-farm agritourism by promoting "workshop stays" on the farm (extending the farm experience). They have been tapping maple trees for awhile and are now getting their "sap water" to market. Their "Hopping Tomme" cheeses will be available from their own micro-dairy beginning summer 2016, too. They have a few more ideas up their sleeves as well!
Other Fun Facts: Yes, you heard right — Susan and Alan do play with rocks on the farm! They use all resources this farm and land have to offer. When they till the ground, that is not the end of it. Who hasn't complained about plowing up rocks and having to move them out of the garden?
Because the couple live in an area that is well known for semi-precious stones, they have stopped complaining and have started saving and using the rocks. They find smoky quartz, epidote, bladed kyanite and silky kyanite to name a few. They use these to make their "rocks on a string" necklaces.