Back Woods Opportunity

Here are good reasons to have a farm in the backwoods.   Smalltown USA is one place to find good value. Farms away from the madding crowd can offer exceptional value.

Little Horse Creek view

View from the top of our North Carolina farm.

Farms offer an interesting value investing story.

The most important value is that a farm can combine a low stress, healthy lifestyle with a growth and value oriented business.

There are numerous ways to earn with a  farm.

Many of our neighbors grow food, often organic, that they sell in farmer’s markets and/or to restaurants.


West Jefferson Farmers’ Market.  There are growing numbers of  stores opening that sell only local produce.  In our town Rose Mountain Butcher Shoppe (1) offers…

rose mountain

local meats and produce from 21 of our neighbors.

rose mountain

Many rural communities have great infrastructure to support online businesses.  Our farm has fiber optics broadband.  We can have up to a Gigabyte line 1 Gbps. We only take the 20 Mbps option but at a gig just about any kind of online business is possible.

Merri and I for years put on seminars at our farm.  Now we offer cabin rentals/stays/groups  through AIRBNB. (See below).

Not all rural land is inexpensive though.

A Wall Street Journal article “Buyers Build Upscale Homes in the Backwoods” (2) tells how one real estate investor paid $8 million for a ranch in Texas. Then he  built 60 miles of road, created three large lakes, put up 14 miles of fence and bought a herd of pen-raised whitetail deer. He dug 200 yards of ditches for underground power lines, drilled new wells, installed three septic systems, and built a new 10,000-square-foot barn and caretaker’s house.  He had spent 11 millions dollars and still did not have a house to live in.

wsj article

The articles say: “Many dream of owning unspoiled land where they can craft their own retreat, but building a luxury home in a remote location comes with plenty of challenges”.

Yet there are plenty of bargains if you look.  Where we are in Ashe County, North Carolina, there are some excellent bargains because the area is mountainous and farms with a lot of north facing slopes have traditionally not been good for farming.

Also the area has a lot of water and one big trend is the increasing scarcity of water.

Another trend has expanded use by Western medicine of ancient herbs such as ginseng.  Plus there is the growing trend to escape the ruinous costs of western medicine by living naturally healthy lifestyles.

There are at least 126 medicinal plants that grow well in the Blue Ridge.

Wild American Ginseng for example grows naturally in our area.  Ginseng increases stamina, learning ability, and has been used for stress, fatigue characterized by insomnia, poor appetite, nervousness and restlessness and to regulate immune systems.

Ginseng has been found to protect the body & nervous system from stress, stimulate & increase metabolic function, increase physical & mental efficiency, lower blood pressure & glucose levels when they are high, and raise them (blood pressure & glucose levels) when they are low, increase gastrointestinal movement & tone, increase iron metabolism, and cause changes in nucleic acid (RNA) biosynthesis.

In geriatric use, Ginseng has been proven beneficial in restoring mental abilities. Ginseng also helps by directly affecting the adrenal-pituitary axis, the result of which is manifested by an increased resistance to the effects of stress. This herb also aids mental function by improving circulation. Animal studies have clearly demonstrated Ginseng’s ability to help the learning process.

There is incredible profit potential in American Ginseng.  Though most investors have never heard of it, French fur traders realized the enormous profits clear back in the mid 1700s.

They reportedly paid 25 cents per pound to the diggers and then sold the Ginseng for $5 per pound in China. By 1752 the French Canadian traders were selling $100,000 worth of Ginseng. That was a lot of money in those days.

One of the early Ginseng traders in the U.S. became one of the world’s richest men, John Jacob Astor. It has been said that he started his fortune in the late 1700’s when he made a profit of $55,000, all in silver, from Ginseng collected on one of his first expeditions.

Daniel Boone was famous as an outdoorsman but he made his fortune trading Ginseng.

A heavy concentration of Wild American ginseng is found in the Appalachian Mountains, although wild American ginseng is considered endangered.  It grows wild in the eastern half of North America on hardwood forests on well-drained, north facing slopes in predominantly porous, humus-rich soils.

Wild and cultivated ginseng produce an annual crop in the United States and Canada valued in excess of $25 million. The price of wild root is about three times that of cultivated root and almost all exports are sold to China.  The numbers for ginseng farming can be stunning. It may take several thousand dollars to plant a half acre of ginseng, but the crop can return $30,000 a year!

Want to learn more?  The real estate broker we stay in touch with property prices is Tim Parsons at Century 21 Real Estate Brokers in West Jefferson, North Carolina. (3)

Tim can be reached by phone Toll Free: 800.865.4221 or 336.246.2664  – Cell: 336.877.7713 – Email:

I am not recommending that everyone should quickly buy land in the Blue Ridge or Ashe County.  However, if you love being in remote places surrounded by nature and a lot of fresh pure water, then you should investigate.  Merri and I did.  We love it here where three cars is a traffic jam, our commute from bedroom to office is about 45 seconds and did I mention our five county area has the highest percentage of fiber optics home connectedness in the USA?  We can be away from it all, but still totally connected to the world from the Blue Ridge.  We love and have enjoyed our 18 years at Little Horse Creek!




(3) Ashe County Real Estate Information

Escape the Madding Crowd

Join us on Little Horse Creek where Merri and I spend our summers in the Lost Provence.  

little horse creek

Enjoy the cool, green, fresh Blue Ridge simplicity of our farm.

map farm

Escape the hectic pressures of  the city.  Enjoy the freshness of our forest at the end of the world but, still be in the middle of things.

The motto at one of our nearest restaurants in Lansing, North Carolina (192 friendly  people) was: “This is not the end of the world but you can see it from here”.

Merrily Farms is at the end of the world… isolated… nurtured in nature… serene… a perfect place for creativity and peace.

When Merri and I sold our print publishing business in the 1990s, we built cabins and a seminar hall and renovated cottages here.

Little Horse Creek Autumn entrance

The farm is always quiet, peaceful and relaxing.  We built this covered bridge as it allowed us to cross Little Horse Creek…before that one had to wade through!


In times that so many perceive as tumultuous, inspiration becomes even more valuable and important in business.  The news on the internet, in the papers and on TV are so filled with negativity that it can be catching.  In such eras, those who see positive realities gain an extra edge.  This is the place where you leave all this behind.

Our idea was to have small seminars at the farm.

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A group with us at the farm.

There was a problem.  The seminars and courses kept growing too large.  This is a pleasant problem but a difficulty still.

We have given up and have the seminars in West Jefferson at the Jefferson Landing Country Club where there is plenty of space.

We now offer these cabins as quiet escapes at the end of the world, even if you do not want a private consultation.

The cabins and cottage are available for a few days, a week or even a month so you can enjoy the peace and beauty of the Blue Ridge… as Merri and I do.

Make Merrily Farms your escape to our remote North Carolina farm on Little Horse Creek.

Here is the creek…


Here is the cabin in spring.


It overlooks the creek.


There is a huge deck for outdoor living.

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Enjoy eating creekside overlooking the waters of Little Horse Creek.

The cabin is 800 square feet over all.

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The floors and walls are poplar.

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There is plenty of natural surroundings and light.


Enjoy the deck…


overlooking the creek.

There is one bedroom, one bathroom.

There is a full kitchen.  This cabin has one king size bed and a queen size sleeper sofa to accommodate up to four guests.

You can see full details and reserve the cabin at AIRBNB Virgina Creeper Cabin

The second peaceful haven is our Creekside Farmhouse on Little Horse Creek.


Sounds of the creek are very soothing.


great for sitting on rocking chairs on


the front porch.


Living room.


Three bedrooms, a den and dressing room.  Up to ten can stay.


Two bathrooms with showers.






Dining room.

You can see full details or reserve at AIRBNB Bluegrass Music Cottage

Many come just to escape and relax.  Other readers come for private self publishing or internet micro business or Ecuador consultations

There is eight miles of hiking trail where you might see deer…

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wild turkey and…

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plenty of brook and rainbow trout in the creek.

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A trout our daughter caught in the creek.

Travel is easy as well. There are really low cost flights on Allegiant Airlines from our nearest airport Tri City Regional Airport (1.5 hours away) to Tampa and Orlando.  Delta connects to Atlanta and US Airways connects to Charlotte.

Join us at the farm through AirBNB.

See details for reserving our cabin for up to four guests at AIRBNB Virgina Creeper Cabin

See details for reserving our cottage for up to eight guests at AIRBNB Bluegrass Music Cottage