Saturday, April 25, 2009

Piedmont Farm Tour

Today Meg and I visited 7 farms on the first day of the Piedmont Farm Tour. Sponsored by the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association. Since we live in northern Orange County we wanted to visit farms nearby us.

We started off at Pine Knot Farm a third generation minority farmer that is certified organic and grows vegetables and organic tobacco. They use large tractors and were just getting ready to plant as the fields had been too wet until now.

Just tilled fields, that back field grew organic tobacco last year.

Greens ready to plant, resting in the shade.

Whitted Bowers Farm is in their third year of operation, they run a 52 acre organic biodynamic farm. This biodynamic stuff is new to me, the plants looked great. Check out the website for more info.

Basil from the greenhouse.

The biodynamic mixer, it holds 250 gallons of water that they mix for at least an hour.

The delivery truck.

The tour buggy, made in 1905, a but bumpy, OK a lot bumpy but lots of fun.

Bluebird Meadows They have a farm blog I have been following for some time, you can find their posts in my blog roll. With only three years in the farming business I'm impressed with all they have done thus far.

Some of the best looking strawberries we saw today, note the crimson clover cover crop between the rows. We saw more butterflies species at this farm than any other farms today.

Lettuces looking ready to pick.

Wild Hare Farm Lots of flowers here!

Clueless on this flower, never seen it before.

Wild Hare Farm

Maple Spring Gardens The mother of all farms on this tour thus far. Ken has apprenticed at least two of the previous farmers posted above. He has an army of apprentices so his gardens are kicking out produce.

Broccoli the best looking crop we saw today, in fact the Swiss Chard, kale and Bok Choi were huge as well.

Bright Lights Swiss Chard, more than three times the size in our garden!

Broccoli WOW!

The peony patch, Ken told us he bought a Park Seed special pack of 10 unnamed plants 25 years ago and since then divided the plants twice. Must be an impressive display in a few weeks.

Captain J S Pope Farm They raise over 400 Dorper sheep and lambs. We ate lamb burgers grilled on site, pretty tasty if you ask me. They had a tractor with a tram driven by a 9 or 10 year old boy. The tram was packed with visitors so we walked the farm. Captain J S Pope started this farm and was in the war, Civil War that is. The farm house was built by him, I should have taken photos, sorry.

The livestock

Yes a real outhouse!

Four Leaf Farm and in walking distance from our house. Meg has known them for years from the Carrboro Farmers Market. This farm little as it is with only 1/4 acre of intensive farming it was my kind of place with both flowers and plants for sale and a vegetable garden.

Cucumbers in the greenhouse.

Tim with his Kiwi patch!

The vegetable garden

This lemon tree in the greenhouse gave an aroma that took over the greenhouse!

The most impressive peas on the entire tour, but wait Meg's Peas are a foot taller and have been flowering since Thursday!

Meg's peas in flower from yesterday, they doubled the flowers today. Not from the farm tour.

Helga gave me a tour of the shade garden, this Yellow Lady slipper was lovely!

The gazebo garden at Four Leaf Farm!


Heather said...

Wow Randy- amazing farms your were able to tour. I love to see how the real pros do it. I would love to quit my day job and just be a farmer. I suppose if I quit my day job, farming would cease to be so fun. Great pictures.

gardenerprogress/Catherine said...

Thanks for sharing. That looks like lots of fun. I can't believe Meg's peas are flowering already!

Dave said...

Neat stuff Randy! We have an organic farm nearby that I've been wanting to take a tour of. A lot of the time when you see large scale production you can adapt what they do to a smaller garden. I like the intercropping of the red clover, it's a good idea!

Randy Emmitt said...

These farms we visited mostly sell at the local farmers markets and to restaurants that utilize local produce in their menus.


Meg's farm when she was a farmer was on the tour and she always grew peas earlier than most farms. Our peas were planted this year on January 24th, they are three months old.

Janet said...

What a nice tour you had. The little blue flower looks similar to the one I had on my blog that I couldn't ID while in SC.

Alice and Stuart said...

Wish we could have had more time to chat with you and Meg! Your blog is great, we'll have to come to you with our butterfly and moth identification questions. And you'll have to give me some tips on clematis, I'd love to introduce it around here as a cut. I went to a flower conference in Portland that did a class on them and I'm smitten. They're lovely. Leah's flower you have a picture of is stock or matthiola incana---at least looks like that to me. Thanks again for coming out to the farm, it means a lot for us to meet the community at large and feel the support for what we're doing.

MacGardens said...

That's an interesting variety of farms. When I looked at the picture labeled vegetable garden I felt of pang of remembrance of the first years we lived at this place when we just plowed the back garden and planted and didn't worry about deer and such. That's not possible anymore. Our vegetable garden looks like a fortress in comparison...

tina said...

What a fun day! All those crops and plants look really good. Meg's peas are way ahead of mine too. I really like all those peonies. Very impressive indeed!

sweet bay said...

Lovely farms! The only one I'd heard of before is Pine Knot Farms. Thanks for bringing us along on the tour!

CiNdEe said...

Wow I loved the tour! What fun to visit and get a ride in the horse drawn wagon(-:
The outhouse is fun too. I always wanted one for a garden shed.(-:

The gazebo is my favorite(-: That is so cool!
CiNdEeS' GaRdEn

Just Jenn said...

What a fun tour! Thanks for taking us along.

beegirl said...

Amazing farm! We briefly lived in NC (southern Durham) in 2000. Were apartment dwellers then.