Intensives and Tours

All held on Friday November 4, 2016



Meet in in front of the Sheraton Imperial.  Buses leave promptly at tour start time.  Please plan to arrive 20 minutes early.

Please be aware that CFSA will be practicing strict bio-security during these farm tours. Visitors may be asked to disinfect their shoes, wear booties, or wash hands at farms with livestock.


Friday Tours

Heritage Livestock Tour

$45 members, $60 non-members

12:30 pm – 5pm

Host: Martha Mobley of NC State Cooperative Extension and Owner of Meadow Lane Farm

Farms: Bull City Farm & Prodigal Farm

Visit Bull City Farm to learn how Samantha and Scott Gasson (with their 3 kids) started farming in response to their desire to feed their family humanely-raised meat. Bull City Farm is home to a variety of heritage-breed, pastured animals including Mangalitsa, Berkshire, Hampshire, and Yorkshire cross hogs, Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) heritage-breed laying hens, and certified grass-fed Katahdin and St. Croix sheep. Learn about Bull City’s herd of Jersey Dairy cattle providing grass fed beef and milk used to produce Sam’s hand-crafted cheeses. Our next stop, Prodigal Farm is a farmstead goat cheese dairy home to an AWA herd of over 150 pastured goats grazing on a 95-acre former tobacco farm. Learn about Kathryn Spann and Dave Krabbe’s experiences in animal husbandry, dedication to conservation and stewardship, and endeavors in both fresh and aged cheeses.



Orange County Horticulture Experience

$45 members, $60 non-members

12:30 pm – 5pm

Host: James Fry, Central Carolina Community College (CCCC), Student Organic Farm Manager

Farms: Open Door Farm & Ever Laughter Farm

Everlaughter Farm, our first stop, is in its eighth year of production. Farmers Will Cramer and Tracey Slaughter grow a diversity of vegetables, herbs, and cut flowers, utilizing caterpillar tunnels for season extension and a passive solar greenhouse to raise transplants. Our second stop, Open Door Farm, also produces a variety of vegetables and cut flowers with a focus on greenhouse microgreen production. Jillian and Ross Mickens will guide visitors through their intensive field crop area and share insights gained from their work transforming a 100-year-old tobacco farm into a sustainable produce operation.



SOLD OUT! Selling to Chefs Tour

$45 members, $60 non-members

12:30 pm – 5pm

Hosts: Aaron Benjamin, Gocciolina Restaurant & Duarte Morais, NC State Fork2Farmer

Farms: Green Button Farm & Four Leaf Farm

Interested in learning about increasing farm sales to farm-to-table restaurants? Come learn from some of of the best in the Durham food scene about how to forge relationships and grow wholesale for restaurants. This tour will visit Four Leaf Farm where Tim and Helga MacAller utilize raised beds, perennial gardens, and movable high tunnels to grow the nutrient-dense vegetables and microgreens they sell to some of Durham’s most popular restaurants. Next, we’ll head to Green Button Farm where Ryan and Alicia Butler grow chemical-free produce, pastured chickens, pork, beef, and eggs that supply their own restaurant, Picnic, as well as several other popular Durham eateries.



SOLD OUT! Agritourism Training Tour

$45 members, $60 non-members

12:30 pm – 5pm

Host: Annie Baggett, NCDA Agritourism Marketing Specialist

Farms: Vollmer Farm & Turtle Mist Farm

Want to learn more about utilizing agritourism as a part of your business model to create diverse farm income streams? We’ll be visiting two of North Carolina’s agritourism leaders on this tour. First, we’ll head to Vollmer Farm to learn how Russ Vollmer and family offer pick-your-own activities, seasonal events, and school tours to create on-farm revenue streams for their certified organic products like strawberries, blueberries, and pumpkins. Next, we’ll head to Turtle Mist Farm where Bob and Ginger Sykes raise a variety of heritage livestock including sheep, cattle, poultry, goats, rabbits and hogs. Turtle Mist offers a variety of events including open farm days, guided tours, corporate and family events, and farm stays.



Saxapahaw Village Tour

$75 members, $85 non-members

9 am – 5 pm

(NOTE early departure time)

Host: Eric Henry, TS Designs

Touring: Saxapahaw General Store, Reverence Farm, Terrastay Farm, The Eddy Pub, Turtle Run Farm, Cane Creek Farm, Haw River Farmhouse Ales, Cup 22 @ The Haw River Ballroom

Back by popular demand, we are expanding our tour to this restored mill village to a full-day excursion! Start the day bright and early with a pit stop in the Saxapahaw General Store where we’ll meet owner Jeff Barney for an introduction to the community (plus buy coffee, bottled water, and snack on your own if you’d like). Next, we’ll head to Reverence Farm (previously known as Haw River Ranch) where farmer Suzanne Nelson raises pastured poultry, pigs, dairy cows, and sheep with the utmost care and respect for their welfare. We’ll tour state-of-the-art high tunnels at TerraStay Farm and then break for a delicious locally-sourced lunch at The Eddy Pub

CFSA lunch buffet at the Eddy Pub
Mixed green salad (Terra Stay Farm) with seasonal components
Oven roasted potatoes (Turtle Run Farm)
Roasted squash fusilli with bacon (Cane Creek Farm) and arugula

Then, we’ll visit the diverse produce operation run by the Meehan family at Turtle Run Farm. Our last farm visit of the day will be at Cane Creek Farm where we will sample delicious charcuterie made with Cane Creek products right here in the village at Left Bank Butchery. We’ll cap off the day back at the mill with a stop in Haw River Farmhouse Ales where we will chat with Ben about their local ingredients (option to purchase beer on your own). Or, those who prefer an afternoon caffeine fix can head up to Cup 22 to purchase a specialty coffee and take a look at the beautiful Haw River Ballroom.



All Day Intensives


Demystifying Organic Certification

$50 Members, $65 Non-members

9 am – 5pm

Presenters: CFSA Staff (Karen McSwain, Mark Dempsey, Stephen Nix); Chad Bishop, Greenbrier Farms; Brian Rakita, QCS; Ryan Merck, Clemson; Carrie Stilwell, CCOF

Organic certification allows you to increase farm profits and take full advantage of great price and market opportunities, especially in wholesale markets. But, you may be concerned about the paperwork and other challenges of certification. CFSA staff, representatives from three certifiers, and an experienced organic farmer will walk you through the certification process and help minimize the stress. We’ll cover the National Organic Program (NOP) standards, the certification process, recordkeeping, and soil fertility and pest management. We will also provide you with a list of valuable resources to help you through this process once you actually get down to the business of certifying. If you are considering organic certification for your farm, this workshop will provide you with the connections, resources, and information you need to get started with confidence. Lunch is included.



SOLD OUT! The Art of Soil Microscopy

$85 Members, $100 Non members

9am – 4pm

Presenter: Molly Haviland, A Microherder’s Manifesto

By popular request, this sold out workshop from last year’s conference has returned! Have you questioned if the soil amendments you are putting into your growing system are doing what they should be doing? Have you wondered if the rate of application on your land is making the changes you desire? Have you thought about how your land management practices, such as tillage, no till, cover cropping or mob grazing, are affecting the soil life in your growing system? This intensive will put the power of understanding the soil food web into your own hands. We will examine soil under a microscope! By the end of this intensive, participants will understand how to use a microscope, make dilutions, and identify organisms in soil, compost and liquid amendments. Now you can see for yourself how the inputs you create or purchase affect the soil food web in your growing system. So bring your soil, compost, or liquid amendments that say “living organisms” on the label and let’s have a look. It’s time to start building soil! Lunch is included.



On Farm Compost

$75 Members, $90 Non-Members

9​ ​am – 5​ ​pm

Presenters: Rhonda Sherman, NCCC President/NCSU Extension Specialist; Lyndell Pate, Ecoverse Organic Products Manager; Jim Lanier, Earth Farms CEO; Frank Franciosi, US Composting Council Executive Director

What does it take to operate a successful on-farm composting system? This intensive provides you with not only a greater understanding of composting, but also resources and contacts you need to get started making, managing ​and using ​on-farm compost as a value-added product. Topics will include the composting process, various methodologies for creating compost, types of farm-scale equipment, managing your compost system, legal requirements, ensuring product quality, beneficial uses of compost, and application methods. Learn how to setup and manage an effective composting operation!Lunch is included.



Permaculture and Forest Farming Techniques for Your Land

Members $60, Nonmembers $75

9:30 am – 4:30 pm

Presenter: Zev Friedman, School of Integrated Living

Throughout the Carolinas, land owners are discovering how permaculture techniques can be used to distribute water more efficiently, add more edible perennial plants to their land, and gain more use from tree covered acreage by using forest farming techniques. This workshop will offer an in-depth look at permaculture and forest agriculture and how these techniques can be used to enhance your land’s usefulness, resilience, and profitability. We’ll begin with a crash-course on permaculture and agro-forestry techniques, concepts, and vocabulary, including taking a look at successional farming, coppicing, pollarding, and living architecture. We’ll then discuss several practical integrations of these concepts on your land, including discussing 20 of the most promising forest farming plants and trees, growing living fences, natural methods of cleaning livestock water including myco-filtration,bio-char production, and pasture shade distribution using silva-pastures. We’ll finish the day by discussing participants’ own projects as case studies for these techniques.  Lunch is included.



SOLD OUT! Using High Tunnels for Year-Round Production

Members $85, Non-members $100

8 am – 5 pm

Presenters: Clara Coleman, Four Season Consulting; Adam Lemieux, Johnny’s Selected Seeds; Gena Moore, CFSA; Lauren Horning,  FreshPoint; Jason Kampwerth, Foster Caviness

Take your high tunnel knowledge to the next level by spending a day with three high tunnel experts, including our keynote, Clara Coleman. Start the day off by hearing from wholesale buyers at Foster-Caviness and FreshPoint about the marketing opportunities available to farmers who use sustainable season extension. Next, Clara Coleman and Johnny’s Selected Seeds’ Tools Manager, Adam Lemieux, will lead an interactive session on how to construct a modular movable Cathedral Tunnel, an inexpensive DIY model for year-round vegetable production. Clara’s father, Maine farmer Eliot Coleman, designed this 14′ by 16′ modular movable tunnel at Four Season Farm for as low as $2 per square foot. You’ll learn where to source materials, how to fabricate parts, and the steps involved in constructing this tunnel for your farm operation. Best four-season growing practices, techniques, and crop scheduling will also be discussed. Additionally, a stationary version called the Elliptical Tunnel, which is 24’ by 48’ in size, will be covered as an alternate option for quick and inexpensive four-season growing space. Instruction manuals will be included as handouts.

Participants will board a bus in the afternoon to tour two nearby farms, Dancing Pines Farm and Ten Mothers Farm, to see two models of high tunnels in active late-fall production. We will learn from each farmer about their experiences with high tunnels: what they produce, where they sell, and the production practices that best fit their farming model. Topics to be discussed during the tour include: crop planning, irrigation, crop rotations, season extension market demand, and much more. Lunch is included.

This workshop is sponsored by North Carolina Growing Together (NCGT). 



Mushrooms, Molds, and Mycorrhizae: The Cultivation & Permaculture of Fungi

Members $85, Non-members $100

9 am – 4 pm

Presenter: Tradd Cotter, Mushroom Mountain

Dive deep into mushrooms with Tradd Cotter, founder of Mushroom Mountain, in this intensive workshop that covers cultivation, mycoremediation, medicinal mushrooms, gardening with fungi, and soil creation. Beginners and advanced students alike will walk away with the knowledge and skills needed to accomplish a range of personal or professional goals, including cultivating fungi on small and large scales, incorporating edible mushrooms and beneficial fungi into garden designs, cultivating and preparing medicinal mushrooms, and cleaning contaminated soils and polluted water through mycoremediation. Lunch is included.



CANCELED Navigating the USDA GAP Audit & Finding Wholesale Contacts

Members $40, Non Members $55

9:00 AM – 6:00PM

Note – Participants who complete this training will receive a GAP certificate worth 5 points towards the GAP Audit

Presenters: James Cooper, CFSA Local Produce Safety Coordinator; Trish Tripp, On-Farm Food Safety Consultant, Artisan Food Solutions, LLC

Good Agriculture Practices (GAPs) certification can open doors to new markets for your produce. But some production and conservation practices, such as collecting surface water runoff for irrigation, making and applying compost, conserving vegetative buffers for erosion control, and planting habitat for beneficial insects can make it harder to pass a GAPs audit. Learn how to more effectively advocate for your farming practices with food safety auditors! We’ll take you through how to use risk assessment strategies to identify risks and make necessary corrective actions. You’ll learn how to communicate management decisions that address those risks to your auditor. This workshop will meet at the Sheraton in the morning, and then proceed to Funny Girl Farm in the afternoon for on-site learning. Participants will then return to the conference center where they will have the chance to meet with wholesale buyers or attend the Wholesale ready training in our Buyer-Grower Meetup.  This all-day, three-part workshop will provide you with the skills you need to pass a GAPs audit. A boxed lunch is included.

Off-site Location: Participants will caravan to our off-site location in the afternoon, Funny Girl Farm (20 minutes from the conference hotel), 504 Erwin Rd, Durham, NC 27707.


Morning Intensives


A Primer on Race Equity in the Food System for Food Councils

Members $35, Non-Members $45

9 am – 1 pm

Presented by: Center for Environmental Farming Systems’ CORE Team (Committee on Racial Equity): Shorlette Ammons, Tes Thraves, Bevelyn Ukah; with support from the Community Food Strategies Team: Abbey Piner & Gini Knight (CEFS), Jared Cates (CFSA), Carlye Gates (ASAP), Megan Bolejack (CSHA) and Tyler Jenkins (CCE)

This half-day workshop is designed for people who are interested in developing a shared understanding, analysis, and language as a critical step in creating a more racially equitable food system. This introductory racial equity workshop will create opportunities for participants to: 1) develop a shared understanding of how structural racism has impacted our food system, 2) develop a shared analysis of systemic disparity, and 3) explore strategies that create more equitable food systems opportunities for all people. The facilitation team will offer tools that will assist in developing a historical context and understanding of how structural racism impacts our food system. We will cover tools to work collectively with communities most affected by disparities to increase food systems access for all people. Attendees will leave with increased awareness of race equity as a useful lens, awareness of some frameworks that can be used to consider race equity, information on some reasons why a community organization, like a food council, would plan to engage in a more full racial equity training together, and information on opportunities to access future training. Lunch is included.



Afternoon Intensives


On-Farm Research

Members $30, Non-members $45

1 pm – 4 pm

Presenters: Jerry Dewitt, Professor Emeritus, Iowa State University; Jared Zystro, Organic Seed Alliance; Farmer Panel; Jeanine Davis, NCSU; Chris Reberg-Hoton, NCSU; Roddy Pick, Greenbrier Farms; Pat Battle, Living Web Farms; Sean Jadrnicek, NCSU; John Quinn, Furman University

This workshop is intended for farmers, researchers and extension agents interested in exploring and promoting best practices for current and future on farm research efforts.

Below is a link to an address by Dr. Richard Bonanno, made specifically for this workshop, discussing the importance of Cooperative Extension’s roll in on-farm research.

What are the benefits, trials, and long-term impacts when farmers partner with universities to conduct on-farm participatory research? Join this afternoon intensive to learn more about how on-farm participatory research works and hear the personal experiences of farmers and researchers who have engaged in on-farm research. Learn about models of how on-farm participatory research has been conducted in other parts of the country. This workshop is designed for farmers interested in participatory research opportunities, academics wanting to strengthen their on-farm collaborations, and agricultural professionals seeking to support on-farm participatory research collaborations.



Preserve the Harvest! Fermentation with Two Chicks Farm

Members $50, Non-members $65

1pm – 5pm

Presenters:  Audrey Lin and Debbie Donnald of Two Chicks Farm

Learn fermentation from two of North Carolina’s favorite fermenters, Audrey Lin and Debbie Donnald of Two Chicks Farm! Fermentation is quickly rising in popularity as a way to preserve the harvest, incorporate probiotics into your diet, and affordably add delicious flavors to your table. In this workshop, you will learn how to make many different seasonal vegetable ferments. You’ll sample a wide variety of Two Chicks Farm fermented products and leave with a few jars of your own fermentation experiments to observe and enjoy at home. Bring your own cutting board and knife; we’ll provide the rest for this hands-on workshop!

Related Articles