Intensives and Tours

All held on Friday November 6, 2015



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.


Chapel Hill Horticulture Experience


Touring Peaceful River Farm and RambleRill Farm

$45 members
$60 non-members

Host: Carolyn TwestEn, Sweet pea farm and weaver street market produce manager

Come learn from two successful horticultural farms at Peaceful River and RambleRill Farms! First, visit Peaceful River Farm, an 18 acre farm on the Haw River where Larry and Lee Newlin grow nutrient-dense vegetables, herbs, and berries. The Newlin’s thirty year background in horticulture contributes to their knowledge of growing healthy soil and produce on their thoughtfully landscaped farm.  Farm aesthetics are an important dimension to the visitors’ experience at Peaceful River Farm’s farm dinners, healthy cooking classes, new farmer workshops with Tony Kleese, and farm tours.  Next, visit RambleRill Farm, where Farmers Jane Saiers and Darin Knapp offer educational and horticultural therapy and wellness programs. Learn about their purposeful work with plants and gardens to enhance mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, and intellectual well-being. Learn how they grow and sell certified organic produce year-round with annual vegetables in rotation, cover crops in 12 planting blocks, winter hoop houses and row covers production, plus several perennial growing areas for blueberries, muscadine grapes, shiitake mushrooms, pawpaws, and pears.

Heritage Livestock Tour

12:30pm -5:00pm

Touring Minka Farm and Coon Rock Farm

$45 members
$60 non-members

Host: Martha Mobley, NC State extension agent and owner of Meadow Lane Farm

The first stop on this tour is Minka Farm, where Brian and Kimberly Harry welcome you to see their grass-fed beef operation and learn how they have used soil testing, selective fertilizing, the addition of clover, increased diversity, and rotational grazing to rehabilitate land that was intensively grazed for 40 years as a dairy. Minka farm exemplifies responsible animal care, and their practices are certified by Animal Welfare Approved. Also see their pastured Freedom Ranger chickens, Welsh Harlequin layer ducks, and Kiko breeding stock goats. Our second stop will be Coon Rock Farm, a diverse sustainable produce and animal farm in an idyllic setting along the Eno River. Visitors will tour  Coon Rock’s pastured poultry operation, and learn about their pastured heritage breed pigs (including Tamworth, Duroc, Poland China, Berkshire, Hampshire and Chester White). 


Saxapahaw Tour


Touring: Saxapahaw General Store, TerraStay Farm, Cane Creek Farm, Left Bank Butchery, and Haw River Ranch

$65 members
$80 non-members

(Price includes delicious, locally sourced lunch!)

Host: Eric Henry, TS Designs

Say it with us: Sax-ah-puh-HAW! Come and see how this former mill town on the banks of the Haw River has grown into a cultural mecca, home to an eclectic collection of farmers, foodies, artisans, musicians, and more. We’ll start with a locally sourced lunch at the community’s hub – the Saxapahaw General Store with owner Jeff Barney (Keep your eyes out for products from our three farm stops on sale in the store). Next, visit TerraStay Farm, tour their state-of-the art high tunnels and learn how they use season extension to get the most out of their 2 acres in production. Just up the road is Cane Creek Farm, where Eliza MacLean raises happy, healthy livestock, including the unique heritage breed hogs she’s known for  locally. Then, stop in Left Bank Butchery to try some of Eliza’s pork, and hear about how Ross Flynn and his team practice whole animal butchery to serve the village sustainable meats. Wrap up your visit at Haw River Ranch, where Suzanne Nelson raises her animals with the utmost care and respect for animal welfare, raising pastured poultry, pigs, dairy cows, and sheep. 


Durham Foodie Tour


Touring: Pizzeria Toro, Mateo Tapas, and Scratch Bakery

$75 Members
$90 Non-Members

Host – Jared Cates, CFSA

Dubbed “The South’s Tastiest Town” by Southern Living Magazine, Durham is home to an impressive list of restaurateurs who champion the local food movement through their relationships with local farmers and artisans. This year we’ll be visiting some of the most highly acclaimed restaurants in this foodie town and meet the chefs and owners behind the culinary magic! The tour starts at Mateo Bar de Tapas sampling Spanish small plates with a Southern inflection inspired by North Carolina meats, cheeses, and produce. Our second stop is Pizzeria Toro where we’ll sample wood fired, crispy crust pizza decked out with creatively paired seasonal, locally sourced toppings. The tour wraps up with a delicious treat.  We’ll visit Scratch Bakery where both savory and sweet treats are crafted with classic Southern techniques and local ingredients.  



Beginning Farmer VIP Tour

1pm – 5pm

Touring Perry-winkle Farm and Piedmont BioFarm

$40 members
$55 non-members

Host – Stephen Nix, CFSA

The Beginning Farmer VIP Tour is specially designed for aspiring farmers and ranchers with less than ten years of experience. The first stop on the tour is Piedmont Bio-Farm where dynamic young farmers, Brett Evans and Will Carmines, raise unique vegetables with minimal mechanical equipment and no synthetic chemical inputs. Learn about their trials and triumphs as they wrap up their second year on the farm. Next, we’re headed to Perry-winkle Farm where Cathy Jones and Mike Perry, leaders in the sustainable agriculture community, will teach visitors about starting small and growing slowly into a profitable model. See how they rotate crops of vegetables and cut flowers with their laying hens to ensure a healthy environment for both.  Learn about Michael’s system for raising Freedom Ranger broilers on pasture. This tour is a great chance to network with other new and beginning farmers and see successful farms at both the beginning and expert stages.


Friday Pre-Conference Intensives

ALL DAY Intensives


Are You Ready to Farm?

9am – 4pm

$60 members
$75 non-members

Presenter: Tony Kleese, Earthwise Organics

This is training is not-to-be-missed for beginning and prospective farmers!  Have you been exploring the idea of starting a farm but aren’t quite sure where to start? Are you ready to develop a clear plan and pathway to farming? Do you need help confirming your ideas and focusing your goals? Join Tony Kleese for a lively, enriching workshop that gives you tools to analyze your personal goals and potential enterprises, strategies to achieve farm career readiness, and ways to market your farm products. This workshop will help you take advantage of all our region has to offer in terms of education, skills development, and markets.  The goal of this workshop is to help you develop and clarify your pathway to farming so you can pull it all together into a crop plan and farm budget.  This class will provide you with a clear, focused approach to achieving your dream of farming.  A locally sourced lunch is included in this price.


Organic Certification Workshop

9am – 5pm

$50 Members
$65 Non-Members

Presenters: Karen McSwain, Aaron Newton, and Keith Baldwin of CFSA’s Farm Services Team, plus special guests, Michael and Melinda Roberts of River Sun Farm

Organic certification allows you to take full advantage of great price and market opportunities, especially wholesale markets. But, you may be concerned about the paperwork and other challenges of certification. This workshop is designed to walk you through the certification process and minimize the hassles. We’ll cover the National Organic Program (NOP) standards, working with certifiers, and your organic farm plan. You will learn about record-keeping templates, approved materials, and cost-share opportunities. This interactive and fun class is taught by experienced growers, with special guests to add valuable information. A locally sourced lunch is included in this price.


Farming To The Demeter Biodynamic® Standard

9am – 3pm

$50 Members
$65 Non-Members 

Presenters:  Jim Fullmer, Co-Director Demeter USA; Erin Sojourner Agostinelli, Member Services Coordinator Demeter USA

There is a growing interest in the marketplace for Biodynamic products and a related need for more Biodynamic farmers in the USA.  This pre-conference workshop will explore in detail the foundational principles of a Biodynamic farm — the farm as a living and self-sustaining organism — by taking a practical look at applying the following seven principles that make up the foundation of the US Demeter Farm Standard:  1) Biodiversity; 2) Generating fertility out of the living dynamics of the farm; 3) Generating pest control out of the living dynamics of the farm; 4) Biodynamic preparations and wider influences; 5) On-farm water and waterway conservation; 6) Integration of livestock; 7) Gentle post-harvest handling.  Come learn how to implement these sustainable practices and tap into the emerging Biodynamic market from experts from Demeter USA – the only certifier of Biodynamic farms and products.  This workshop is designed for farmers, retailers and added-value operations interested in implementing Biodynamic production on a commercial scale.  A locally sourced lunch is included in this price.


Navigating the USDA GAP Audit

9am – 5pm

NOTE: This workshop begins at the Conference Center in the morning and then moves to Funny Girl Farm in Durham in the afternoon.

$20 Members
$30 Non Members

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

Good Agriculture Practices (GAPs) certification can open the 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 and you’ll learn how to communicate management decisions that address those risks to your auditor. This workshop will meet onsite in the morning, and proceed to Funny Girl Farm in the afternoon for onsite learning. This all-day, two-part workshop will provide you with the skills you need to pass a GAPs audit. A boxed lunch is included in this price.

Funny Girl Farm
504 Erwin Rd, Durham, NC 27707


Developing a Food Hub


Prerequisite: Participants must be operating an early stage Food Hub or actively organizing an emerging food hub.

$25 Members
$40 Nonmembers

Presenters: Anthony Flaccavento, Principal at SCALE, Virginia

This in-depth training is targeted to beginning and emerging food hubs and will help food hubs, entrepreneurs, and communities understand various food hub models and make initial decisions about feasibility and business planning, business organization, models, operations, farmers, food safety and regulation, transportation, markets, pricing, financing and raising capital. The workshop will provide a clear understanding of what is needed to establish and operate food hubs as viable businesses and as strategies for social impact.

Cap at 25 participants, Registration internal until August 22.


Using the Veggie Compass


$40 Members
$50 Non Members

PRESENTER: Ellen Polishuk, Potomac Vegetable Farm

Are you losing money with every carrot bunch you sell? This workshop will provide helpful resources for assisting small to mid-scale diversified vegetable producers with profit management.  Farmers and other participants will learn how to: use Veggie Compass – a tool to help vegetable farmers determine farm profitability; keep the records that matter; determine the true costs of their production; determine which crops are actually making a profit; determine which market channels are making a profit and then what to do with all this information to make decisions. This training has gotten overwhelmingly positive feedback from the hundreds of growers who have participated around the South. Participants are urged to bring their laptops!  A locally sourced lunch is included in this price.


The Art of Soil Microscopy

9am -4pm

$60 Members
$75 Non members

PRESENTER: Molly Haviland, A Microherder’s Manifesto

Have you questioned if the soil amendments you are putting into your growing system are doing what they should be? Have you wondered if the rate of application on your land is making the changes you desire? Or, 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 course will put the power of understanding the soil food web into your own hands.  We will be looking at soil under a microscope!  By the end of this course, 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!





Discovering the Cooking Gene

9am -12pm

$30 Members
$45 Non-Members 

Presenter: Michael W. Twitty, Conference keynote

In search of a culinary homeland, Michael W. Twitty decided to retrace the steps of his family’s journey from Africa to America, and from slavery to freedom, through the lens of food. The Cooking Gene Project garnered international attention as Twitty searched for not only his own food story, but that of all Southerners and the ties of the table that bind.  He wondered, like many before him, who really owns Southern food?  But also: How had food been changed by and also changed the story of the African and African American experience—and what culinary justice exists for the descendants of enslaved people whose contributions are celebrated and mass marketed but who enjoy little of the fruits of their heritage in the face of poverty, food deserts, chronic illness and enduring racial tensions. Join CFSA’s keynote as he recounts what he learned from his journey and its implications for the destiny of the Southern table.


Wild Edibles, Add Value with Crops that Grow for Free!

9am -12pm

$35 Members
$50 Non Members

PRESENTER: Marc Williams, Executive Director of Plants and Healers International

There are hundreds of species of wild edibles growing in the Carolinas without any inputs and free for the taking. Some farmers in North Carolina have already picked up on the potential of selling plants such as Purslane, Lambsquarters and others to local markets. In this fun and informative workshop, we will spend some time in the classroom covering the essentials of proper plant identification and the major families of wild edibles. We’ll show you examples of plants that have been harvested and a sampling of value-added products that can be made from them. Then, we will do a plant walk around the conference grounds to see plants in situ that can grow even through the cold of late fall.  A list of all the major wild edible plants in the Carolinas will be provided to participants.





Farm Marketing Boot Camp


$50 Members
$65 Non Members

Presenters: Karen Kanakanui, Stories Taste Good

Ready to take your farm businesses marketing plan to the next level?  You may have heard that marketing these days is all about “telling your story,” but what does that really mean? How do you do it? And where’s the connection to sales? The truth is that story marketing has always been the mainstay of good marketing because it connects audiences to your message and builds a relationship with your customer that encourages them to buy. This workshop is designed for those with a basic understanding of online marketing and social media. Participants will come away with a thorough understanding of the best options for online marketing – email marketing, social media, website content, and blogs – as well as an understanding of the key strategic elements necessary for a successful marketing plan. Attendees who complete pre-workshop homework will leave with an outline for an actionable marketing plan for the next 12 months.


Saving the Harvest with Fermentation!


$50 Members
$65 Nonmembers

Presenter: April McGregEr of Farmer’s Daughter

Learn fermentation from one of the pros, April McGreger, of Farmer’s Daughter! Learn how to make many different seasonal vegetable ferments, including kimchi, sauerkraut, salt-brined pickles, and kvass. You’ll sample a wide variety of Farmer’s Daughter fermented products and leave with a few jars of your own fermentation experiments to observe and enjoy at home.


Commercial Mushroom Production


$50 Members
$65 Nonmembers

Learn about commercial mushroom cultivation from one of the best!  South Carolina’s Tradd Cotter, author of Organic Mushroom Cultivation and Mycoremediation, is one of the most popular presenters ever at our conference.  His enthusiasm, knowledge and humor are well-known.  Come learn innovative ways to grow culinary mushrooms and make money marketing them.  Learn about Tradd’s cutting-edge research into mushrooms many uses, ranging from fighting major diseases to bioremediating oil spills!  This workshop will inspire and equip farmers looking to add mushrooms as a valuable cash crop.





Flock Management & Poultry Processing

NOTE: This intensive will take place off-site at Bushy Tail Farm 6000 Whitney Rd in Graham, NC 27253 

10am – 4pm

$60 Members
$75 Non Members

PRESENTERS: Jim Adkins, Founder/President of SPN-USA, with assistance by SPN members

From the backyard to the small farm, everyone who raises poultry (chicken, turkeys, ducks and geese) has to decide what to do with old hens that quit laying, aggressive males that need to be butchered, and turkeys that need to be processed for Thanksgiving. What about those meat birds that you raise for family use or the farmers market? Should you process on your farm or take them to a local, small processing plant? During this on-farm workshop, you will learn the necessary skills to discern when it is time to process birds and how to do it! We’ll cover the animal welfare issues of slaughtering and give you the hands-on opportunity to handle and process live birds.




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