eNews February 2012

In this edition:


CFSA Event Calendar

Piedmont Farm Tour – Save the Date for Fun Down on the Farm!

More Learn-to-Cook-Local Classes

Still a Few Seats Left: SC Business Planning Course

CFSA Members Play Big Role in First Organic Growing Conference in SC

Sign up Now for Summer Social Media for Farmers Workshops


Work an Internship into Your Spring Farm Plan

Organic Commodities and Livestock Conference Inspires Farmers

Upstate Food Hub Showcases the Upstate’s Food and Farm Scene

Saving Seed for Future Generations (and from the Deer!)


Plant Now for Spring Harvest


Take Action to Support Two Important Local Food and Farm Acts

CFSA Events:

Social Media for Farmers Workshops

February 16 – Lenoir County (SOLD OUT)

March 6 – Buncombe County (SOLD OUT)

NEW! August 14 – Forsyth County

August 16 – Chatham County


Learn to Cook Local

February 7 at 6pm

Forsyth County Agriculture building (1450 Fairchild Road, Winston-Salem NC)

Only a few seats still available – Register NOW at CFSA’s online store!

NxLevel® for Agricultural Entrepreneurs

9 week course starting February 27th, at 5:30pm in Pendleton, SC.



Cobblestone Farmers’ Market Opens – April 17

Piedmont Farm Tour- April 28-29

Upstate Farm Tour – June 2-3

Sustainable Ag Conference – Oct 26 – 28, 2012 in Greenville, SC

Upcoming Events:

Piedmont Farm Tour – Save the Date for Fun on the Farm!

The planning committee is hard at work putting together the 17th Annual Piedmont Farm Tour.  Not only is this a unique learning opportunity, it’s also a great way to offer encouragement and thanks to farmers who work hard to grow our food and fiber.  It’s April 28 and 29  —  1 to 5 PM.  (This is one week after Shakori Hills.) 

So, what do we have cooking?  We are excited to have several new farms this year and the return of many favorites.  Don’t forget that you can volunteer one afternoon, get a behind-the-scenes view and tour for free the other day.  Want a 2012 farm tour t-shirt?  They will be for sale at Weaver Street Market a few weeks before the tour.  Also this year we will once again be hosting two special VIP tours for beginning farmers.  The guided bus tours sold out quickly last year.

> Complete tour info will be coming soon to our website.

> Online tickets are available now at our online store.


More Learn-to-Cook-Local Classes

As Cultivate Piedmont prepares host its second Learn to Cook Local class with Mary Haglund of Breakfast of Course! on February 7th, we are excited to announce that our third class has been scheduled for March 14th with the wonderful chef Jeff Bacon of Triad Community Kitchen.  Chef Jeff was a fixture at last year’s Cobblestone Market, providing delicious, locally sourced lunches for market shoppers through his organization Triad Community Kitchen.  We are excited to continue to work with Jeff and for him to spread his knowledge and enthusiasm for local foods with Winston-Salem residents.

These classes are coordinated by Cultivate Piedmont, a program of CFSA and focus on seasonal ingredients sourced from local farms.

> To learn more, “like” the Cobblestone Farmers’ Market Facebook page.

> Register for one of the classes at our online store or email Adrienne Outcalt.

Still a Few Seats Left: SC Business Planning Course

Last month, six South Carolina CFSA farm members traveled to Little Rock, Arkansas on scholarships to enjoy the Southern SAWG annual sustainable agriculture conference.  Now all Upstate area farmers and food entrepreneurs have the opportunity to benefit from much of the business, marketing, and production curriculum offered at the conference!

Clemson University’s Institute for Economic and Community Development, the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, and BizBuilderSC are offering NxLevel® for Agricultural Entrepreneurs beginning February 27th, 2012. This nine week program offers established entrepreneurs the tools and resources to create and implement a plan for growth.  NxLevel® for Agricultural Entrepreneurs is specifically designed for entrepreneurs interested in cultivating a stronger local food system and is ideal for urban/rural farmers, food artisans, chefs, value-added business owners, those involved in food media, agritourism, processors, retail and farmers market managers.

This program is designed to help entrepreneurs hone the skills needed to create, manage and/or grow successful businesses. NxLevel® is a product offered through BizBuilderSC. Experienced entrepreneurs facilitate the programs, and guest speakers, specializing in session topics, supplement their knowledge.  Additional guest speakers will cover issues related to sustainable agricultural production.   The registration fee includes comprehensive learning materials, as well as resources to easily develop a professional business plan.

Classes begin on February 27th, and run for nine weeks; 5:30 – 8:00 pm, Monday evenings at the Pendleton Library.  Class space is limited to 30, and an early-bird discounted price of $145 is available to those who register by Monday, February 13th.  To register, visit www.BizBuilderSC.com.

Leland Gibson of Gibson Farms in Westminster shares his experience with the NxLevel® program:

“When I signed up for the NxLevel Class, I was struggling to write a business plan for my farm.  The class helped to break the business plan into workable sections and at the end of the class it was a simple matter of putting the information together into a very nice professional looking business plan.  What I got out of the class went far beyond writing a business plan.  The

contacts I made while attending this class are the true value of this class.   The networking opportunities before, during, and after class, with both the class participants and the weekly speakers, help to foster new ideas for my farm and identify new markets for my products. I cannot think of any other venue where I could have met and networked with so many people

that had the knowledge to help me along in my journey in Sustainable Farming.

> Interested entrepreneurs may sign up for the program by visiting BizBuilderSC.com or contact Devin Swindall at (803) 315-4867 with questions.

This program is hosted by the Clemson Institute for Economic and Community Development and the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, in partnership with BizBuilderSC.  This project is made possible with support from Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SAWG) and USDA’s Risk Management Agency.  www.ssawg.org www.rma.usda.gov/

CFSA Members Play Big Role in First Organic Growing Conference in SC

South Carolina Organization for Organic Living (SCOOL) is hosting the first Organic Growing Conference, to be held at Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC, on March 10.  Event registration provides entrance to 4 classes and a locally-sourced lunch, catered by the Spotted Salamander.

Several CFSA members will be presenting at the workshop:  Eric McClam, manager of City Roots, will be co-presenting a session on starting an urban farm.  Stacy and Michael Atkinson of Lone Palmetto Farms will teach attendees how to start a dairy goat operation.  Gail Cooley, owner of Patient Wait Farms, will present “Backyard goats” in our urban agriculture track.  And Tradd Cotter, fungi expert and co-owner of Mushroom Mountain Farmers and new Board member, Daniel Parson, owner of Parson Produce and award-winning organic farmer, will be presenting, too!

Clemson personnel and regional food system experts who are teaching at the conference include:  Mac McGee, Double M Farms/Carolina Grassfed Beef; Robin McGee, herbalist;  Shawn Jadrnicek, Clemson Student Organic Farm manager and experienced permaculture designer; Jim Adkins and his heritage poultry gang, from the International Center for Poultry; Dara Park, water and soil quality expert; Dave Lamie, Market Maker magician; Ed Wilkins, Farm Bureau agritourism specialist; Chad Bishop, Greenbrier Farms; and Elian Evans from CAFÉ (Clemson Area Food Exchange).

> For more information, visit www.scorganicliving.com or e-mail Rebecca.

> Event registration is available at Brown Paper Tickets:  http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/222295


Sign up Now for Summer Social Media for Farmers Workshops

These all-day hands-on workshops designed especially for farmers and taught by social media experts have been popular!  All February and March workshops are now sold out, but there are plenty of seats available for the Aug. 14 (Winston-Salem) and Aug. 16 (Pittsboro) workshops.  Snag your seat today to learn how to set up your Facebook page (or upgrade your existing page), develop the skills to shoot your own short farm video using your cell phone, camera, or iPad, and get the training to take better farm photos – everything you need to reach new customers and grow your farm business using social media! 

Here’s what our workshop participants are saying about the class:

Fantastic workshop! Great ideas for photography and video. Set-up Facebook account at workshop and gained the confidence needed to utilize the site. Would not have had a Facebook account if it weren’t for this class. Also planning to set-up Twitter account based on information from this class. Thank you for offering this opportunity!

[Presenters] Johanna, Grace and Cary were awesome. They were very helpful and knowledgeable about the information they presented.

Loved the handouts and one on one interaction!

> Details and register at www.

These workshops are funded by a grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation and presented in partnership with BRWIA, Know Your Farms, BioBusiness Center, Blue Ridge Food Ventures, Mountain BizWorks, NC Cooperative Extension, CEFS, Food Corps and the 10% Campaign.


Work an Internship into Your Spring Farm Plan

As producers across the Carolinas start thinking about spring planting of crops and pastures, we believe it is also the perfect time to think about our collective efforts to cultivate the farmers of our future.

CFSA farm members with knowledge to share, a story to tell, and a need for some temporary help around the farm are encouraged to take advantage of our Internship Referral Service, now in its second season.

The Internship Referral Service is an online tool, connecting sustainable farms throughout the Carolinas with aspiring farmers looking for hands-on learning opportunities. CFSA members may post internship listings throughout the year at no cost, and openings may be viewed by anyone who visits our website. Applicants apply directly with the farm, giving both parties the opportunity to share goals and expectations before making a commitment.

Over the next couple of months, CFSA will be marketing the Internship Referral Service to college and university agriculture departments and career centers throughout the Carolinas. So, now is the perfect time to develop and promote your on-farm opportunity!

Not sure what to offer in an internship? CFSA offers a Farmer-Mentor Handbook which may be downloaded from the site. Are you interested in applying for an internship but want to learn more? We also offer a Prospective Internship Handbook.

The Internship Referral Service is a part of CFSA’s Growing Green Farmers program, which also includes scholarships to the annual Sustainable Ag. Conference, apprenticeships in South Carolina, and farm tours for beginning farmers. Thank you to National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA) and the National Center for Appropriate Technology for their support of this program.

> Visit for these resources.


Organic Commodities and Livestock Conference Inspires Farmers

We had a great turn out at the 3rd annual Organic Commodities and Livestock Conference on Jan. 12th and 13th in Rocky Mount, NC. Over 150 people attended.  Over 100 people attend the preconference workshop Finding Wholesale Success.  Attendees gave rave reviews to our speaker, Atina Diffley, one of the first certified-organic vegetable farmers in Minnesota. Atina now educates farmers, consumers, and policymakers nationally through her consulting business, Organic Farming Works LLC. One attendee commented that Attina was such a “…knowledgeable presenter, I would love to see her farm!”

Francis Thicke, a famous organic dairy farmer from Fairfield, Iowa launched the conference with the keynote address: Ecology as a Model for Organic Agriculture. He inspired the audience with his vision of an agriculture system based on his experiences as a farmer, researcher, musician, and philosopher. Francis shared how he incorporates many innovative sustainable practices on his farm.  Many participants told me that they were inspired by his new ideas on how to minimize their reliance on fossil fuel use in agriculture.

Conference attendees reported that workshops were “were small in size and offered an informal environment within which to learn from leaders in their respective fields.”  Workshop topics included organic soil fertility, various topics on organic grain production, organic pasture management, organic sweet potato production, and information on how to transition to certified organic production. We are so lucky to have such great experts in the Carolinas willing to share their time and expertise and thank all of them as well as everyone else who helped make this year conference a great success. We are already looking forward to the 2013 Organic Commodities and Livestock conference which will be even better than this year’s!


Upstate Food Hub Showcases the Upstate’s Food and Farm Scene

CFSA was a proud sponsor of the first ever Upstate Food Hub held Jan. 30 at Greenville Tech.   edible Upcountry magazine hosted the exciting, business-to-business networking event for Upstate food producers (farmers, food/drink artisans, etc…) and Upstate food buyers (restaurants, caterers, markets, value-added processors, schools/institutions, etc.).

The half-day meeting was lively with exciting panel discussions (one led by our very own Diana Vossbrinck) and structured networking, followed by a happy hour featuring this food region’s delicious bounty.

Just some of the CFSA members who were featured speakers or panelists at the event:

•          Ron Wilson, Owner of Live Oak Farms and former CFSA Board Chairman

•          Geoff Zehnder, Clemson Professor and Coordinator of Clemson Sustainable Ag programs

•          Tom Trantham, Happy Cow Creamery

•          Leland Gibson, Gibson Farm

•          Jim Wallace, Store Leader of Greenville Whole Foods Market

•          Diana Vossbrinck, Upstate SC and Charlotte Regional Coordinator for the CFSA

•          Mary Lou Surgi, Director of Blue Ridge Food Ventures

•          Allison Schaum, Principal at Palmetto Ag Consultants

•          Ana Parra, Executive Director of Hub City Farmers Market

•          Steve Ellis, Woodruff processing facility and Bethel Trails Farm

•          Sylglenda Saziru Smith, John Smith Hill

This event showed off the vibrant local food community in the Upstate and made us very excited to be hosting this year’s Sustainable Ag Conference in Greenville.  Mark your calendars for Oct. 26-28, 2012 and plan to join us in Greenville!

Saving Seed for Future Generations (and from the Deer!)

by Brian Cricket Rakita, CFSA’s
Saving Our Seed Project Coordinator

Around this time of year, one of the things I tend to miss the most is
Okra. Last year, I grew a delightful Virginia heirloom named Red
Bowling Okra. While it is a spiny variety, the plants were very tall
and loaded with beautiful red pods that were very tender even when
they grew a little too big. This heirloom okra was maintained by the
Bowling family of Virginia.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a lot of seed off of this planting, as the
deer jumped my 7′ fence to enjoy it as much as I did. This year, I
plan to add another foot to my fence. I want to be sure to get a good
cop of this delicious and beautiful variety.

Expert Tip

Plant Now for a Spring Harvest

Written by: Charlotte Glen, Pender County Horticulture Agent

Editor’s Note: Thanks to Charlotte for sharing this great article!  Please keep in mind that it is written with Coastal NC in mind; optimum planting dates may vary for colder areas!

Now is the time to get serious about planting a spring vegetable garden! Vegetables that produce during the spring months are known as cool season crops, meaning they can tolerate some frost but do not like hot weather and should be planted outside now to harvest before the heat of summer. Vegetables that can be planted in February include broccoli, garden peas, carrots, cabbage, and potatoes. Before you plant, be sure to follow these tips to ensure you grow a healthy and bountiful vegetable garden this spring.


Tips for a Great Spring Garden

All vegetables need sun and good drainage to grow well. Be sure to develop you garden in a spot that gets sun at least ¾ of the day. If your soil is soggy or has lots of clay, make raised beds out of lumber or concrete blocks to provide better drainage. Fill beds with a mixture of compost and soil, but till the soil underneath first. In sandy soils, mix a 3”-4” layer of compost into the soil as deep as possible to add nutrients and improve water retention. Have your soil tested by bringing a sample to your local Extension office to see if you need to add lime or additional nutrients.


What to Plant

Some vegetables are typically planted in the garden as seed, while others do better when set out as young plants. Cool season vegetables that do best when sown directly into the garden include roots crops like radish, beets, turnips, kohlrabi and carrots, which should be sown from mid-February through mid-March. Make sure to sow these in soils that are deep and loose, to allow their roots to expand with little resistance. When choosing carrot varieties, keep in mind that shorter carrots are easier and quicker to grow than long varieties. Radish mature so quickly new sowings can be made every two weeks to provide a continuous supply.

Other cool season crops that should be sown direct into the garden include garden peas and their relatives, snow peas and sugar snap peas, all of which are delicious eaten raw straight from the vine or added to salads and stir-frys. These legumes love cool weather and can be sown outdoors as early as mid-January. Be sure to plant by early March at the latest to provide enough time for them to grow and develop before hot weather. All peas produce 3’-4’ tall vines and need to grow on a low trellis for support. Twiggy branches cut from deciduous trees and stuck into the rows work well, though pea fencing is also available from some garden centers.

One of my favorite crops to grow in the spring garden is potatoes. There is nothing more wonderful than digging home grown potatoes from the soil and their taste is outstanding. For best results, plant only certified seed potatoes, which can be purchased from garden centers this time of year. Certified seed potatoes are small potatoes that have been grown under special conditions to ensure they are free of diseases and usually give better results than potatoes purchased from the grocery store. Potato varieties that do well in our area include ‘Yukon Gold’, a personal favorite, ‘Kennebec’, and ‘Red Pontiac’. Cut seed potatoes into pieces that are each about the size of an egg and contain at least one eye. Cut pieces can be planted immediately or sprouted indoors for a few weeks by placing them in a warm, sunny location. Plant seed pieces 6” deep and 10” apart in the row, with 3’ between rows and keep in mind 12 pounds of seed potatoes can plant around a 100’ row, and yield over 200 pounds of spuds.

More vegetables to plant in February and early March include lettuce, spinach, mustard, and turnip greens, which be planted in rows or in a patch 2’ to 3’ wide. Lettuce and spinach can be sown in the garden from seed or grown from transplants, though turnip greens and mustard are best sown direct. Onions can also be planted out now as plants or from ‘sets’, which are basically small onions. Green onions or scallions can also be set out or seeded in early spring, though onion relatives such as leeks, shallots, and garlic should have been planted last fall and rarely do well when planted in spring. Spring vegetables that should be planted out as young plants include broccoli, cabbage, collards, and kale. These can be set out from late February through mid-March.


Learn More!

If you have questions about growing vegetables contact your local Cooperative Extension office.

Learn more from these great online resources:

•          Growing Potatoes (Pender Gardener Article): http://pender.ces.ncsu.edu/index.php?page=news&ci=LAWN+115

•          Planning for Year Round Harvest (Pender Gardener Article): http://pender.ces.ncsu.edu/index.php?page=news&ci=LAWN+111

•          Vegetable Fact Sheets from NC Extension: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/hortinfo.html

•          Vegetable Fact Sheets from Clemson Extension: http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/plants/vegetables/crops/

Visit the Pender Gardener Blog to stay up to date on all the latest gardening news, http://pendergardener.blogspot.com.

ACTION ALERT: Take Action to Support Two Important Local Food and Farmer Acts

Last week, CFSA Executive Director, Roland McReynoldsI was in Washington, DC to talk to key legislative staffers about the importance of local, organic food and agriculture for the Carolinas.  The Farm Bill is up for renewal this year, although gridlock may block any action on this massive legislation until after the November elections.  The sustainable agriculture movement has been doing a great job of preparing for this contest; two key bills already have been introduced that would dramatically increase the competiveness of local and organic food and give new farmers a fair chance to get their start in agriculture. 

You can read more about these two bills, the Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act and the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act at: https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/alert_farmbill11.shtml.

All the legislators Roland spoke with expressed ‘support’ for local and organic farming, but only one, Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, has actually signed on as a co-sponsor of both bills.  Calls from you, right now, are essential to get our representatives on record and help get both these bills into the final Farm Bill. 

Key targets are listed below—if you live in their districts, please call them today and ask them to co-sign on both bills.

Rep. G.K. Butterfield, NC 1st District (Northeast NC), 202-225-3101

Rep. Renee Ellmers, NC 2d District (Southern and Eastern Triangle, Sandhills), 202-225-4531

Rep. David Price, NC 4th District (Northern and Western Triangle; has already signed on to Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act, needs pushing on Beginning Farmer and Rancher Act), 202-225-1784

Rep. Larry Kissell, NC 8th District (South-central NC from Fayetteville to Charlotte), 202-225-3715

Rep. Heath Shuler, NC 11th District (WNC), 202-225-6401

Rep. Mel Watt, NC 12th District (Greensboro to Charlotte), 202-225-1510

Rep. Trey Gowdy, SC 4th District (Upstate), 202-225-6030

Rep. Jim Clyburn, SC 6th District (Low Country and Midlands), 202-225-3315

NC Sen. Richard Burr, 202-224-3154

NC Sen. Kay Hagan, 202-224-6342

Connect with CFSA – Join us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/carolinafarmstewards) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/carolinafarm) or contribute to our blog (http://www.carolinafarmstewardsblog.org)!


Share your News– Got a bright idea for a newsletter article or an upcoming event you’d like to publicize on the website?  E-mail Amy.

Related Articles