In 2004, as newlyweds, we moved to a small farm in southwestern Rowan County, previously cultivated by Megan’s grandparents. We eagerly planted a huge garden. Though educated at North Carolina State University in horticultural science, we quickly found there are many aspects of gardening that only experience can teach. Over the years, we’ve finessed our gardening practices to produce fruits and vegetables using more sustainable methods without pesticides.
Even after scaling down in our second year, the garden harvest was overabundant and we began considering various opportunities for sharing our produce. Since most of our friends and neighbors harvested their own gardens, it seemed logical to explore the needs outside our immediate community. Our first retail experience was a Community Supported Agriculture program and a self-service produce stand.
While the CSA and the produce stand continue to be a staple aspect of the farm in spring and summer, meat production is a year-round venture that we’ve established. All the fencing had been taken down on the farm years ago and the pastures were simply mowed for hay when we moved to the farm. In 2006, Andy built a 16-foot x 16-foot pig pen and started installing new fence for additional livestock.
Our first animals were nine weaned piglets. There have been several groups of five to nine pigs over the years. We purchase piglets from a local hog producer rather than keeping a sow and boar on the farm. We feed our pigs a custom mix of locally grown corn and soybean meal. They also enjoy plenty of garden refuse during the produce season. They have access to a self-waterer and regularly create a mud puddle for wallowing. It’s important for pigs to have shelter, their pink skin can sunburn!
We have a small herd of Black Angus beef cattle that graze on 16 acres of pasture. We practice rotational grazing to most efficiently utilize the forage. In the winter, the cows are fed hay. We produce some of our own hay, but must also buy some from other local farms.
We have enjoyed our efforts so far and look forward to the continued revitalization of the farm so that we might—quite literally—share the fruits of our labor.
T & A Barbee Family Farm, LLC (doing business as Barbee Farms) was formed in 2008. The family has deep roots in agriculture. Brent, the youngest family member and farm manager, is a sixth generation farmer on this farm and the first of the past three to fully depend on farming for a living. His summer job during high school was to sell surplus vegetables from our garden at the local farmers markets. We have since graduated from a small table at the market to no less than three farmers markets a week, a farm stand, a small amount of restaurant and small grocery store business and participation in 3 multi-farm CSAs plus one exclusively from our farm. Our family is extremely dedicated to this farm with everyone lending a hand to better our commitment of supplying a quality and safe product.
The farm currently consists of approximately 30 acres of fresh vegetables, approximately three acres of fruit trees, and 25 additional acres in corn, barley, and soybeans for rotational purposes. Our intent is to maintain and strengthen soil properties and viability for future generations. We are not certified organic; however, we practice many organic methods along with conventional methods. The ultimate goal is to create a line of products that have the homegrown taste while maintaining the sustainability of our farm. Our family has always consumed and preserved fruits and vegetables from our farm; therefore, food safety is a priority.
We currently produce over 30 different vegetable and fruit crops with many different varieties of each crop. As you can tell by the availability chart, we are extremely diverse in the crops that we grow. Some of the crops have been added over the years from customer request. If you do not see something that you enjoy, let us know. We are not afraid to try new things.
Mike has been farming in some form or another his whole life. He started out helping both his grandparents when he was old enough to do chores on their farms. When he went to college, he tried tobacco farming while in WNC. After moving back here, one of his brother’s purchased his maternal grandparent’s farm following their passing. Mike decided to start working towards revitalizing his paternal grandfather’s farm as his health was failing and he was unable to keep it up. The beef idea was started then and he has provided beef on a very small scale to friends and family until this year when he made the switch into more retail type of sales.
The Big Oak Farm name came about because there are a number of really big oak trees on the farm that we have pictures of Mike’s grandfather standing beside them when he was a little boy when those same trees were smaller.
Farming is Mike’s golf game. He really enjoys doing it and he sees the need for the all natural product he is now producing. This is his hobby now but he would love to make it a full time commitment. He does most of the labor himself, although his wife Dawn is willing to help him when she is able. Friends and family step in when needed.
Mike is proud of the fact that his family has participated in farming activities in Cabarrus Co for over a century at the same location and survived all the perils of the ecomomy, weather, and now development and still be a working farm today. They were one of the original 109 farms in Cabarrus Co that signed on to be in the Agricultural districts in the county.
He would like to see some of younger members of his family take on an interest in farming and make their own decisions about how to provide a product from his family’s farm to the local community.
Big Oak Farm is registered as a NC Certified Meat Handler.
Mike currently has around 30 momma cows, 3 herd bulls, and 5 replacement heifers and steers. Most of the cows have calves on them now so his total number is around 60 head.
Everything he has is a product of his farm. He has complete control from selection of cows and bulls, to keeping selected calves for beef. This includes selecting which cows will breed with each bull.
The cattle are given access to around 80 acres of pasture that is divided between three different farms in Cabarrus County. He is able to rotationally graze the herd to keep from over grazing any single area.
Mike provides momma cows with mild and green grass their entire lives. After he selects a calf for beef, they are taken out of the pastures and given a free choice between hay and an all natural feed mixture that he has specially blended from all natural products.
He has never given and never will give any of his cattle any type of growth stimulant or hormone. Everything that enters their bodies is all natural.
All of his beef is finish fed with a blend that he has worked on for years to provide the best in leanness, flavor, and tenderness. Mike normally finish feeds them between 4-6 weeks. In the finish feeding areas they are not given access to any green grass but do have a choice between hay and feed. The cows overwhelmingly prefer the feed by 10-1. While in these areas they can still see and hear the other cattle on the farm.
He does not routinely give antibiotics to any of his cattle, however if one does get sick and needs antibiotics, that animal is not selected for his beef production.
Cold Water Creek Farms is a local provider of organic produce. We provide an annual CSA program as well as serving restaurants, catering companies and individuals across Greater Cabarrus County. We also participate in several farmers markets in Cabarrus and Mecklenburg Counties. Find us regularly at the Atherton Market in Historic South End Charlotte and at the Davidson Market in downtown Davidson.
Commonwealth Farms is a collaborative effort managed by Jane G. Henderson, who has farmed organically in the greater Charlotte area for the past 8 years. The enterprise now consists primarily of plots in two Cabarrus County locations: 2/3 acre at Jane’s small farm and 1/3 acre at her mother, Garland Carmichael’s home. Having participated at the certified organic Elma C. Lomax Incubator Farm for two years, Jane has built working relationships with farmers there and is able to expand the variety of her offerings with those of Lomax farmers from time to time.
Jane has, for a long time, envisioned a group of people working together to provide local, sustainably grown food for each other and for those who are not able to grow enough of their own. She considered farming on a piece of land on Commonwealth Ave. in Charlotte, and when that location didn’t work out, the name “commonwealth” stuck–from the idea of serving the “common” good, of pooling resources and sharing the “wealth” of Earth’s bounty. When Garland moved from Charlotte to the site of the former Suther dairy farm in late 2006, Jane added that location to her other gardening ventures and Commonwealth Farms was born. Jane’s family moved to Cabarrus County 3 years later.
Both Jane and Garland came to farming through their love of flowers and appreciation for delicious, nutritious food. Jane believes that flowers feed our spirits in the same way that food nourishes our bodies. Her goal is to have edible and decorative flowers available 365 days a year. She also specializes in the production of winter vegetables and various specialty crops, such as baby ginger. Jane and her mother enjoy the companionship of gardening with others, the satisfaction of harvesting Earth’s gift of food and the feeling of community in sharing lovingly raised vegetables and flowers with others.
The 2 women do much of the garden work themselves, but welcome the help of neighbors (and their equipment) in developing the garden framework and occasional plowing. Nancy Doyle provides indispensible support and Jane’s husband, Harry Lancaster, is an occasional contributor of labor and “engineering” expertise.
Garland’s desire for an aesthetically pleasing garden space led to a pattern of circles and chevrons rather than the usual straight rows seen in
many farms. There is respect for the cycles and creatures of Nature while growing unusual and uncommon varieties of flowers and vegetables along with native species. They mix up flowers, vegetables and herbs within the beds for a change of pace and to try to confuse the caterpillars who would like nothing better than to munch their way along a 100′ row of broccoli. These farmers are also happy to experiment with growing special requests to suit the tastes of their customers.
Jane’s long-term vision is to mentor and empower people to grow whatever food they can for themselves all year long. She welcomes the participation of others who want to learn more about growing their own food and flowers.
Commonwealth Farms uses organic, sustainable practices with minimal impact to the environment. We believe that strong, healthy crops have greater resistance to pests and disease, so we strongly emphasize soil health as a “preventive” measure. We also use mulches, crop rotation, trap crops, companion planting and insectary borders to attract beneficial insects to the garden. If we should have a pest infestation that threatens the survival of a crop, we might dispose of the plants (as we did with squash one summer) or, at Garland’s, perhaps use minimum impact pesticides in order to save a crop from devastation. Jane leans toward biodynamic farming practices and would like not to kill anything (a la Machaelle Small Wright at Perelandra Farm in Virginia, http://www.perelandra-ltd.com/2007_Virtual_Garden_Tour_6_In_W2599.cfm), but at this point she can be found hand picking and disposing of certain pesky insect eggs and, at times, hand picking (and squishing) the adults.
To keep the soil healthy, Commonwealth Farms uses cover crops, compost, manures (chicken and horse), pond sludge, fish emulsion, seaweed and other natural minerals to enrich the soil, with a constant goal of increasing organic matter. Garland’s plot is in its fourth year of transformation from a go-cart track to a productive garden spot. Mulching heavily helps conserve water and a trench system in the garden pathways holds rainwater longer, allowing more time for water to soak into the garden. Rain barrels also collect water for garden use.
Commonwealth Farms adheres to the principles of “organic” gardening, but not always to the letter of USDA regulations at Garland’s home. We have used glyphosate (“RoundUp”) to kill Bermuda grass and poison ivy. We haven’t always searched 3 sources for organic seeds before purchasing non certified organic seed. Overall, however, we have utmost respect and gratitude for the ecosystem and do our best to leave our farms even better for future generations.
About our Mushroom Farm
We grow Oyster Mushrooms on Straw (Rye,Wheat or Barley)
-Oyster Strains Include: Phonix (Brown), Golden (Yellow), Tree (Blue) and a Local Native Strain, China Grove Oyster Mushroom (PO-1)
We also grow Shiitake Mushrooms on Hardwood Sawdust Blocks as well as Oak and Sweet Gum Logs
Our Mushrooms are cultured and grown from spores to harvest, from the sterile lab to the grow rooms.
Chemicals and Fertilizers are not allowed in our farm.
Cereal Grains are used as a Nitrogen source to enhance mushroom growth. Frogs, spiders and fly paper are used to control insects.
Our Mission at Cottonmill Mushroom Farms is to create a green, sustainable urban farm, to provide everyone within our reach access to fresh just picked oyster and shiitake mushrooms that haven’t been on the back of a truck for hundreds/thousands of miles and haven’t sat in a distribution center for days or weeks. As well as creating jobs for the local community.
A little History about how we got started:
Started in year 2007 as Landis Gourmet Mushrooms
Converted a section of basement in an old cotton mill into a crude yet functional mushroom production facility under the guidance of Dr.Omon from NC A&T University
All of our equipment with a few exceptions was fabricated on site using recycled materials
We Produce Oyster and Shiitake Mushrooms on straw and sawdust from spores to harvest.
Using sustainable methods without the use of chemicals, pesticides, or fertilizers
In January of 2011 the farms Ownership was Expanded and the name was changed to Cottonmill Mushroom Farms.
We are now staging to become a leading woodland mushroom producer in the Southeast.
China Grove Oyster Mushroom (PO-1) Information:
September 2010 an Oyster Mushroom was harvested from an ancient Oak Tree Farm in China Grove, NC, about 2 miles from Cottommill Mushroom Farms.
We are now producing this beautiful mushroom at the farm.
Not only is it local grown but, its a native strain with its origin’s right here in China Grove.
Producing a wild native mushroom is an amazing and beautiful thing.
We are continuously looking for local/native strains in god’s garden, they in turn make our urban mushroom farm even more locally sustainable!
John Herron spent 23 years in the US Army and retired as a first Sergeant out of Fort Jackson. In the Military John was appointed the Civil Rights Advisor to the Commander of the 3rd US Infantry Regiment in Washing DC. John supervised 13 Drill Sergeants and together the controlled the training. After retirement John gained the passion and the knowledge to work with Mushrooms. After acquiring the knowledge to grow Mushrooms John started Landis Gourmet Mushrooms in the Old Cotton Mill in Landis and started production. The Cotton Mill is being transformed into a totally green and sustainable alternative farm, John acquiring a new partner Michael Thorp and the farm acquiring a new name, Cottonmill Mushroom Farms.
Gilcrest Natural Farm is in its fifth growing season although Amy and Gil been backyard gardeners their whole lives. When asked Why do you farm?, Amy responded, “The short answer is joy. The long answer would involve long discussions about food quality, sustainability, job satisfaction and education of the next generation.”
Amy farms full time, Gil works off-farm as well as on the farm. Their family supplies the majority of the labor. From time to time they will hire a contractor to help with things they do not have the equipment or expertise to do themselves.
Gilcrest Natural Farm
Gilcrest farm is peaceful. Amy calls it the “animal spa”. Living in natural surroundings and in collaboration with nature creates a balance they have been striving for, well forever.
Downtime in the winter months will give Gilcrest Farm a chance to pursue certification from the Animal Welfare Institute. They consider a repeat customer the best honor. Their long-term vision is a continually evolving one with content, pasture raised animals, bountiful and sustainably raised vegetables and fruits, and those pecan trees they want to get planted.
Gilcrest Farm uses organic methods (but are not certified organic) that include trap crops, companion planting, crop rotation, compost and mulch, organic fertilizers, and they remove plenty of weeds and bugs by hand. (The chickens are happy to help with bug disposal!)
In times of drought soil fertility is a special challenge. Amy and Gil use compost and aged manure along with crop rotation, cover crops, and rest periods. They find growing organically a welcome challenge. They are stewards of their land and want to preserve its viability for generations to come. They specialize in heirloom vegetables and search for varieties that are suited to our climate in order to give them the best chance to succeed. Amy and Gil prefer the taste and nutritional content of organically grown foods and hope their customers do too.
Gilcrest Farm currently has anywhere from 18 to 24 steer. They obtain their cattle from local farmers whose methods meet Gilcrest Farm standards. Gilcrest Farm will purchase an animal from the post-weaning stage up to the age of 14 months and then bring them to the farm to finish raising them.
Gilcrest Farm raises their beef in a sustainable manner – rotating pastures, using only natural methods to seed and fertilize the pasture, and monitoring their growth and welfare. The animals are on pasture 24/7. The cattle are fed an all natural grain mix. The animals receive a limited amount of grain each day – this prepares their system for the future marbling customers want. Before processing, the amount of grain is increased to “finish” the animal properly. The amount of time needed for finishing varies with the size and age of the animal.
The cattle are never given antibiotics or hormones, steroids, or growth promoters.
With regard to poultry, in 2009 Gilcrest is raising 1,500 broilers and have 70 laying hens. They get their day-old poultry from a local hatchery in Claremont, Shook Poultry.
The broilers are raised on pasture and our laying hens are free-range. Each group has five acres of pasture dedicated to them. Each group is fed chicken feed formulated for their growing stage in addition to their pasture diet of grasses and bugs. As chicks, a vitamin supplement is used to supplement the nutritional content of their feed.
The birds are never given antibiotics or hormones, steroids, or growth promoters.
Gilcrest Farm has 70 laying hens of various ages that are purchased as day-old chicks from Shook Poultry in Claremont. The laying hens are free-range, with five acres of pasture dedicated to them. Molting is a natural process that Amy and Gil do not interfere with or manipulate.
The chickens are fed a feed formulated for their growing stage in addition to their pasture diet of grasses and bugs. They also receive crushed oyster shell to ensure proper calcium intake. As chicks, a vitamin supplement is used to supplement the nutritional content of their feed.
Homeland Creamery, LLC is located in southeast Guilford County, NC. We supply the local area with dairy products of the highest quality, freshness, good taste, and free from added hormones and antibiotics. Want to know where your food comes from? Come visit our Creamery store or schedule a farm tour to see how it all works. If you have never been on a farm before, our tours will show you a real farm experience!
More than ever, it is important to know your food source. Our milk comes from healthy well-fed Holsteins (and a few Jersey’s) produced without artificial growth hormones or antibiotics. We feel it is important for dairy cows to graze freely in pasture and consume healthy, green grass whenever possible. During winter months we feed them corn, hay and mixed feed grown right on our farmland. We think our milk is healthier not just because it is local but because milk from grass-fed cows has a higher content of vitamins and Omega-3s. Homeland Creamery milk is enzyme-rich due to our low-temperature vat pasteurization process. These enzymes are crucial for digestion, as they assimilate nutrients into the body. We are one of very few dairies to pasteurize milk this way. Our process kills harmful bacteria, in compliance with FDA rules, without harming enzymes. Because of this, many people who have been diagnosed as lactose intolerant can drink our milk! Give our local, fresh, delicious milk a try. It’s good for you!
Our Natural Approach to Farming helps You! We always use safe farming practices on our farm. That means the way we farm helps protect our cows and the environment. We use our own spring water for irrigation and when possible we recycle our manure and use it to help fertilize our fields. We practice no till soil conservation which means that we don’t till or plow the soil to eliminate weeds when we prepare our fields for sowing. This no till process helps with soil erosion and water runoff, improves wildlife habitat, and helps reduce greenhouse gases and fuel use.
No growth hormones of any kind are ever used.
No hormones such as BST are used to increase milk production
All our milk is from our own dairy farm Holsteins.
If a cow ever requires medication, the milk is discarded long after the recommended time to insure no antibiotics enter our milk supply.
If needed, we use environmentally friendly herbicides to help protect our crops from unwanted pests.
After all, if our cows are treated well and eat good quality hay, grass and feed, then they are healthier, happier and produce a better quality milk. That makes us happier!
T&D Farms are producers of 100% all-natural, grass fed Charolais-Limousine cross beef. Our cattle are allowed to graze freely on pasture grass from birth to slaughter. All of our beef is born and raised on our farm without any antibiotics, hormones or steroids. We DO NOT buy calves from any external source.
The Charolais-Limousine cross produces a very lean meat. Our all-natural lean beef offers a healthy alternative to commercially raised feedlot beef. We are not organic, but we use as many organic methods as possible because we also eat what we raise. Our beef and is available by individual cuts or by the animal. Our animals are harvested at a young age to ensure excellent tenderness and flavor. All of our beef is USDA inspected and vacuum sealed for freshness and safety.
T&D Farms is a family farm owned and operated by Todd and Danielle Mauldin located in China Grove, NC which is approximately 20 miles North of Charlotte NC. We are registered as a NC Certified Meat Handler.
We welcome folks to come year round by appointment to buy our meat, so give us a call or an email and come visit.