13 Apr Joe the Fresh Farmer
Joe Carr wasn’t always an organic veggie farmer. While he has a long history of farming and working hard, he began his career as a cattle man in Northwest Arkansas. Eventually growing produce caught his eye, and he hasn’t slowed down since.
When I asked Joe recently what drives him to farm, he replied with his tongue-in-cheek style.
“What drives me to farm? Usually it is my forty horse Kubota tractor! But seriously farming is part of my heritage something I inherited from my grandparents.I love growing crops and building the soil. I like the independent lifestyle, and I’ve always enjoyed working hard and being able to enjoy the fruits of my labor. There is much more to be realized than just the monetary benefits.”
Joe’s farm, Joe’s Farm Fresh Produce, is one of the founding members of the New South Produce Cooperative. His commitment to sustainable agriculture is evident by the long hours and dedication needed for his certification.
“Although I’m certified naturally grown, I’m transitioning to organic by developing an organic conservation plan that helps establish buffer zones, shelter belts, windbreaks. It also covers the use of cover crops and establishing beneficial insect habitats. It also addresses drainage, erosion control and water usage. My farming methods have changed a lot in the last couple of years since becoming acquainted with the cooperative. I have learned a lot of basics such as bed preparation, use of high tunnels as season extenders, insect and weed control. I have had some improvements on record keeping
as well. I have learned how to improve the quality and the shelf life of the produce that I grow. I have learned more about how a produce coop works.”
All of this education has certainly paid off, as Joe continues to be a vital contributor to the cooperative. With his wife Vilma, Joe is now passing on this farming heritage to his two sons. His grandparents would surely be proud.