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The Farms Archives | New South Produce Cooperative
 

The Farms

This International Women's Day, we honor Jill Forrester at Whitton Farms. She generates much more than your traditional flower power as the New South Board Chair, mother, and business owner X2. Jill lives the flower power mantra every day. Over the last 16 years, their farm has grown from a sprinkling of zinnia seeds to a solid agri-business that beautifies and feeds their community (and the New South CSA)! During her time as chair, Jill has stewarded New South through several big milestones: We've opened up Wholesale business to include all local small growers, welcomed 13 Certified Naturally Grown and Certified Organic farms into membership, and we're opening a Memphis hub this April. We sat down with Jill to talk about her farm and the meaning of flower power. Read the full interview below:   How did you start farming? Jill: My husband Keith asked me what I wanted for my birthday. For nearly a year we'd been...

Growing without harmful herbicides and pesticides is not an easy feat, but Debra Lockard and her family see it as tradition at Lockard's Produce farm. For 100 years, Lockard's Produce in Glimp, Tennesse, has supplied the Memphis area with southern delicacies from purple hull peas to Ripley tomatoes using natural growing methods like companion planting. (Watch the video below for an example of companion planting.) In 2014, Debra made her growing practices official by obtaining her Naturally Grown certification. And she's still growing strong.  Her practices earned her recognition from Tennessee State University in 2018 as Tennessee's Small Farm of the Year in the Best Management Practices category. Congratulations, Debra! ...

We had a question last week from a spring CSA customer, asking how our farmers deal with squash bugs while growing organically. Tara Stainton from Rattle's Garden was kind enough to supply us with her answer: "I have not found a great organic biological control for squash bugs, so we rely completely on timing and understanding that I can't grow squash through the entire summer like a conventional grower. We plant our summer crop as early as possible, giving them a good jump in our greenhouse. We plant a LOT of them to makeup for what we are going to start losing already in the first few weeks. And the key for me has been making the decision to pull all cucurbits (squash, cucumbers, etc.) from the field on July 1, at which time we are overrun by squash bugs. We go for the next 45 days without having any of these plants in...

Most of our farmers will talk to you about the importance of family, but one family stands out above the rest: the Dettelbach Family. Their farm is powered by three generations, working in unison to create not only a sustainable farming system, but a closer family unit. Steve and Ashley Dettelbach's farm is in Wynne, Arkansas. Not only do they grow produce for New South cooperative, but they also raise animals for the Grass Roots Farmers' Cooperative. Their farm is a lively mix of row gardens and animal pens. The soft sounds of chicks are caught in the fierce Delta winds and blown across to where the sheep are grazing. The pigs run out to greet Ashley, from where they are pastured in an area that used to grow carrots and kale. They happily root up the tubers, enjoying a snack and turning over the soil. The new row house is...

Josh Hardin always seems to be smiling. Maybe that is why he calls his farm Laughing Stock Farm. He is one of those people who you meet, and you just know they have found their calling. They are certain in who they are and what they are meant to do. John certainly knows. His long-time customers at the Central Arkansas farmer's markets look for his familiar face. It is this love of service that calls Josh to farm: "I have been driven to farm by many people and beliefs. The most prominent moment has really been my connection to customers in the direct market atmosphere. From the first time I sold produce at market with my brother at the age of 14, I have been a market farmer. Since that summer, I have only missed one season of selling our family’s fruits and vegetables directly to the people that enjoy them. I am...

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...

On any given morning, you can find Brandon Gordon in his fields. He is a full-time farmer at 5 Acre Farm in Bradford, with two small boys and a love for what he does. I recently asked Brandon what attracted him to a life of farming. "When I first started farming, I would have said something about sustainability and a slower, simpler lifestyle than the typical 9-5 job offers.  While that's still true today, I would say the challenge of farming is what drives me.  No matter how much I learn, I'll never master farming. I can't foresee ever getting bored with it." That love of the challenge is what pushes him to try new things on the farm, like new varieties of vegetables, growing sprouts for the first time this year, putting up new hoop houses, and tilling into new earth. Brandon's love of farming is also infectious. He has two part-time...

Spring in the Ozarks is beautiful and exciting. All of the newness and possibilities. The farm at Ozark Alternatives is no exception. Paul Chapracki took time out of his morning chores to show us around. His farm is one of our associate farms for New South Produce Cooperative. He relocated his farm just over a year ago, and he has made amazing progress. He has one large row house, filled with forests of kale that Dr. Seuss would adore, summer seedlings sprouting through the ground, and of course, Hazel Clementine the cat. Paul is currently supplying spinach, kale, and lettuce to the cooperative. His farm is Certified Naturally Grown. He has a row of test strawberries ripening in the sun, and he was excited about future expansion. The wholesale sales and CSA membership are giving Paul and his family a secured market for his produce and allows him to spend more quality...

Early spring on the farms is a very busy time. Our farmers have been growing steadily throughout the winter, providing fresh, seasonal produce to our wholesale customers. Now the big push for preparing the soil and the beds is underway. Greenhouses are filled to capacity with seedlings: tomatoes, peppers, basil, cucumbers, squash. A big problem for the farmers lately has been mice in the greenhouses. Mice are attracted to the warmth inside. Once in, they see what looks to them like a food buffet. Seeds lined up in all of the trays, just ready to be nibbled upon. They will dig up emerging plants and eat down the leafy greens. Ashley at Dettelbach Farms has had several flats of beets and kale mowed down by the pesky mice. Five Acre Farms has also had issues with their seedlings. Non-toxic measures are employed to combat the problem. Ashley put up a metal barrier...

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