August 30th, 2019
Fresh Local Farms in the Carolinas
Summer in the Carolinas is hard to miss. For many in the south, getting to spend time outside in the warm sun, enjoying summer foods, and seeing fresh blooms around every corner are the hallmarks of the season. And what better way to enjoy the outdoors and get your taste of these treats than with your local farmer?
This month we reached out to two local farms, Wild Hope Farm of Chester, SC and North Corner Haven of Lancaster, SC, to get the inside scoop on what’s fresh now, what’s coming for fall, and how we can support and visit these local growers. There’s more to enjoy than you might think!
Wild Hope Farm is a diverse certified organic vegetable and flower farm. “Our goal is to bring high-quality, organic food into our local communities through sustainable farming,” said Farmer Peanut, Operations Manager.
As for North Corner Haven, their specialties lie in organic produce as well as a selection of other products like meat, eggs, and honey. “In the North Corner, we are passionate about creating a space where people can gather and enjoy each other and nature,” explained Catherine Dooley. Both farms offer a bevvy of events for on-the-farm fun.
It wouldn’t be summer in the North Corner without Zinnias and tomatoes, with the latter being so fresh that visitors touring the property often stop to snack right off the vine. “This summer our Arugula has been another standout,” said Dooley. “There is nothing better than a light summer salad with fresh vegetables.”
Tomatoes are also a crowd favorite at Wild Hope, in addition to their watermelons, cantelope, and sweet corn, which sell out in less than 30 minutes at market on Saturdays.
“If you’ve never had sweet corn straight off the stalk or sungold cherry tomatoes off the vine,” shared Peanut, “you need to come visit us!”
And, did you know that all produce tastes better and has much more nutritional value when it’s grown locally? Not only does eating local taste better but it’s also better for you!
“Since the produce from the grocery stores gets shipped in, often from California, it is much lower in nutritional content,” relayed Peanut. Dooley added, “Any product grown locally just tastes better, period!”
Curious about what’s in season this time of year? Because of the heat, delicate lettuce doesn’t fare well into mid-August, but local okra, beans, and squash are easy plate-fillers. This time of year is usually when most farmers in our area transition to fall crops, but you’ll find the likely suspects at the market. This includes all kinds of flowers, tomatoes, melons, okra, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, summer squash, onions, winter squash, garlic, and more.
For those who like to grow-their-own in the backyard, “The biggest piece of advice I have is to incorporate succession planting into your garden, that is the key for having vegetables throughout a season,” shared Peanut.
“That way when your tomatoes are finished the squash is ready for harvest right afterward,” agreed Dooley. “It will extend how long you can eat from your garden and cause less food waste if you time it right!”
If you’re looking for an easy way to incorporate locally grown produce and flowers into your home, look no further than Wild Hope’s Community Supported Agriculture program, or CSA. They have pick-up locations in Charlotte, Rock Hill, Fort Mill, and Matthews. You can also find their goods at the Matthews Farmers Markets. The fall season starts in late August, so sign up today!
North Corner Haven’s products are also widely available to the public and can be found at Reid’s Fine Foods locations as well as on their website, where you can shop farm raised pork, pastured beef, and organic produce.
Events are a key part of both of these family farms, as well. A visit to either is a great way to experience nature and get a day-in-the-life look. Both farms offer a stunning destination for weddings and private events and each has its own activities calendar throughout the year. From cooking demos & tastings at Wild Hope to skeet shooting at North Corner Haven and everything in between, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at these two local treasures.
Wild Hope also aspires to educate the next generation of organic farmers. “We’re always on the lookout for local farmers who are interested in learning under our farm manager, Shawn Jadrnicek,” shared Peanut.
“We learn everyday from our gardens and our animals,” ended Dooley. “We hope that when you’re here, you take away a clearer mind, a lighter heart and a little more curiosity about where your food comes from and how its grown.”
The Charlotte area is “ripe” with opportunity to eat better, support local farms, and enjoy nature at its very finest. Wild Hope Farm and North Corner Haven each offer wonderful educational and event opportunities as well as fresh local products just a quick drive from almost any location around the Charlotte area.