Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
12/15/11 CSA Workshop & Panel at the Watauga County Agricultural Conference Center
By now, most of you reading this know what a CSA is; a Community Supported Agriculture system usually involves some up-front payment by a buyer followed by multiple (often weekly) deliveries from the grower. But there are many varieties on this theme; what really works for local farms and consumers alike? Join NC Cooperative Extension, the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP), and a panel of successful local CSA farmers on Thursday, December 15, 2011 to learn more about the basics (in the morning session) and detailed logistics (in the afternoon) of successfully running a CSA.
What - CSA Workshop - Basics, Marketing, Planning, and Recordkeeping
When - December 15th
Where - Watauga Country Extension conference room
Time (both sessions with lunch panel) - 9:30am – 3:00pm
- 9:30am - 11:30am: Area Extension Agent Richard Boylan on CSA 101, aka “What to think about before starting a CSA”
- 11:30am – 1:00pm - lunch with panel discussion by local CSA farmers
- 1:00pm – 3:00pm - Peter Marks of ASAP on marketing, planning, management, and recordkeeping for a successful CSA
Cost - $5 for either morning or afternoon session only
- $15 for whole day including lunch
The Lunch-time Panel members include a diverse range of CSA Farm examples, including:
Creeksong Farm - (Jeff Thomas) – A diversified Vegetable & Meat CSA has become a viable expanded market for one of the longest-running organic farms in the region;
High Country CSA – An effort to expand opportunities for new and small farms in the High Country region, HCCSA coordinates offerings from a multi-farm network to offer a wide diversity of foods year-round via internet ordering ;
North Fork Farm - ( Jimmy and Sheila Greene) – This remarkably successful CSA was part of North Fork Farm’s first direct-marketing efforts for their own pasture-raised beef, plus pork and chicken from neighbor-farms;
Shady Grove Gardens & Nursery - ( Susan Wright) – Shady Grove has brought the CSA concept to cut flowers in an innovative twist on this marketing system;
Goldfinch Gardens - (Ben McMann) – An example of a single-farm successfully using an internet/email ordering system.
Registration will be available through ASAP beginning Tuesday, 11/29, and a link will be placed at the Watauga County Extension blog by then. Meanwhile, inquiries and/or pre-registrations can be directed to richard_boylan@ncsu or by calling the Watauga County Extension Center at 828-264-3061, or e-mail Hollis Wild at firstname.lastname@example.org
Organic Production & Certification Class for New & Transitioning Growers begins in January
A class for farmers wanting to begin or transition to
Commercial-Scale, Certified Organic
Production Of Vegetable and Fruit Crops
Have you heard about expanding sales opportunities for Organic growers? Perhaps you feel that your farm is too small to break into the conventional commercial vegetable market? Do you have some land that has been idle for a few years, and now are looking to put it into potentially profitable production? Do you want to farm more sustainably? Answering yes to any of these questions may mean that the upcoming class series on Organic Production is right for you. Whether you eventually choose to become a Certified Organic producer or not, the classes will be filled with information on proven techniques for successfully growing vegetable, small-fruit, and field crops while building your soils’ health and foregoing the use of synthetic chemicals on your farm.
This class series is geared toward growers who are already set-up for commercial scale production (e.g. - 1-acre of ready-to-be-certified-organic field land or more), and wish to enter the expanding Certified Organic Market, but smaller-scale growers are welcome, and many have found past versions of this class to be helpful as well. Topics covered will include soils & fertility, disease identification & control, insect identification & control, weed management, post-harvest handling, certification & record-keeping, and marketing to wholesale buyers.
The clasess will meet on Wednesdays, from 6:30-8:30 PM, at the Watauga County Agricultural Conference Center during the winter and early Spring of 2012.
Participating growers will receive books on organic agriculture, weed management, disease identification, and organic pest control, plus resource CD’s with additional information on organic production.
Cost: $50 – Class limited to 20 growers
· January 18 – Introduction to Organics & Certification, and Marketing to Wholesale buyers
· February 25 – Planning Your Organic Crops & Rotations
· February 1 – Soils & Fertility in Organic Systems
· February 8 – Weed Management in Organic Systems
· February 15 – Disease Management in Organic Systems
· February 22 – Tying Together Crop Rotation, Soil Fertility, and Weed & Disease Management Into One Coherent System
· February 29 – Insect Management in Organic Systems
· March 7 – Post-Harvest Handling for Selected Crops & Food Safety Considerations
· March 14 – Marketing Organic Crops & Certification Paperwork Wrap-up
· March 21 – Snow Date
· March 28 – Snow Date
· April 4 – Snow Date
Due to the likelihood that one or more of these classes may have to be cancelled due to snow, ice, or other inclement conditions, farmers enrolling this class should reserve their Wednesday nights through April 4, 2012. With luck, the class will be completed by mid-March, but one has to be cautious in these mountain winters…
For more information, call the Watauga County Cooperative Extension office at (828) 264-3061, or e-mail Richard Boylan at email@example.com
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Cooperative Extension is listing this job opening as a courtesy for our important partner in the local foods system, the Watauga County Farmers Market. All inquiries should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Watauga County Farmers Market (WCFM) Board seeks to hire a manager to lead in making the WCFM a destination for Boone and surrounding areas through high quality farmer and artisan products and with activities of interest to families. The Market Manager will serve as a positive, pro-active, energetic face for the Watauga County Farmers' Market. S/he will interact with the local community by providing information, answering questions, and addressing concerns. S/he must be well organized with respect to marketing, financial recordkeeping, and project management, and will coordinate all market activities, uphold the Market Rules, and implement and enforce market policies. The Market Manager is a part-time position, with primary responsibility being the day-to-day successful operation of the WCFM. This will include an on-site presence at the Market during all Market hours, as well as off-site work during non-Market hours.
Please see the WCFM web site at
for full details and application requirements.
Please also note that a separate, but related, position administering the USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) Grant will soon open, with an additional salary of approximately $11,000. Applicants for the WCFM Manager position should indicate in their application letters whether they are interested in and available for this separate but related FMPP position. Qualified WCFM Market Manager candidates will be encouraged to apply.
Closing deadline for applications is Monday, December 5, 2011.
Friday, November 4, 2011
• Christmas Tree Farmer of the Year: Steve Stanley.
• Cattleman of the Year: Jeff Winkler.
• Beekeeper of the Year: Burton Moomaw.
• Beekeeper Association's Presidents Award: James Wilkes and Mark Henson of Hive Tracks
• Mary Boyer was posthumously awarded the Woman in Agriculture Award.
• Agri-tourism Award went to New River Corn Maze
• L.E. Tuckwiller Award, recognizing a town or community for outstanding efforts in community development went to Recycling Consortium.
• Agriculture in Arts Award went to Jane and Mike Campbell.
• Youth in Agriculture award went to Jacqueline Walczak and Jazmyne Maxwell.
• Spirit of Farm City Award went, posthumously, to Angela Church McCoury.
• Farm Family of the Year Award went to David Yates from the Cool Springs Community. He also received a certificate from the Champion Tree Program from NC Division of Forestry for the largest butternut specimen in the state.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Friday, October 14, 2011
Won’t you please join us in creating “Visions of our Future” trash art! You may be wondering, “What is Trash Art?” As part of the educational campaign for keeping litter out of our environment and waterways, the Mountain Keepers, Watauga County Cooperative Extension, Watauga River Partners, Watauga County Recycling, Town of Boone, Watauga County Library, Elkland Art Center, Stickboy Bread Co., Mast General Store, and Earthfare, are sponsoring a “trash to art” contest where the only rule is that your art must be less than 3ftx3ft in dimension and made out of 90% reused materials (recyclables and trash).
We throw away a lot of good trash. It’s amazing how usable our trash is, and we want to see the trash get a second life! Cindy Ball of Elkland Art Center says “trash is a really affordable medium to work with and its totally available, everywhere, literally.” It’s fun to start rethinking trash and how to minimize local and global impacts. Judith Winecoff of Watauga Library makes a good point when she said “we’re doing two things at once, cleaning up as we create art. So many times we don’t realize how much trash and litter is out there until we work with it and then we begin to take notice.” According to Marsha Story “recycling has skyrocketed over the last quarter in the Town of Boone, in fact curbside residential recycling was 81% participation over the last quarter!”
Entries can be brought to the Watauga County Library during open hours the month of Oct. Please turn your artwork in to Judith Winecoff. Rules: The art can be no larger that 3ft x 3ft and must be creations that consist of at least 90% reused or recycled materials, nothing in the art can be purchased! There will be two age divisions, youth 16 and under and adults over 17. Awards will be given in each division to the top three and each participant will receive a gift package and certificate. Art must be picked up the first week of November. You will receive your gifts and awards when art is picked up. Please contact Wendy Patoprsty at 264-3061 or email Wendy_Patoprsty@ncsu.edu with any questions.
Friday, October 7, 2011
The teens demonstrated excellent leadership skills, responsibility and organization in preparing the class list, creating rules and guidelines, promoting sponsors, participating in planning sessions and more. Ashley Oliver volunteered to be the show manager. The event was held at the Blowing Rock Equestrian Preserve. Nearly 60 participants competed in the show and nearly that many volunteers assisted. The ASU Equestrian team was on hand, as well as the Lee’s McRae Equestrian team, to lend their horse show experience to the management of the show. The event was a great success and there were many requests to hold it again!
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Students from Mountain Alliance, a culinary class, and a travel and tourism class learned a bit more about the importance of supporting local foods. On Monday, Todd Nolte and his Mountain Alliance students picked apples from over 150 varieties at Moretz’s Mountain Orchard in Todd. They delivered 21 bushels to ProStart, a culinary class taught by Family and Consumer Science teacher Tierra Berry. The culinary students prepared 4 different recipes that were judged by teachers on flavor, creativity and appearance. Health promotion professionals judged the healthfulness of the recipes as well. Alison Garrett’s Travel and Tourism class (which includes marketing), spread the word about the apple tasting that was held on Friday, right after school. The class organized an apple trivia contest, designed a t-shirt promoting local food, and encouraged students to attend the recipe tasting by passing out local apples for students to enjoy on Friday morning.
This project was supported with grant funding from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. One of the purposes of the grant is to reach and educate more consumers about the value of locally grown produce. Partner organizations promoting local foods include NC Cooperative Extension, New River Organic Growers, Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, and High Country CSA. For more information about what you can do to support our local food economy, visit highcountrygrown.org
Monday, October 3, 2011
This year, awards will be given out to individuals and/or businesses that have made significant contributions to agriculture; organizations, service or civic, that have benefited the community and agricultural economy, and groups that have made significant contributions to volunteerism, local agri-tourism, and socially-sustainable agricultural practices. Commodity groups also will award their respective producers of the year, and Watauga Soil and Water will present the Farm Family of the Year award.
Door prizes will include baskets filled with locally produced foods and other items. In addition, the Watauga Arts Council has arranged for a local artist to finish a piece of art with an agriculture theme to be given away at the event. This year, Watauga County Farm Bureau (Farm City's "Gold Sponsor") is also hosting a canned food drive at the Banquet. Guests are asked to please bring canned food items to be given to area food banks.
Nomination forms for Farm City Awards are available online HERE.
Tickets are $10.00 per person (children 5 and under eat for free; children 6-12, $5) and can be purchased at the NC Cooperative Extension Office, 971 W King St., Boone. No tickets will be sold at the door and ticket sales are limited to 250. For more info, please call 828-264-3061.
Friday, September 30, 2011
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
|Protect our headwater streams through Rainscapes.|
|Protect streams by planting trees and shrubs on the banks.|