On Monday, August 15, from 3 PM to 6:30 PM, North Carolina Cooperative Extension will lead a Specialty Crops Field Day on the production of Broccoli and related Brassica Crops in the High Country region. This region of western NC is one of the few areas of the south that can produce cool-season crops such as broccoli during the months of July, August and September. The Field Day will be held at Watauga River Farms, located at 2953 NC Hwy 194 S, Sugar Grove, NC 28692. Farm-owner Charles Church has grown and sold broccoli since the 1980’s, and is a founding member of Eastern Carolina Organics (ECO) and the New River Organic Growers (NROG) Cooperative.
The Field Day will include a discussion of Broccoli Varieties suitable for market production in the High Country. Watauga River Farms is presently growing Blue Wind and Arcadia, while the Mountain Research Station in Waynesville, NC is testing 36 varieties of broccoli, in its role as the North Carolina site for the East Coast Broccoli Project. Dr. Jeanine Davis, Associate Professor & Extension Specialist with NC State University, and Emily Bernstein, Project Coordinator at the Mountain Organic Research & Extension Program, will discuss their work with this research project. Other speakers for the day will include Dr Jim Walgenbach of the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research & Extension Center of NC State University on insect management in broccoli crops, Richard Boylan of Watauga County Cooperative Extension on Disease Management in broccoli crops, and Charles Church on post-harvest handling of broccoli crops. The day’s speakers will jointly address issues of fertility, weed-management, and cultivation of broccoli, and participants will have the opportunity to scout the growing broccoli crops at the farm.
This Field Day is free and open to members of the public, thanks to a Specialty Crops Block Grant Award from USDA and NCDA. All who attend will receive a resource packet on broccoli production, and farmers attending will also be entered into a drawing to win valuable books and other materials on Brassica disease identification. Pre-registration is recommended. For more information or to pre-register, call the Watauga County Cooperative Extension Office at 828-264-3061.