Cary, NC – Cary’s cultivator farm leased its land back in August 2016 and after going through their first Summer production, Good Hope Farm is now opening a pop-up produce stand this Summer.
Farm Marks Important Step
Good Hope Farm, which is a part of the 30-acre historic A.M. Howard Farm, has already been selling produce to farmers’ markets in the Wake County area but now, until July 31 each Tuesday, the farm will operate its own produce stand to sell the fruits and vegetables grown there. Shoppers can check the farm’s Facebook page to see what produce will be sold each week.
Sarah Justice, environmental outreach program coordinator with the Town of Cary, said the produce stand represents an important and celebrated milestone for the cultivator farm.
“We had the first real Summer of production last year. The farm started slow but we knew it would be like that because we had details to sort out at first,” Justice said.
Erin Crouse, project manager for Good Hope Farm for The Conservation Fund, said the land had not been used for their scale of farming before, nor was it used for the modern, organic farming the Good Hope Farm does.
“Now we’re at a place where we’re building soil and farmers are planning out for the future,” Crouse said.
Good Hope Farm currently has eight farmers and six farmer businesses and Crouse said one of the goals with the farm is to not only support the farmers but also to help them bring their produce to customers in Cary.
“That’s harder than it sounds,” Crouse said. “You have to know when your yields come in and how much you’ll get.”
Learning Where Food Comes From
One of the goals with Good Hope Farm was not only to create a space for urban farming but also to educate the public about agriculture and modern farming practices.
“We have an educational garden on-site and we’ve done reach out to businesses and schools,” Crouse said. “We’re also doing container garden workshops and we’ve worked with groups such as Dorcas Ministries on how to grow food. It’s about techniques and we’re teaching people where their food comes from.”
Good Hope Farm also has a monthly volunteer work day where people can come, even without any farming or gardening experience, to help out on the farm.
“There is also the opportunity for agricultural education there,” Justice said. This past Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which always includes a volunteer component, Justice said 250 people came to help out on the farm and were also taught about soil building.
With Good Hope Farm located on a historic farm property, there are still buildings there, some of which go back to the 1910s, and Justice said people can learn about farming through these building as well. Some are being used with the current farm work, such as barns previously used to store food now equipped with electric cold storage facilities and modern sinks for cleaning appliances.
“It’s historically accurate uses, but modernized,” Justice said.
Currently, the Town of Cary is asking people for feedback on what should be done with historic properties such as the remaining land and buildings on the A.M. Howard Farm (the North half of the property is being used by Good Hope Farm) and Justice said so far, the feedback suggests the cultivator farm is “on the right track.”
“The difference with us is we are the only historic property currently being used and we’re happy to have forged the way there,” Justice said.
Good Hope Farm is located at 1580 Morrisville Carpenter Rd., with the pop-up produce stand open from 4 to 6 PM on Tuesdays until July 31, 2018.
Story by Michael Papich. Photos courtesy of Good Hope Farm and the Town of Cary.