Wednesday, December 7, 2011

We Have Been Awarded a New Grant for Organic Broccoli Study!

This is Emily in our 2010 organic broccoli study in Waynesville
I am just beside myself with excitement!  My program has been awarded a new grant by the Organic Farming Research Foundation to conduct a project entitled "Participatory Screening of Broccoli Varieties for Organic Systems in Western North Carolina."  The two main objectives of this project will be 1)  to identify the best new and existing broccoli varieties adapted to the organic farms and markets in western North Carolina and 2) use participatory varietal selection to facilitate farmer involvement in choosing and evaluating the broccoli varieties.  Varieties will be trialed at the Mountain Organic Research and Extension Unit at the Mountain Research Station in Waynesville, NC.  We will be proceeding with our organic certification on that research land now.  We will be working closely with the New River Organic Growers up in the high country because of their extensive experience in growing organic broccoli. This study will dovetail with the broccoli research we are already doing at that station as part of the Eastern Broccoli Project.  I am especially excited about the timely of this project because Amy's Kitchen, who is starting a new plant in Greenville, SC, just announced that they want to buy lots of organic broccoli from this region!  Credit for this grant really goes to the research specialist in my program, Emily Bernstein.  She is the one who developed this idea and wrote the proposal.  Congratulations, Emily!

Monday, December 5, 2011

NC Craft Beverage Meeting: Hop Growing & Enzyme Use in Beverage Production


Commercial and aspiring brewers, winemakers, hop and grape growers, distillers, and anyone involved in fermented/craft beverage production are invited to the 2012 NC Craft Beverage Regional Exchange Group meeting series.

Join us January 12, 2012 at Catawba Valley Brewing Company, Morganton, NC for a combined presentation on hop production in North Carolina and enzyme use in commercial beverage fermentation. Speakers include NC State hop specialist Dr. Jeanine Davis, and David Maradyn, Staff Scientist in Brewing Solutions for enzyme professionals Novozymes.

Supported by the North Carolina Biotechnology Center and organized by Appalachian State University, the mission of this Regional Exchange Group (REG) is to foster collaboration among members of the growing and dynamic fermentation/craft beverage industries of North Carolina. Meetings feature speakers focused on fermentation technologies and scientific practices for use throughout the production process. 

Take the following link to register: http://nccraftbevjan2012.eventbrite.com
or contact Franya Hutchins (hutchinsfe@appstate.edu, 828-262-8158)
There is no fee for this meeting.



Agenda January 12, 2012 at Catawba Valley Brewing Company, Morganton, NC

Hop Production Introduction and Discussion 9am-12pm:


Topics covered include: establishing a hop yard, variety selection, growing, harvesting, drying, packaging, enterprise budgets, marketing, organic options, and scaling production. Presentation led by Dr. Jeanine Davis of NC State University. 

Enzyme Use in Craft Beverage Production 1:30-4:30pm:

1:30 - 2:00 Greeting and Introduction to the Craft Beverage REG
2:00 - 2:30 Incentivizing Craft Beverage Businesses in your Community- Alan Clark, Burke County Tourism Development Authority
2:30 - 4:30 Enzyme Use in Beverage Production- David Maradyn, Novozymes; additional speakers, open discussion of industry experiences, and question / answers.

4:30 Craft Beverage Reception, Catawba Valley Brewing Company Tasting Room (light snacks provided)


Mark your calendars January 12, 2012 for this opportunity connect with other industries/industry members, share experiences, concerns, and needs of these industries, and discuss some technical aspects of production that may benefit your business.

These meetings are intended to be casual and input from attendees is highly encouraged.


For more information see http://nccraftbevjan2012.eventbrite.com or contact Franya Hutchins, hutchinsfe@appstate.edu, 828-262-8158

Thanks to support from the Golden LEAF Foundation, the NC Biotechnology Center, and the Small Business Administration, the Appalachian State University Enology and Viticulture program will be holding 8 workshops in 2012 on science-based, practical production techniques for the craft beverage industries of North Carolina.

Topics to be covered include yeast management, enzyme use, NC grape harvest 2011, filtration, sensory evaluation, and lab techniques; meetings feature industry professionals as well as academic experts. Join us throughout 2012 for these exciting gatherings open to wine/grape, beer/hop, distillate, and other craft beverage producers!

See http://wine.appstate.edu/research/workshops for the schedule outline.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Hops in North Carolina and New York

My staff harvesting our hops in 2011 (first year planting!)

I just had to post links to a recent article about a North Carolina hops grower in Yadkin County and a video about hops growing in New York.  I am quite envious of the New York situation.  They now have a full-time hops extension specialist.  And check out the harvester!

December 2, 2011 article in the Winston-Salem Journal about Cedar Ridge Hops in Yadkin County, NC.

CNN Money video on New York hops industry.
Some of the hops we harvested in July

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Federal Financial Assistance Available for Building High Tunnels & Becoming Certified Organic


Here are two opportunities that I wanted to be sure you all knew about.  Especially with Amy's Kitchen (big organic food processing company; see previous blog post) moving into Greenville, SC and looking to purchase lots of locally grown, certified organic produce, these two federal initatives might be of interest to you:
                                                                                                     
USDA SEEKING APPLICATIONS IN NORTH CAROLINA FOR SEASONAL HIGH TUNNEL INITIATIVE

Raleigh, NC. (Nov. 21,2011) – Longer growing seasons, conserving natural resources and providing a greater supply  of locally grown food are all advantages for the farmers who participle in the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative.  The initiative is offered under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), and funding availability is to be available soon for eligible applicants.

Farmers can submit applications for the initiative at anytime throughout the year. However, NRCS will begin the application ranking process for the EQIP Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative on February 3, 2012 for possible funding. Applications are ranked based on greatest environmental benefit.  For an application to be considered for ranking all land and producer eligibility requirements must have been met.

The initiative will provide opportunities for farmers to establish seasonal high tunnel systems for crops and for numerous conservation practices that benefit natural resources. Applicants who apply for the national EQIP initiative can also apply for conservation practices under the state administered Farm Bill conservation programs.

The 2008 Farm Bill provides additional incentives for farmers, who are beginning, have limited resources, or who are socially disadvantaged. Such farmers can receive up to 90 percent of the costs associated with planning and implementing certain conservation practices and up to 30 percent of expected costs may be provided in advance.

Farmers should visit their local USDA Service Center today to apply for available funding for Farm Bill programs and initiatives; locations are listed on-line at http://offices.usda.gov or in the phone book under Federal Government, U.S. Department of Agriculture. General program information is available on the NRCS North Carolina website at www.nc.nrcs.usda.gov.  The USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.





Contact: Stuart Ashby Lee, Phone: 919.873.2107

*************************************
USDA SEEKING APPLICATIONS IN NORTH CAROLINA FOR ORGANIC INITIATIVE
Raleigh, NC. (Nov. 22, 2011) USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is seeking applications for a national initiative being offered in North Carolina. Administered under the 2008 Farm Bill’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the EQIP Organic Initiative helps certified organic producers and those transitioning to organic production meet their conservation goals. Technical and financial assistance will help producers plan and implement conservation practices to allow their organic operations to be environmentally sustainable.
Funding for the EQIP Organic Initiative will be available soon. Now is the time for certified organic producers and those transitioning to organic productions to work with their local USDA Service Center to establish eligibility and apply so that their applications can be considered when funds become available.
EQIP is primarily used to provide financial and technical assistance to implement conservation practices to address soil, water, air, plant, animal, and energy resources.  An organic provision targets organic producers and producers transitioning to organic production:
  • Assistance is for conservation practices related to organic production
  • Assistance is limited to $20,000 per year and $80,000 during a six year period
  • Producers are required to develop and carry out an Organic System Plan (OSP) or carry out practices consistent with an OSP
  • Producers must be pursing an organic certification or in compliance with their organic certification The initiative is available for farmers who are certified organic, transitioning to certified organic, or organic exempt according to USDA’s National Organic Program regulations. Farmers can submit applications for the initiative anytime throughout the year. However, NRCS will begin ranking eligible EQIP Organic Initiative applications on February 3, 2012 for possible funding.  Applications are ranked based on greatest environmental benefit.  For an application to be considered complete for ranking all land and producer eligibility requirements must have been met.  Applications that are not complete by the first ranking date will be deferred to the next ranking period, which is anticipated to occur on March 30 and June 1, 2012.
Under the EQIP Organic Initiative applicants can apply for numerous conservation practices that benefit natural resources including: experimenting with cover crops and crop rotations, installing intensive grazing infrastructure (grazing plans, internal fencing and water lines), establishing wildlife and pollinator friendly habitat, and installing seasonal high tunnels.  Applicants who apply for the national initiative can also apply for conservation practices under the general EQIP program.
Farmers should visit their local USDA Service Center today to apply for available funding for Farm Bill programs and initiatives; locations are listed on-line at http://offices.usda.gov or in the phone book under Federal Government, U.S. Department of Agriculture. General program information is available on the NRCS North Carolina website at www.nc.nrcs.usda.gov.  The USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.  Contact: Stuart Ashby Lee.  Phone:  919.873.2107.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Amy's Kitchen: Large Processor Wants to Buy from Local Producers

Amy's Kitchen Informational Meeting
Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center 
455 Research Drive
Mills River, NC 28759

Please join us Monday Nov. 28th from 9:00am - 11:00 am to meet with John Aselage, the Organic Purchasing Manager for Amy's Kitchen. Amy's Kitchen in the nation’s largest organic prepared food manufacturer and will be opening a facility in Greenville, SC. in the summer of 2012. They are very interested in sourcing local organic products to be used in the Greenville plant. John Aselage will discuss Amy's Kitchen's standards for production and processing and procedures for getting into their supply chain.  Here is a link to their website: http://www.amys.com/.

This event is for growers (organic, transitioning, or growers interested in organic), processors, researchers, crop consultants and those interested in organic food production in the region. Parking is available on site.

Please contact Karen McSwain if you have any questions.
828-423-2463

DIRECTIONS: From Interstate 26, take Exit #40 (the Asheville Regional Airport exit). At the top of the exit ramp turn toward the airport onto NC Hwy 280. Just past the end of the airport runway, the highway curves to the right. Turn right at the first road after the runway onto Old Fanning Bridge Road. After ~1 mile, cross the French Broad river, and ~1/2 mile later the MHCR&EC office building is on the right at the top of the hill.  A map and further location details are available at http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/fletcher/directions2.html.

 Meeting is hosted by:
Carolina Farm Stewardship Association
and
North Carolina Cooperative Extension

Monday, November 21, 2011

Is Availability of Organic Seed Important? Let Us Know What You Think


The Organic Seed Alliance (seedalliance.org) along with several local partners is assessing the organic seed system in the Southeast and identifying collaborative opportunities to expand and improve this system.  Obtaining feedback from stakeholders is vital to this assessment process.  Please take ten minutes to complete the questionnaire. Your responses are voluntary and will be held confidential.

 You can access the survey here:


 Thank you for your time and your commitment to building organic seed systems in the Southeast

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Please help spread the word about this unique conference that is coming up really soon in Asheville, NC.  It is the 21st annual SAMAB Conference, i.e., the Southern Appalachian Man and the Biosphere Conference.  I have never attended this conference before because it always seemed to be geared toward the Forest Service, timber issues, the effect of climate on the forest, etc.

Interesting, but not really the areas I'm working in.  This year the organizers asked me to be on the program committee and help them design a conference with an emphasis on special forest products, wild-harvesting issues, forest medicinals, etc.  Right up my alley!  So.

We have a great conference planned!  On Tuesday, Nov. 15th there will be a full afternoon panel and audience discussion on sustainable wild-harvesting.

Panel members include two well-known herb buyers, a botanist, an ethnobotanist, and yours truly.  On Wednesday and Thursday I will moderate sessions on Special Forest Products.  Issues covered will include cultivating medicinal herbs in the forest, mushroom growing and marketing, ramps, sustainable black cohosh harvesting, maple syrup production in the South, making money from kudzu, genetic variations in native goldenseal populations, what augmenting natural medicinal plant populations does, and more.

I'm excited about the conference, but we don't have a whole bunch of people signed up.  In some ways that it good, because those there will get a real intimate experience.  But I hate to think of all the folks who are going to contact me afterwards and say, hey, why didn't you tell me about this conference?

So, here's the link.  Look it over.  Note, the program has changed a little; most notably the conference will end at 4:00 on Thursday.  Spread the word, sign up yourself, and I hope to see you there.  Here's the link:   SAMAB Conference

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Medicinal Herb/Natural Products Training for Educators & Advisors-Nov. 3

Dr. Joe-Ann McCoy teaching native medicinal herb identification and voucher specimen preparation
This training session is not for those to want to grow, wild-harvest, or manufacturer medicinal herb/natural products themselves, but for those who educate, advise, and provide services for those who do.

Do you have clients who are interested in farming medicinal herbs, wild-harvesting herbs from their property for extra income, adding woodland botanicals to their forest management plan, or making medicinal herb products (tinctures, soaps, lotions, etc.)?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should attend this in-service training program we are offering on November 3rd near Asheville, NC. 

This training is designed for extension agents, NRCS personnel, marketing specialists, forest service employees, and community college instructors but will be useful to anyone who advises farmers, forest landowners, wanna-be herb growers, and new business start-ups in the natural products/medicinal herb arena.

This training is being offered as part of a large grant project entitled "The WNC Natural Products Project" funded by the GoldenLeaf Foundation and administered through AdvantageWest.  This project brings together a unique group of partners to help develop the natural products industry in western NC.  The partners include NC State, Western Carolina University, Bent Creek Institute, the Biobusiness Network at AB -Tech, Blue Ridge Food Ventures, and AdvantageWest.  Hopefully you've seen the promotional materials for the WNC Naturally Events we are offering (http://ncnaturalproducts.org) and have encouraged your growers and other clients interested in natural products to attend.  (Here's a little info on AdvantageWest and their involvement:  http://www.advantagegreen.org/clusters/natural-products/).

 This training session is designed to help you help your clients and growers.  You will learn:
1.            the trends in the industry in the region, nation, and world
2.            the efforts underway in western NC to grow this industry
3.            the rules and regulations affecting growers,wild-harvesters, and manufacturers
4.            the programs, services, people, and other resources available to help your clients
5.            who and where you can turn to for answers
6.            you will visit the Natural Products Testing Laboratory and the Natural Products Manufacturing Facility at the AB Tech Enka Campus
7.            you will network with other educators and share experiences
8.            other issues you identify as important will also be addressed

The training session will be offered Thursday, November 3, 2011 at the Haynes Conference Center at the AB-Tech Enka Campus in Candler, NC (near Asheville).  It will from 9 to 5 pm.  t will be an intense day.

This training is free and lunch will be served, but transportation and lodging (if needed) will be your responsibility.  We do not have funds to pay for that.

What do you need to do?

1.            Send Jeanine_Davis@ncsu.edu an email by Nov. 1 if you want to attend this training or if you have questions about it.  We have about 40 people signed up right now, but have room for a few more.

The lead teachers for this training will be:
1.            Jeanine Davis, Horticulture Specialist, NCSU, who has worked with medicinal herb growers and buyers for over 20 years, conducting research on how to grow and dry herbs, and providing extension materials on the topic through websites, blogs, etc.

2.            Joe-Ann McCoy, Director, Bent Creek Germplasm Repository who has extensive experience working with native medicinal herbs, building and maintaining germplasm collections, seed saving, identifying the plants, knowing their habitats, and preparing voucher specimens.

3.            Sarah Schober, natural products testing and production coordinator at the Natural Products Laboratory who knows the federal Good Manufacturing Practices inside and out, analyzes medicinal herb samples, and helps people develop their products.

4.            David Cozzo, ethnobotanist and project director for the Revitalization of the Traditional Cherokee Artisan Resources. He works out of the East Band of the Cherokee Indians Extension office.  He is experienced in wild-harvesting and the use and history of our native medicinal herbs.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Broccoli Project Winding Down for the Season

One of the later varieties

These heads are not as smooth as we would like
Preparing samples for nutritional analysis
The 2011 field component of the East Coast Broccoli Project is coming to a close.  It has been a busy season with establishing the field trials, learning how to gather the exact same information across all the other sites, and timing our activities.  But we think we did a good job of it; didn't miss any deadlines or lose any data!  We have been surprised at just how much interest this project has garnered.  We have received phone calls and emails from farmers across the state who are interested in growing broccoli.  Yesterday we met with a local packing house to discuss what it would take to be ready to "go big-time" in the region.  We quickly came to the conclusion that farmers need to spend a few years learning to grow the highest quality broccoli and delivering it exactly the way the wholesalers want it.  While they are learning, there should be many local markets (tailgates, restaurants, and local supermarkets) willing to buy what they produce.

So what are the quality factors the industry is looking for?
  1. A consistent product.
  2. Dark green color.
  3. Very small bead size.
  4. Highly domed heads.
  5. Very smooth heads.
  6. Heads about 4 inches by 4 inches in size.
  7. Long stems.
  8. Product must be quickly cooled.
  9. Iced product is preferred.
So, don't expect us to be moving tractor trailer loads of broccoli from western NC in 2012.  That is a little premature.  We still need to identify the best varieties to grow and learn how to produce the quality, consistency, and volume the industry requires.  But next year would be a great time to get started.  Line up some local markets first, please.  And we will be looking for a few growers to conduct variety trials with us, too.  We are gathering the particulars on that right now.



Friday, September 2, 2011

Growing the NC Broccoli Industry: Please Answer A Few Questions for Me!


NC is part of a multi-state project to develop an East Coast Broccoli industry (http://tinyurl.com/68qbpnu).  We have received tremendous interest from farmers across the state who have heard about the project and would like to grow broccoli on a large scale.  To assist them in their decision making, the Cornell economists on this project are creating budgets and projections for each state.  They need a few pieces of information that I don't have.  Would you please take a few minutes to try to answer these few questions. I don't expect you to do research or make a bunch of phone calls or anything; just give me the information you have in your head.  Answer what you can; leave the rest blank.  You can either answer in the comment section here, through Facebook, or send me an email at Jeanine_Davis@ncsu.eduThank you so very much. 

1. Do you grow broccoli commercially, i.e., to sell?

2. If yes, how much do you grow each year (in acres)?

3. Are you interested in growing broccolii commercially?

4. Is an average land rent figure of $63/acre accurate?  If not, please give a figure that seems right to you.

5. What is the average wholesale price that farmers are receiving for broccoli in your area?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Do You Raise Chickens? Practice Safe Handling to Avoid Transmitting Diseases to Humans

I raise chickens just like many of you, and wanted to pass on this reminder that we need to practice safe handling to prevent making ourselves, our children, or anyone else who visits our homes and farms sick.  There have been some recent outbreaks of human infections with Salmonella linked to handling of chicks and ducklings.  These outbreaks could be prevented, or at least lessened, if people practiced the safe-handling techniques outlined in the article below.  Enjoy your chickens, but do it safely.

Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Chicks and Ducklings

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Update on the NC Component of the East Coast Broccoli Project

This morning there was a nice piece on NPR's Morning Edition about the Virginia component of the East Coast Broccoli Project.  You can listen to it here: Eastern U.S. Farmers Hope to Break into Broccoli Biz.   (The North Carolina component got it's NPR exposure in December Growing a Broccoli Economy.)  So this morning I've been getting phone calls, emails, and tweets about how our western N.C. component of the project was going.  So here is a quick, mostly pictorial, update.
We grew a lot of pretty broccoli. This is our first planting that we planned for a mid-July harvest.

This photo was taken in mid-July and shows us evaluating color on a variety from the first planting.
Heads are measured in a variety of ways to find the perfect broccoli for today's consumers.
Samples are iced and brought in for further testing.
Samples are prepared for shipping to the University of Tennessee for nutritional analysis.
This is what our second planting looked like on August 3.
This planting is having a few production issues, such as this girdling/rot.
And we don't know if it is turkeys or crows that have taken to pecking on our white plastic mulch!
All in all, we think it is going real well.  There is good grower interest, too.

There will be a broccoli field day in the High Country next week.  You are all welcome to come out and visit a grower's field and here about our project, too.  Here is the information: High Country Broccoli Field Day on August 15.

This project is led by Thomas Bjorkman of Cornell University and is funded by a Specialty Crops Research and Extension Initiative grant from the USDA.  Broccoli Project webpage

Friday, August 5, 2011

What Does Our Research Hop Yard Look Like Now?

We are getting lots of inquiries about our research hop yard and how it is doing.  I don't have the time right now to give a full update, but here are recent pictures.
This group of pictures was taken on July 28, 2011.  This was our first harvest, so we were figuring out our methods as we went along.
The strings are slack because we lower the top wire to facilitate harvesting.
We harvest into small containers because these are research plots.  We have five plants of each of the ten varieties, but that is replicated four times (so we actually have 20 plants of each variety).
Just another shot to show how lowering the bines facilitates harvest.  You also get a good view of our major weed control method.
More harvesting.
This gives a good view of the number of cones on this particular variety (no, I don't know which one this was).
The first time we dried our hops we put them in bags in a forced air dryer at 100 degrees F.  That caused some browning.  The next time we laid them out in a single layer on the screens in my big herb dryer and that worked great.  The cones stayed almost as green as when they were fresh.
This was just a nice shot taken on July 6th.  This was three weeks before harvest.
We had a public hop yard tour on July 18th.  The morning was cold and wet, but 60-70 people turned out to learn and share.

Cost Share Funds Available for NC Organic Farmers


If you are a certified organic grower and haven’t applied for the NC Organic Certification Cost Share program, do so before September 30, 2011.  Growers that have been certified or recertified since September 30, 2010 are eligible for partial reimbursement (75% up to a maximum of $750) of the certification cost. 

The program is run through the NC Department of Agriculture and is funded through a grant from the US Department of Agriculture.  Funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

To apply, growers must fill out an authorization form that can be found online at www.ncdaorganic.org. The completed form, a copy of the farm’s certification, a copy of the receipts from the  certifying agency and an IRS W-9 form should be mailed to the NCDA&CS Division of Marketing, Attn. Heather Barnes, 1020 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1020. 

The deadline to apply is September 30, 2011.  If you have any questions please call me at 919-707-3127 or email me at heather.barnes@ncagr.gov.

This information provided by Heather Barnes, Marketing Specialist, NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services

Friday, July 29, 2011

Become a Friend of the NC Alternative Crops & Organics Program

Budget cuts are forcing us to get creative! If you think our program is valuable and would like us to continue to conduct research on medicinal herbs, organic agriculture, and new crops and to continue offering educational programs and online resources on these topics, please consider becoming a friend of our program by making a donation. Any amount would be helpful. We are requesting these funds to pay for the things that the grants won't usually cover. These are rather mundane, but so very important. Here are some examples: maintenance and parts for our two old pick-up trucks, general office supplies, refreshments to be served at educational programs, printer ink cartridges, long-distance phone charges, and internet charges. To make a donation, print this form, fill it out, and mail it in with a check made payable to the N.C. Agricultural Foundation. All donors will be listed as "Friends" here on my blog and on my websites unless you indicate otherwise. Thank you for your support.

When I first wrote this in July 2011 we were raising funds to pay for a 1997 Ford F-150 pick-up truck which we desperately needed.  My colleague agreed to let us have it if we could buy a camper cover for his other (much newer) truck.  The camper cover cost $1700.  Such a deal! 

UPDATE: As of May 2012, we have two Friends of our program. We were able to buy the camper so we have another pick-up truck in our program. Thank you!

UPDATE: As of January 2013 we have seven Friends of our program. Because of their generosity we were able to put two new tires and windshield wipers on our 1997 Ford pick-up truck, serve refreshments at several of our workshops, and purchase a subscription to a herbal publication we need for our studies. Thank you. I know this sounds like small stuff, but it makes a big difference in our program.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Do You Grow or Wild-Harvest Medicinal Herbs? Are You Looking for Local Suppliers of Medicinal Herbs?


  WNC Naturally Events
Do you wild-harvest or grow medicinal herbs?  Are you looking for a buyer?
Do you make products with medicinal herbs? Are you looking for local suppliers?
Are you a forest landowner looking to make some extra income from your land but don’t know which plants to harvest or how to do it sustainably?
Do you want to start cultivating medicinal herbs?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, register to attend one of three “WNC Naturally Events” being held in three convenient locations in western North Carolina.  These are inexpensive, participatory events with sessions led by people who have been involved in the natural products (medicinal herb) industry for many years.  They are all the same, so pick the one most convenient for you.
The first event is coming up real soon, so sign up now!  Here are the details:

Events:                 Three WNC Naturally Events
Dates and Locations:
1.  August 6, 2011, The Almond Center, Swain Community College, 60 Almond School Rd., Bryson City, NC 28713           

2.  August 27, 2011, Haynes Confernce Center, AB Tech Enka Campus, 1459 Sandhill Road, (Intersection of US 19/23 and Sandhill Road), Candler, NC 28715.  Directions: Driving directions from I-40 west bound or east bound: Take Exit 44. At the traffic light at the end of the exit ramp, turn right (south on 19/23). Go to the fourth traffic light and turn left on Sand Hill Road. Go to the second entrance on the left and turn into the campus. The Haynes Conference Center will be on your right

3.  October 22, 2011, Mill Spring Agricultural Center, 4 School Road, Mill Spring, NC 28756.  Directions:  From Asheville, take I-26E about 40 miles to Exit 67 toward NC-108/Columbus/Rutherfordton. Go about 1.7 miles and take Exit 163, NC-108 toward Columbus/Mill Spring. Turn left onto NC-108 and go about 3 miles. Turn left onto NC-9N.
Contact:               Alison Dressler, Alison_Dressler@ncsu.edu,
                              828-684-3562

The WNC Natural Products Project, the NC Natural Products Association, and the WNC Forest Products Project invite you to attend one of these events designed to strengthen the natural products industry in western NC.   Growers, wild-harvesters, manufacturers, buyers, and all who are interested in working with or in the natural products industry are invited to attend. These day-long events will consist of short introductory sessions followed by participatory break-out sessions where you choose which topics you want to learn more about. The topics that will be covered include plant identification, voucher preparation, sustainable harvesting techniques, GAPs, cultivation, washing and drying product, packaging, traceability, GMPs, product testing, value-added processing, selling to small local markets, selling wholesale, and business planning. Speakers include buyers, small manufacturers, university researchers, business experts, and more.  Price is $15 per event if you pre-register (up to two days before the event) and $20 at the door. Lunch and light snacks are included.  For more information, or if you would like to have a table to promote your business or organization at one or more of these or would like to sponsor these events, contact Alison at alison_dressler@ncsu.edu or 828-684-3562.  To register on-line, please visit our EventBrite site at: http://wncnaturallyevents.eventbrite.com/.

Speakers include (these may vary from location to location)
·         John Bonham, Mountain BizWorks
·         Annice Brown, Small Business Technology and Development Center
·         Daphne Carson, Mountain BizWorks
·         David Cozzo, Revitalization of Traditional Cherokee Artisan Resources
·         Jeanine Davis, Dept. of Horticultural Science, NC State University
·         Kara Errickson, CoCoChi
·         Ed Fletcher, Strategic Sourcing
·         Jackie Greenfield, VP Global Sourcing and Sustainability, Gaia Herbs, Inc.
·         Joe-Ann McCoy, Bent Creek Germplasm Repository, Bent Creek Institute, NC Arboretum
·         Chris Reedy, Blue Ridge Food Ventures
·         Jane Renfroe, Mountain BizWorks
·         Ceil Salvadori, President, New Sun
·         Sarah Schober, Natural Products Laboratory, Bionetwork, A-B Tech Community College
·         Lisa Ziperman, Golden Needle

This notice was provided by Jeanine Davis, Dept. of Horticultural Science, NC State University.  For more information on the projects and the NC Natural Products Association, please visit http://ncherb.org.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Vegetable Workshop on July 27, 2011 at the Mountain Research Station


Broccoli variety trial

The Mountain Research Station in Waynesville, NC will offer a Vegetable Workshop on July 27, 2011 from 1:30 to 5 pm.  This workshop is open to the public and will showcase a wide variety of field studies.  Highlights of the tour include the Organic Unit with studies on heirloom and heirloom-type hybrid tomatoes, cowpeas and pigeon peas, weed control barriers, and a cover crop demonstration.  The North Carolina site for the East Coast Broccoli Project features two plantings (early and late) of 36 varieties of broccoli.  The truffle demonstration orchard with filberts in their second season of growth, will also  be open for viewing (although not officially on the tour).  Additional studies on tomatoes, pumpkins, lettuce, and other vegetable crops will also be included.  Directions can be found at:   http://www.ncagr.gov/research/mrs.htm.  More information will be posted here as it becomes available.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Three Events for Growers, Wild-Harvesters, Manufacturers, and Buyers of Natural Products

Vicky Heatherly working in the Chinese medicinal herb test plots at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station in Mills River, NC

WNC Naturally-Three Events at Three Locations

August 6, 2011
Almond Center, 60 Almond School Rd., Bryson City, NC

August 27, 2011
Haynes Conference Center, A-B Tech Enka Campus, Enka, NC

October 22, 2011
Mill Spring Agricultural Development Center, 4 School Rd., Mill Spring, NC

All events are from 9 am to 4 pm.

The WNC Natural Products Project, the NC Natural Products Association, and the WNC Forest Products Project invite you to attend these events designed to strengthen the natural products industry in western NC. Growers, wild-harvesters, manufacturers, buyers, and all who are interested in working with or in the natural products industry are invited to attend. These day long events will consist of short introductory sessions followed by participatory break-out sessions where you choose which topics you want to learn more about. The topics that will be covered include plant identification, voucher preparation, sustainable harvesting techniques, GAPs, cultivation, washing and drying product, economics, enterprise budgets, packaging, traceability, GMPs, product testing, value-added processing, selling to small local markets, selling wholesale, and business planning. Speakers include buyers, small manufacturers, university researchers, business experts, and more. Price per event is $15 if you pre-register and $20 at the door. Lunch and light snacks are included. If you would like to have a table to promote your business or organization or would like to sponsor one of these events, we welcome you to contact Alison at alison_dressler@ncsu.edu. For more information and to register, please visit the Event Brite Website.  Since Google doesn't seem to like direct links to this site, please copy and paste this into your browser:  wncnaturallyevents.eventbrite.com 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Updated Announcement for Research Hop Yard Tour-July 16th


If you are a western NC hops grower, considering becoming a hops grower, a local brewer, or just interested in hops, we welcome you to visit our new research hop yard on Saturday, July 16th starting at 9:00 am. The hop yard is located on the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station in Mills River. Directions (http://www.ncagr.gov/research/MountainHortDirections.htm). When you get to the research station, turn onto Butler Farm Road which is on the opposite side of the road from the station (there will be signs). Follow that out to the hop yard.

The event will take place from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. We will show off the trellis system, explain where we got the poles, hardware, and plants, and tell you why we built it the way we did. There are ten varieties in production that you can study. The sister project in Raleigh will also be described. Cooperators on the project will explain issues related to growing hops in western NC, including diseases, insects, weeds, and marketing. Growers from the Eastern Hops Guild (http://www.easternhopsguild.blogspot.com/) will be present to share some of their experiences, too.

The event will take place rain or shine, so come prepared. There might be a nominal fee of $2 per person to offset the costs of putting on the event, so please bring a little cash. After the event, consider attending the 2nd Annual Hops Festival in Weaverville: http://www.echoviewfarm.com/content.php?s=what's_new.

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To reduce the possibility of spreading diseases or insects from hop yard to hop yard, please do not visit your hop yard right before coming to ours and clean your shoes and hands before entering yours after visiting ours.
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This project and event is made possible with funding from a USDA Specialty Crops Block Grant administered through the NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services.