Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Apply Now for a Summer Position in My Program!

 Skinning locust poles for building a research hop yard
 Planting the broccoli breeding line evaluation study
Doing the "hoeing treatment" in the organic weed control study

****UPDATE-We are no longer accepting applications for this position*****
We are looking to hire an individual to join our team for this growing season.  Here are the details: 

This position is located at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Mills River, NC. That is about 20 miles south of Asheville and 250 miles west of Raleigh.  The position will report to Dr. Jeanine Davis; see for more information on her program. This position will supply general field and office support to a number of projects.  Most of the time will be spent in the field working with medicinal herbs, broccoli, hops, peppers, and tomatoes. Tasks will include weeding, pruning, training, harvesting, and grading. Both organic and conventional crops will be included.  This position is a temporary growing season position that will run from approximately April through October.
Work Schedule – Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm
Minimum Experience/Education - Must have a high-school degree (or equivalent) and two years relevant experience.  Must have experience with Word, Excel, and basic computer photo management.
Preferred Years Experience, Skills, Training, Education: Some experience working on a commercial farm, assisting with field research, and knowledge of medicinal and native plants would be very useful. The ability and desire to work hard outdoors for long periods of time in all kinds of weather is needed.  Individual must be detail oriented for reliable data collection.  Individual should be comfortable talking with people at field days and grower meetings.  Good photography skills are a plus. Individual will be expected to drive a full-size state pickup truck with manual transmission.   Some use of a personal vehicle will be expected, with reimbursement for mileage. Office duties will include electronic filing of photographs, entering data into Excel spreadsheets, preparing materials for displays and meetings, ordering supplies, and interacting with cooperators via phone and email.  Must have a good driving record. Must be a self-starter, be able to make independent decisions, work as part of a team, and be very efficient.

$10-$12.50/hr based on experience
To apply for this position, go to and apply for position number 11AS062.

AA/EEO. In addition, NC State welcomes all persons without regard to sexual orientation. Effective April 1, 2007 final candidates for employment will be subject to criminal and sex offender background checks. Some vacancies will also require credit or motor vehicle checks. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Register Now: Hops Growing and Fermentation Meeting in Asheville

Register now for the April 19, 2012 NC Craft Beverage Regional Exchange Group meeting, held at Highland Brewing Company, Asheville, NC. 

This will be a combined meeting for hop growers and beverage producers focusing on managing fermentations
from a very applied and practical standpoint. Discussions will include basic yeast and microbial activities, propagation considerations, nutritional demands, fermentation kinetics, and quality aspects associated with such processes (e.g. sensory implications, attenuating ethanol output, minimizing time input). Everyone likes a clean and trouble-free ferment! 

This will include a blind tasting of beers brewed with local, NC-grown hops to compare against beers brewed with the same varieties of hops grown in the Pacific Northwest.  Your participation and input is highly valued at this meeting!

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. 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.

Follow this link for more information and registration.

The meeting and presentations will run Thursday, April 19th from 12:30 to 5pm at Highland Brewing Company. There are no fees for this REG meeting.

Speakers and Topics for April 19, 2012

Hop growing resources and open discussion 12:30-2pm

Dr Jeanine Davis is co-leader of the North Carolina Hops Project through NC State University, led the NC Specialty Crops Program for eight years, and is closely involved with the hops effort in the mountains. She will lead a discussion on hops in NC as a continuation of our previous meeting. We encourage all hop growers, current or future, to get in on this discussion and make sure that the needs, concerns, and values of the hop-growing community are brought to the table. Stick around and compare several single-hop beers sourced from NC versus the PNW.

Managing Fermentations 2-5:00pm (Blind tasting and discussion at end of this session)

Dr. Eric Allain, a biochemist at Appalachian State University, brewing instructor and brewing enthusiast, will discuss the basic mechanisms behind bacteria and yeast activity with a focus on applications and tangents for grain-based ferments.

Michael Jones, a Fermentation Specialist for Scott Laboratories, has spent decades in the wine business, and is an engaging, practical, and informative presenter. He will lead a discussion on caring for your microbes to ensure successful fermentations and common causes and recommendations for stuck or troublesome ferments.

Dr Seth Cohen, director of ASU Enology / Fermentation Science, will moderate the event and contribute to discussions on managing fermentations.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Lowes Foods & MDI looking for growers in our region

The NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Marketing Division is hosting Grower Information Sessions with personnel from Lowes Foods supermarkets and MDI food distributors.  These meetings are for growers who are interested in selling to these large, wholesale markets.  These meetings will address what you need to be able to sell to them, e.g., insurance and GAP certification.  In addition, a marketing specialist will give a presentation on how to become GAP certified.  Lunch will be provided.  This is free, but you do have to pre-register.  There are two meetings left in this series:
  • March 28 in Winston-Salem:  BB&T Ballpark, Womble Carlyle Room, 951 Ballpark Way, Winston Salem, NC 27101
  • April 11 in Asheville/Hendersonville: Western NC Ag Center, 1301 Fanning Bridge Road, Fletcher, NC 28732.
To make a reservation, call or email Randy Maness at 919-707-3133 or or G.W. Stanley at 919-707-3148 or

Friday, March 2, 2012

The 19th Organic Growers School is this weekend!

Okay, it's almost here.  The event that says "spring" to me more than any other.  I'm talking about the Organic Growers School Spring Conference which will be held this weekend, March 3 and 4, at the UNC-Asheville campus.  If you have never attended before, do yourself a favor and plan to come out this year, but come on Sunday because Saturday is going to be packed.  We have an overflow attendance pre-registered already AND there are going to be big basketball games on campus (Southern Conference games).

So why do I think everyone should attend this event?  Because based on all the phone calls, emails, Facebook messages, and Tweets I get, you all want to grow your own food, make your own medicine, generate your own power, build your own house, keep your own bees, pickle your own pickles, and make your own cheese.  And this is just the place to learn how to do all of that.  And best of all, most of the classes are taught by folks who actually are doing what they will teach you about.  Yes, there a few university professors thrown in there, but even many of them "walk the talk".

So check out the website at Organic Growers School and I will see you at registration (I'll be taking the credit card payments).