Friday, September 13, 2013

Pat Battle Speaking at Organic Broccoli Workshop-Sept. 17-Sign Up Now!

Our local Master Organic Farmer, Pat Battle, will be the main speaker at our second Organic Broccoli Workshop. Join us for a half-day devoted to broccoli. Complete with broccoli taste test and time in the field evaluating side shoot production in a participatory organic broccoli study.  Register now so we can have a lunch ready and waiting for you!

Event: Organic Broccoli Workshop and Field Day
Date:  September 17, 2013
Time:  10:00 am to 4:00 pm (bonus listening session runs till 5:00)
Location:   Mountain Research Station, 265 Test Farm Road,  Waynesville, NC 28786-4016.  A map with directions can be found at
Cost: $15

Are you interested in growing organic broccoli? Designed for the commercial grower, this workshop will also be of interest to the serious home gardener. We will start the morning with an organic broccoli taste test followed by presentations on the results from our participatory organic broccoli project, renowned organic grower, Pat Battle's perspective on growing organic broccoli, and the organic broccoli market situation. 

After a catered lunch, we will head out to the field to rate the side shoot production on our organic broccoli trial (this is the participatory part), followed by a visit to the large Eastern Broccoli Project field trials where new breeding lines are being tested. The latter is not an organic trial, but the new varieties should be of interest to everyone. Then we will return to the building for a moderated discussion on issues related to organic broccoli production, such as how to control harlequin bugs! The workshop will end at 4:00 pm, but Carolina Farm Stewardship Association is hosting a special focus group session afterward to get some feedback from growers on their new organic enterprise budgets (see below).

Pre-registration is required and should be done online through the CFSA online store at the following link: 

First-time registrants in this system simply create a guest user name and password by clicking the “New Visitor Registration” link when prompted to login.

 You are welcome to show up the day of the event without pre-registration, but we might not have a lunch for pre-registration is highly recommended!

The Organic Broccoli Project is led by Dr. Jeanine Davis with NC State University and funded by the Organic Farming Research Foundation. This workshop is being done in cooperation with Carolina Farm Stewardship Association.

Carolina Farm Stewardship Association is developing enterprise budgets for organic vegetable commodity crops. Crops include 1) Broccoli, 2) Summer Squash, 3) Tomatoes, 4) Cabbage, 5) Watermelon, 6) Irish Potatoes, 7) Sweet Potatoes, 8) Greens, 9) Leaf Lettuce, 10) Cucumbers
If you grow any of these crops and can assist by reviewing drafts of a few budgets, we will be holding a focus group meeting at the end of each workshop in order to get feedback from farmers.  Please contact CFSA's Farm Services Director, Karen McSwain, ( / cell: 828-423-2463) so that she can send you drafts of the budgets you are interested in reviewing prior to the workshop.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

UPS Medicinal Plant Conservation 2012 Award Jeanine Davis

I feel deeply honored to have been presented with this award from United Plant Savers. What a wonderful organization doing such important work.

From the United Plant Savers Journal of Medicinal Plant Conservation, Spring 2013 Edition:

"United Plant Savers is happy to announce that Jeanine Davis is the 2013 Medicinal Plant Conservation Award Recipient. Jeanine is a whiz at getting small farmers into specialty crops including medicinal plants. Her influence over the last two decades in North Carolina is legendary; just take a look at her amazing website: for resources for small organic farmers and how to grow guides for black cohosh (Actaea racemosa), bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), Echinacea (Echinacea spp.), false unicorn (Chamaelirium luteum), goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis), and more to come. Jeanine is a big supporter of UpS, has taught at Planting the Future Events and recently helped coordinate the Ginseng Expo this past December."

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Do You Grow Medicinal Herbs? Rare Opportunity to Meet With Big Buyers!

I receive hundreds of contacts every year from people who are growing, or want to grow, medicinal herbs. The number one question is "How do I find a buyer?" Well, here is a rare opportunity for you to meet with a variety of IMPORTANT buyers in our region. These will include raw botanicals suppliers, manufacturers (large and small), and a nursery. Strategic Sourcing, Botanics Trading, Gardens of the Blue Ridge, Skinfare, and Red Moon Herbs will be there. We understand that Gaia Herbs and Botanical Supply will probably also have representatives present.

If you are growing or want to grow medicinal herbs on a commercial scale, please make every effort to attend this event. This won't happen again anytime soon. It is happening now because these buyers are LOOKING FOR LOCALLY GROWN MEDICINAL HERBS!!  Right now.

So, register today. The event is only one week away.  Hope to see you there!

What: Blue Ridge Naturally Workshop: Connecting Medicinal Plant Growers with Buyers
When: September 14, 2013, 10 AM to 4 PM

Where: AB Tech Enka Campus, Haynes Conference Center, Room 200 , 1459 Sand Hill Rd. Candler, NC 28715

Cost: $20 in advance; $25 at the door. Includes lunch catered by Gypsy Queen

On-line Registration: or contact Alison Dressler via email or at 828-684-3562 x 150.


Natural products manufacturers are looking for medicinal herb growers and local medicinal herb growers are looking for buyers. But how do they find each other? This event will help connect current and potential medicinal plant growers with manufacturers and raw material buyers for the natural products industry in North Carolina. It will feature panels of four new and experienced medicinal herb growers and four natural products buyers/manufacturers to discuss their unique experiences, challenges, goals, and needs as it relates to natural products and raw materials. There will be ample time for networking between growers and buyers. If you are a grower, please bring a list of what you are growing, including quantities and what form you can supply them in (fresh or dried). If you are a medicinal plant buyer, please bring a list of what raw materials you want to source locally and in what quantity and form you need them.

We will also discuss the new Blue Ridge NaturallyTMbranding effort, created to raise the awareness of the superiority of botanical raw materials and quality natural products (personal care, pet care, cleaning, tinctures and supplements, functional food and beverages) from the Blue Ridge Mountains region of North Carolina.

If you are interested in becoming involved in the natural products industry in Western North Carolina, this event is not to be missed! While the event will focus on medicinal plant cultivation, wild-harvesters are welcome and encouraged to attend.

If you would like to set-up a product or informational table for $10, please contact Alison Dressler via email or at 828-684-3562 x 150.
This event is made possible by a grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation. Project partners include AdvantageWest, Bent Creek Institute, BioNetwork, Blue Ridge Food Ventures, NC Natural Products Association, NC State University, SBTDC, and US Botanical Safety Laboratory