Monday, September 9, 2013

Horticulture IPM Symposium

Must Attend Event

The third annual Horticulture Industry IPM Symposium is just two weeks away and we have a few more seats left.  These seats will go fast so get your reservation in soon in order to avoid missing the exciting program this year.  Yes there are pesticide credits for folk from both Carolinas as well as Tennessee so this is an extra drawing card.   The information alone is worth more than the price you will pay for the classes.  
For more information and to register click on the following link:

Come spend the day with us at the NC Arboretum; one of the area's most attractive places to attend a symposium!

Friday, September 6, 2013

GAPS Workshops in Henderson County

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Fresh Produce Good Agricultural Practices Workshop Series

North Carolina State University and North Carolina Cooperative Extension are partnering with the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA) to deliver workshops across the state with the aim of providing farmers with the tools to reduce food safety risks and meet market requirements.

This two-part Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) workshop series will address how farmers of all sizes can achieve USDA GAPs certification, deliver information on principles of
fresh produce safety and on-farm hazard assessment, as well as provide assistance with creating a fresh produce farm safety plan.

The first workshop, Principles of Fresh Produce Safety and Navigating the USDA GAP Audit, takes place in a farm environment and will be based on newly developed components focused on navigating a GAPs audit. This workshop will combine classroom and on-farm instruction to provide producers with the tools needed to identify potential food safety concerns as well as strategies to minimize contamination. Participants will receive a certificate of attendance that fulfills a portion of the eligibility requirements to receive up to $600 in GAPs Cost Share assistance from CFSA.

The second workshop, Fresh Produce Safety Program and Plan Development will provide direct assistance to producers in completing a fresh produce safety plan. Attendees will leave this session with a well-developed working draft of their specific food safety plan, which becomes the framework for an audit, and can be used to demonstrate individual farm risk-reduction steps. Completion of the first workshop is a prerequisite and basic computer knowledge is required in order to receive the maximum benefit from this session. Please bring a laptop with wireless internet capability.

Event Details - Henderson County
Principles of Fresh Produce Safety & Navigating the USDA GAP Audit
Thursday, October 10, 2013     8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Mountain Horticultural Crops Research & Extension Center
455 Research Drive, Mills River, NC 28759
To register, contact Kerrie Roach, 828-697-4891, by October 2, 2013.   

Fresh Produce Safety Program and Plan Development
Thursday, October 24, 2013   9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Mountain Horticultural Crops Research & Extension Center
455 Research Drive, Mills River, NC 28759
To register, contact Kerrie Roach, 828-697-4891, by October 16, 2013.  

Registration is $10 for the first workshop and an additional $10 for the second workshop. Lunch will be provided.

Portions of the first workshop will take place outside. Please wear comfortable walking shoes, bring a water bottle, and appropriate weather gear. The workshop will take place rain or shine. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Organic Broccoli Workshop

Organic Broccoli Workshop and Field Day in Waynesville

There is a lot of interest in growing broccoli, especially organic broccoli, in the Carolinas right now. Whole Foods, Ingles, Amy's Kitchen and other big buyers are asking for it. Growers at some farmers markets/tailgate markets reported a shortage of it this season. Here is an opportunity for your growers to see how some broccoli varieties performed in an organic system under very challenging conditions. They will also see the varieties being developed in the big Eastern Broccoli Project (not organic, but great looking material). We are doing this in cooperation with Carolina Farm Stewardship Association and they will hold a listening session at the end about the enterprise budgets they are creating for vegetable crops.

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

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!

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.

Monday, August 26, 2013

BioEnergy Field Day

Hello Vegetable and Small Fruit Grower
Here's an opportunity to learn about alternative crops that you may want to explore and some possible ways to produce some of the energy you use on your farm.:

Event:         Western North Carolina Bioenergy Field Day
Date:         September 4, 2013
Time:         12:30 Registration, 1:00-5:00 Educational Presentations and Demonstrations
Contact:      Ron Gehl, ron_gehl@ncsu.edu828-684-3562 x129

North Carolina State University and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services invite you to attend this event designed to provide a time for researchers to share the latest information of the work being conducted on energy crops in Western NC.  Tours of research plots and processing equipment demonstrations will help growers, researchers, and private industry interests learn how we are working to meet the state’s renewable fuels and energy goals of the future.  The afternoon event will cover topics including the science of cellulosic fuel production, production of energy grasses, cultural management of bioenergy crops, high-oil crops and biodiesel production, sorghum production for biofuels, breeding efforts  and genetic improvements of biomass crops. Speakers include NC State University researchers in Soil Science, Horticultural Science, Biological and Agricultural Engineering, and Forestry and Environmental Resources, and biofuel industry representatives.  Field demonstrations will include small-scale gasification, oilseed crushing and biodiesel production, and sorghum harvest, squeezing, and distillation.  The field day is free and open to the public.  For more information, please visit or contact Ron Gehl at of 828-684-3562 x129.

Friday, August 23, 2013

GAP Training Oportunities

Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA) and NC State University (NCSU)    are excited to announce the release of a new resource manual, Good Agricultural Practice for Small Diversified Farms: Tips and Strategies to Reduce Risk and Pass an Audit. This manual is based on research conducted in 2011-12 by CFSA in partnership with NCSU and NC Cooperative Extension faculty to determine the barriers that small-farm operators face in attaining food safety certification.

The manual shares tips and strategies that small diversified produce farmers can employ to meet GAPs certification requirements imposed by potential buyers. It will help you level the playing field when working with a GAPs auditor and give you the tools you need to show that you have an effective food safety program. To make the most of this document, it is best to have a copy of the USDA GAPs audit checklist at hand.

CFSA and NCSU are offering GAPs workshops this fall. This two-part series prepares producers for the audit process. Part 1 takes place on research farms and will be based on the GAPs audit manual. It combines classroom and on-farm components to provide farmers with the tools they need to identify potential food safety concerns and employ strategies to minimize contamination. Part 2 will take place in computer labs at local community colleges to provide direct assistance to producers completing their food safety plan.

Wayne Co.
Oct. 3 - CEFS Small Farms Unit
Oct. 17 - Mt. Olive CC
Contact Jessica Strickland:
See attached flyer

Henderson Co.
Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center
Oct. 10th and Oct 24th

Contact Kerrie Roach:

Davidson Co.
Oct. 29 - Salisbury/Piedmont Research Station
Nov. 12 - Davidson CC
Contact Amy-Lynn Albertson:
See attached flyer

Interested in becoming USDA GAPs certified, but unsure whether you have all your cantaloupes in a row? Take advantage of our one-on-one training opportunity to have a mock audit conducted on your farm.  We'll identify potential risks and provide an assessment of your practices in relation to the GAPs certification matrix.

Contact: Karen McSwain,

Stuck paying the bill for the USDA GAPs audit you've already passed?
Take advantage of our cost share program and get CASH back!  CFSA farm members who received USDA GAPs certification in 2013 and attended a CFSA GAPs audit training in 2012 or 2013 qualify for cost share assistance covering 75% of an individual’s certification costs, up to a maximum of $600.

Contact: Karen McSwain,

Medicinal Plant Growers Workshop

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
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 NaturallyTM branding 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

Monday, August 19, 2013

NCDA&CS Food Safety Forum


We are one week away from the 9th Annual Commissioner’s Food Safety Forum and there is still time to register and be a part of this important food safety event!   The forum is open to farmers, food businesses, regulators, health professionals and others with an interest in food safety.  Admission is free and includes lunch.

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler will host the event from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on August 27th in the Expo Center at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, NC. 

“The Food and Drug Administration is proposing sweeping reform of food safety regulation in the United States,” Troxler said. “The forum will focus on the proposals from the perspective of the federal government, retailers and farmers. Anyone interested in food safety is encouraged to attend and learn about these issues affecting food safety at all levels of the supply chain.”

To reserve a seat at the forum, please register at by August 21.    If you have any questions, please contact Chrissy Waggett at 919-707-3008 or

We look forward to seeing you in Raleigh next week!