Winterizing Rowan County Farms
Winterizing by definition means to prepare to withstand cold weather. We certainly have hit cold weather here in Rowan County and it made me think about the local farms and how they prepare for winter.
I reached out to a couple of the farms here and it was interesting to me to see what’s happening during the winter months.
Patterson Farm Market & Tours, Inc.
Michelle Patterson gave me information on what they do on their farm for winter. We first discussed how 2020 had really been a challenging year for everyone. She said, “After so many years you think you’ve fine tuned things and we were thrown a curve ball with Covid-19.” I shared with her that I knew they had done a lot to make sure they were able to continue to offer the freshest and tastiest vegetables and fruits during the year. My daughter in-law, Kim, even had mentioned to me how easy it had been to order strawberries this past season. She told me, “You place your order and then drive up and they put them in your trunk!” It really can’t get easier than that! Great service is always remembered!
Speaking of strawberries, I asked Michelle what they do during the winter months for those fields we love to stroll and pick berries in. “The strawberries are planted” … all 70 acres! That’s a lot of strawberries! She then told me they water the plants and “cover them in Reemay”. Ummm… excuse me, but what? Reemay is a material used to cover the plants to help them survive the cold months. A blanket if you will, that will keep them warm and act like a greenhouse. Now I have seen plants covered before in fields, but I never knew the name of the covering. Reemay is a woven clothlike material that allows light in and keeps the bugs out. It also allows rain to still get into the soil while preventing frost and freezing weather damage to plants. I have added a new word to my vocabulary today!
Once the weather warms in the spring, usually around March, they open the Reemay and then have to keep an eye on the plants for a late frost which we often see here in this part of North Carolina.
At the time we chatted they had poinsettias in their greenhouse for sale. Their greenhouse stays open until right before Christmas. They have to watch the greenhouse during the winter months as well to be sure they maintain the proper temperature. If it snows then they have to go out and remove the snow from the building to prevent the building from collapsing under the weight of the snowfall. Looking ahead in February they will start seeding the tomatoes. Patterson always has a lot of tomatoes and is the largest grower of them in the state of North Carolina.
Something exciting Michelle shared with me is that they will be renovating their market store in 2021. While the renovations are going on, they will still be taking orders online for groceries and goods they have available such as vegetables and fresh eggs. I can’t wait to visit and see the changes when they are finished.
Red Barn Market/Correll Farms
I was able to catch David Correll while he was out Christmas shopping. I’m sure his beautiful wife enjoyed what he had in mind! I was able to grab him long enough to get a winter update on his farm.
David shared with me that he currently has onions and garlic in the ground that should be ready in mid-April. He also told me that for the first time “I’m growing strawberries” on about a 1/10 of an acre. He purchased cuttings from Cashiers which is located in the local North Carolina mountains.
As for the winter time, David said they watch the greenhouses to make sure the temperatures are where they need to be and “fixing everything they tore up all summer”! He also said they winterize equipment such as their sprayers that are used for irrigation.
The garlic and spring onions will be ready just in time for the Salisbury/Rowan Farmer’s Market to reopen in the middle of April. I inquired about how the Farmer’s Market did this year and David said “we did very well!” Even with all the Covid-19 restrictions they were able to keep the market going strong. The new location really has been successful and having a permanent home always helps.
Another exciting thing for The Red Barn/Correll Farms is their 2020 Old Fashioned Home Delivery Program (OFHD)! David said this program has “doubled since 2019!” This delivery runs for 15 weeks and David is getting ready for 2021. He mentioned his seed catalogs were in and for him it’s like the Sears Wish Book was for me growing up! They delivered to a lot of returning customers as well as new customers. Some of these customers couldn’t get out due to medical situations and others just enjoyed having fresh food delivered to their doors! Be sure to check out this convenient food delivery as they start their 8th year of bringing fresh vegetables and recipes to your door!
On another note, Correll Farms lost a longtime friend and employee, Pedro. He had worked on the farm for 30 years and lost his life due to liver cancer in the middle of October. David said “What people don’t realize is that the workers here are our family and we care about each of them.” Pedro will be missed on the farm by his family and friends as they embark on the 2021 growing season.
Winterizing the farms is what brings us the fruits and vegetables that we all love. Thank you to all of the farmers in Rowan County for providing us the “fruits of their labor” by keeping them nice and warm during the winter months.
Support these local Rowan County farms!
Patterson Farm Market & Tours, Inc. is located at 10390 Caldwell Rd, Mt. Ulla, NC.