Tickets Available for Chatham County Farm & Industry Tour

— Written By
Pepper crop at Screech Owl Greenhouses

Pepper crop at Screech Owl Greenhouses

The Chatham County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension cordially invites you to join us for our annual Chatham County Farm & Industry Tour on Tuesday October 1, 2013 from 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. For over 20 years the Chatham County Cooperative Extension team has led this popular tour to increase awareness of Chatham County agriculture, forestry, and industry.

Tickets cost $15 per person and include transportation, snacks and a local lunch. Tickets must be purchased in advance to reserve your spot and are available at the Cooperative Extension office in the County Agriculture Building located at 65 E. Chatham Street in Pittsboro. Checks should be made payable to Chatham County Cooperative Extension. The tour is limited to 85 people on a first pay-first served basis.

The Farm & Industry Tour is sponsored by the Chatham County Farm Bureau.

There are four stops for the tour:

Screech Owl Greenhouses: Screech Owl Greenhouses produces fresh, hydroponically-grown, pesticide-free produce and herbs all year at their operation in Pittsboro. Come and explore the ways in which grower Ralph “Screech” Sweger has altered and fine-tuned his greenhouses to grow cucumbers, peppers, lettuce, and tomatoes. The greenhouses are heated with used motor oil which Screech collects throughout the piedmont region. Visitors will learn how Screech and his employees manage insect problems through the use of beneficial insects and nematodes. Screech Owl Greenhouses sells through local farmers’ markets and to area restaurants.

Forestry: Johnny & Tommy Glosson Farms: Brothers Johnny and Tommy Glosson have spent their lives making a living in agriculture. Both have been involved in full time diversified farming operations over the years. Doing the right things the right way have always been a mantra to the brothers. As they have developed their forest land they have continued to grow this philosophy. At this stop we will visit the brothers’ individual farms; explore their forest management plans and how the brothers implement those plans to increase the sustainability of their farms for the next generation.

Vineyards at Southpoint: Owner and vintner Guy Loeffler planted 2,000 vines at Vineyards at Southpoint in 2009 as the first step to creating a sister winery to Horizon Cellars in Siler City. Loeffler produces a total of about 25 different wines, with country wines and fruity wines produced under the Horizon Cellars Brand and classic wines under the Vineyards at Southpoint brand. Their wines have won double gold, gold, silver, and bronze in regional commercial wine competitions. Vineyards offers wine tastings Thursday-Sunday from noon-6:00 p.m. and by special appointment. Both wineries are part of the Heart of North Carolina Wine Trail which highlights our area’s small wineries. Farm tour participants will learn about grape growing, barrel aging, bottling, and more.

Jean’s Berry Patch and Apex Nursery: Jean’s Berry Patch and Apex Nursery are part of the Copeland family farm and business. Apex Nursery was established in 1918 and is now in its third generation of management. Second generation proprietor Ron Copeland has been recognized for outstanding service by the North Carolina Association of Nurserymen (now the North Carolina Nursery and Landscape Association) and by the Southern Nursery Association. Jean’s Berry Patch was an offshoot of the nursery. Strawberry plants are propagated in nursery greenhouses and transplanted into the field every fall. In recent years the operation has added seasonal vegetables to their produce stands. Apex Nursery and Jean’s Berry Patch are North Carolina Farm Fresh farms and members of Goodness Grows in North Carolina.

Pick-up Locations:

  • Carolina Meadows: pick up 8:15 a.m., return 4:30 p.m.
  • Siler Crossing Shopping Center in Siler City (parking lot behind First National Bank): pick up 8:15 a.m., return 4:00 p.m.
  • County Agriculture Building in Pittsboro (front parking lot at 65 E. Chatham St.): pick up 8:45 a.m., return 4:00 p.m.
  • Gathering Place at Fearrington Village: pick up 8:30 a.m., return 4:30 p.m.

Wear comfortable, flat shoes. Be prepared to do a lot of walking.

For more information, call the Chatham County Cooperative Extension office at 919-542-8202.