I visited In Good Heart Farm outside Pittsboro in mid-May and again in mid-July. Ben Shields and Patricia Parker started their farm in Clayton, NC in 2010 then moved to Chatham County in 2016 to farm the land once known as Ayrshire Farm after farmer Bill Dow passed away in 2012. Ayrshire Farm was North Carolina’s first certified organic farm. Bill built a lasting legacy and everyone was thrilled when In Good Heart Farm moved here to farm the soil that Bill worked so hard to improve over the years.
Ben and the crew grow over 100 different crops year-round on about five acres total using organic practices. Crops include vegetables, flowers, herbs, small fruits, and tree fruits. They market through farmers’ markets, to restaurants, and also offer Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares. They also regularly donate produce to Robin Hood’s Kitchen and CORA Food Pantry to serve families in need. Visit the farm website for more details.
You can find In Good Heart Farm at the Fearrington Farmers’ Market (Tuesdays from 4-6 p.m.) and the Pittsboro Farmers’ Market (Thursdays from 3-6 p.m.). Follow them on Facebook and Instagram.
The In Good Heart Farm family: Ben Shields, Patricia Parker, and kids Elliott and Abilene. Photo by Debbie Roos.
Spring crops in mid-May. Photo by Debbie Roos.
Lower field in mid-May. The silage tarp is used to help kill weeds and break down crop debris until time to plant again. Photo by Debbie Roos.
The row cover helps exclude insect pests. The flowers of bolted crops provide forage for bees. Photo by Debbie Roos.
On the left is a bed of milky oats and purple-stem wheat in mid-May. Photo by Debbie Roos.
Potato crop in mid-May. Photo by Debbie Roos.
Ben checking out the seedlings in the greenhouse. Photo by Debbie Roos.
Nikki and Jim plant perennial herbs in mid-May. Photo by Debbie Roos.
Mid-July shot of the perennial herb garden. Photo by Debbie Roos.
Cherry tomatoes in the high tunnel in mid-July. Ben has tomatoes in three different tunnels! Photo by Debbie Roos.
Gorgeous ripe tomatoes. Photo by Debbie Roos.
Pepper field in mid-July. Photo by Debbie Roos.
Flowers like these two varieties of Celosia are cut for bouquets and also provide forage for pollinators. Photo by Debbie Roos.
Sunflower row. Photo by Debbie Roos.
Another tunnel with tomatoes and turmeric. Photo by Debbie Roos.
Sweetpotato field in mid-July with bee hives in the distance. I always look forward to his sweetpotato greens (yummy!). Photo by Debbie Roos.
Ben and Jim harvest celery in mid-July to take to the Fearrington Farmers’ Market that afternoon. Photo by Debbie Roos.
Nothing better than freshly cut, fragrant, and flavorful celery! Photo by Debbie Roos.
Ben harvests blueberries in mid-July. They also grow blackberries, pears, and apples. Photo by Debbie Roos.
Ben at the Fearrington Farmers’ Market. Photo by Debbie Roos.
Chatham County heirloom apple ‘Aunt Rachel’ with blueberries and tomatoes at the Fearrington Farmers’ market in mid-July. Photo by Debbie Roos.