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Farm Photo: Farm Show and Tell at Piedmont Biofarm

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February 18, 2009

Photos by Debbie Roos, Agricultural Extension Agent.

Doug Jones operates Piedmont Biofarm where they produce a diverse mix of vegetables and herbs out at the Piedmont Biofuels Industrial Plant in Pittsboro. Doug and his farm crew sell at the Durham Farmers’ Market and also to the local community through a community supported agriculture (CSA) program.

Doug has been farming for 38 years and has developed quite the reputation not only for his high quality produce but also for his plant breeding efforts. One of Doug’s new varieties of Senposai (Asian collards) is now available through Fedco Seeds in Maine – isn’t that exciting? Doug also enjoys doing variety trials for Seeds of Change to discover what works best for our climate.

More and more local farmers’ markets are now open year-round, and there are many other marketing opportunities for winter production of vegetables – CSA, restaurants, and wholesale. Not many farms are producing winter vegetables. The February 18 “show and tell” focused on Piedmont Biofarm’s winter production of various crops and the season extension techniques used by Doug and the farm staff. About 40 people turned out in the cold intermittent rain and spent two hours visiting several different fields.

Visitors saw root crops (carrots, beets, radishes, turnips, and rutabagas), salad crops (baby lettuce, mild and spicy mustard, baby chard, spinach, etc.), cooking greens (Swiss chard, Senposai, kale, mustard, etc.), plus leeks, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, head lettuce, and herbs. The farm staff uses row covers and low (plastic) tunnels to provide season extension.

farm show and tell

Doug talks about his beet production and explains how he uses hoop-supported row covers to extend the season.

field shot

The row covers are often removed during the day if the temperatures are warm enough.

farm show and tell

This has been a very tough winter for everyone, starting with such a cold fall, but everyone was impressed with what Doug was able to produce. Here he discusses spinach production. The trellises were for last year’s tomatoes.

garlic field

A field of garlic.

Doug in greenhouse

Doug discussed his transplant production. Doug was so generous in sharing his decades of experience with visitors, and everyone went home with new techniques and new varieties to try.

group in greenhouse

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