- Vegetables: greens (leafy), greens (lettuces)
- Crop Production: high tunnels or hoop houses, low tunnels
- Farm Business Management: marketing management
In order for the local food movement to thrive in Western North Carolina, shoppers need to be able to purchase local produce year round from direct market venues such as producer only farmers markets. Currently, there is a four-month interruption in the connection between market farmers and market customers. Farmers and markets experience attrition in customers as a result of this interruption. Winter markets have been established by organizations such as ASAP and the YMCA to address this problem. Unfortunately participation from produce farmers is sporadic at best and product selections are limited to a few storage crops. We believe that adequate trials of season extension mechanisms specific to the climate of the Southern Appalachian Mountains can help to eliminate the gap of fresh produce available at our community markets. Growers need to learn what crops and varieties respond best to the specific climate of our mountain region. Through our SARE grant, we trialled three season extension mechanisms on three in-demand market greens-spinach, lettuce mix, and braising mix.
Project objectives from proposal:
With support from SARE, we were able to quantify the cost/benefit return per bed foot of each season extension mechanism we trialed on each of the three greens. Results for the project will be measured in by the yield per plot. Yields harvests will be done every two weeks once the crop is at a harvestable stage. Plots yields will be weighed pre-washed to determine the harvest weight to the 100th/pound. We hope to gain empirical data that will help inform and shape the planning, sowing, and harvesting techniques of salad greens during the fall, winter, and early spring growing season.