Joy Turner has worked with some of the most lauded chefs in Charlotte. She now carries double titles of Catering Director and Head Catering Chef at Project 658. But ask her what she does for a living, Turner’s first response is “the farmer’s wife.”
Carolina Farm Trust is hosting a four-course fundraising dinner at Dogwood Southern Table in the Southpark area of Charlotte and Bar to benefit PCG Member Dan Kypena and his Middle Ground Farm.
On a small road off Route 160, the greenhouses of Tega Hills Farm huddle amidst orange construction barrels and the onslaught of a new housing development across the street. Here Mindy Robinson shows off a few of the nine varieties of lettuce upon which she and husband Mark have built a reputation.
Cheese changed Randy Fisher’s business. While he grew up on Cackleberry Farm, overflown by incoming flights to the Concord Airport, he went out and saw the world before settling back down to the family trade. He estimates he is the 8th generation of farming Fishers in the area, having inherited the place from his father.
Twelve years ago, Mary Roberts was living the American dream. She had a well-paying corporate job, a home in the country and a new man in her life. Then, like many Americans in the past decade, she saw that dream life suddenly turned upside-down. Roberts was fortunate to quickly find her feet again, only this time they were planted firmly in the soil … at her Windcrest Farm.
Elizabeth Anne Dover was a student at Davidson College, studying towards becoming a diplomat. Instead, she got Carolina clay on her hands. “I saw this PBS special on vineyards, and that they were the new and coming thing,” she says today. “I like challenges, and it sounded like my sort of lifestyle. I love being outside. I love living with nature.”
Let’s get one thing clear: being a farmer was not Dani Rowland’s dream. She grew up a South Charlotte suburban girl with parents hailing from New York City. Flash forward to March 2016, as the slight, energetic Rowland leaves her last remaining hourly job to devote herself full-time to the success of Rowland’s Row Farm in Cabarrus County.
It all stemmed from an argument over a sunroom. 2010 found Kate and Marc Brun’s real-estate and construction careers hammered during the financial downturn. Looking for ways to save, Marc suggested removing what he saw as an underused and wasteful room at the back of the house. Wanting to keep her sunlit space, Kate suggested she could use it as a greenhouse. “Prove it,” came the response …
Growing up in Rowan County, farmer Lee Menius was surrounded by his family’s agricultural past. The 50 acres he still calls home have been handed from one generation to the next since at least 1870. Yet as a young man choosing a future path, farming was not on his radar.