Bracken Brae Farm occupies a vast open, flat space in Mebane. When we visited in 2007, owners Claude Hughes and Linda Sakiewicz told us that the farmland had once been a grass airstrip; after it became a farm, they often saw planes circling the field, looking to land! For decades, Claude and Linda raised sheep; in 2004, they shifted their focus to herbs and eggs.
The herb garden began as a series of raised beds. By 2014, this had expanded to include rows of herbs in a large fenced area with mulch walkways as well as a high tunnel. All the herbs are grown organically with no pesticides or synthetic fertilizer. The compost for the garden is made on the farm from vegetable matter, wood chips, and chicken manure.
The chickens roam the pastures freely. They feed themselves primarily on what they find in the grass. There are several flocks; Linda even keeps a pasture for the “retired” chickens, whom she feeds even after they have stopped laying eggs. The airy coops and access to pasture with lots of sun keeps the flocks healthy. Linda does not force laying with artificial light, so the number of eggs drops off in the winter.
We carry Bracken Brae Herbs in season. We stock their eggs in our Hillsborough and Southern Village stores, where they fly off the shelves soon after delivery.