Megan and Keith Marshall are farming on peaceful land in Cedar Grove. The couple met in the Peace Corps in Paraguay, where they served as an Agricultural Extension Agent (Keith) and an Agroforestry Extension Agent (Megan). In 2011, they returned to the eastern United States and farmed in Virginia, Indiana, and Maryland before setting in North Carolina, where they plan to put down roots. They rent about eighty acres, ten of which are cleared for farming.
The Marshalls learned from a neighbor that the land used to be a tobacco farm and a peach orchard; they occasionally find peach pits in the fields. They were able to gain organic certification because the land had been fallow, with nothing sprayed, for so many years. They used a hand-tiller to create their first fields, until they could acquire a tractor. Now fields of neat rows fill every patch of land, planted with rows of kale, onions, and other greens and vegetables, or with cover crops, which naturally renew the soil’s nutrients. The Marshalls add compost and all-natural fertilizers like fish fertilizer. They cover plants to keep pests off and will hand-pick insect pests off plants to avoid spraying. When they do have to spray (with organic-approved sprays), they do in in the early evening to minimize any impact the spray might have on their honeybees.
Megan and Keith are on the farm full time. In 2015 they hired a summer intern for two days a week, but otherwise they do everything themselves: clearing fields, laying down row covers and planting seeds and transplants, building new hoophouses, and, when necessary, picking off pests. They also harvest several times a week to deliver produce to our stores and to attend farmers’ markets.
The couple has planted some fruit bushes and trees but plans to keep their focus on producing organic vegetables, which we will bring to you fresh from the fields. They will be providing us with an abundance of greens, fall lettuces, radishes, turnips, squash, and more! Visit the farm online at http://www.nourishingacres.com/ and watch a video of our visit, below.