Wild Hare Farm supplies us with beautiful local bouquets from late winter into the summer.
Leah Cook grew up on a beef farm but wasn’t interested in working with cattle like her brothers. Her stepmother’s flowerbeds and vegetable garden appealed to her, however. “It was really her passion that set me on fire,” Leah says of her stepmom, who became her first resource for information. Eventually, Leah took horticultural classes at NC State, interned with Ken Dawson at Maple Spring Gardens for seven years, and worked the retail end of the business at Wellspring grocery store. She took over her stepmom’s plots and sold at the farmers’ market in Durham.
Leah and her partner Mark Thomas started Wild Hare Farm in Cedar Grove, right next door to Maple Spring Gardens, around 2002. They grew produce and flowers for about fifteen years before transitioning to cut flowers only. They’re able to use their small plot of land efficiently with flowers. They use a row of tunnel houses (both heated greenhouses and unheated hoop houses) to extend the season, and have tulips and daffodils blooming as early as February. Seedlings are also started in the houses before planting out in the fields for the summer.
Leah’s planting practices are low input with no sprays, pesticides, or herbicides. She manages pests through crop rotation and weeds by hand. “I love what I do and I feel really lucky to do what I do. It’s important to me to make a local product and provide that to local markets with as little impact on the environment as possible.” Leah is quick to credit the mentors who helped her get started, and the customers who make our area such a great place to be a farmer.
Leah sells her flowers at the Carrboro Farmers’ Market. We carry Wild Hare Farm flowers seasonally. Look for tulips in March, and more! Visit them online at http://www.wildharefarm.us/.