By Emily Buehler, Weaver Street Market Website Coordinator
Last Saturday, Mom and I visited Red’s Quality Acre on the Eastern Triangle Farm Tour.* Farmer Caitlin Law led our group around the broad, sunny fields as she talked about the farm.
She and her partner, Dave Henderson, moved back to the area from Chicago with the intention of starting a farm. They’ve been able to rent land from their neighbor, Norm. They’ve chosen to focus on selling their produce wholesale to stores and restaurants (Weaver Street is a big customer!) and through a CSA, rather than selling at weekly farmer’s markets.
Red’s follows organic practices although they are not certified. Caitlin pointed out some of their tactics: Several empty rows were covered with a sheet of black plastic, which heats the soil in the sun and kills weeds and weed seeds. They also use fire to torch rows and kill weeds before planting. Other empty rows were about to be planted with a cover crop to renew the soil. Most of the rows, however, were not empty. Lettuces, radishes, cilantro, carrots, eggplant, peppers, and more filled the space. Red’s plants densely to make the most of their space.
While rows planted with seeds require irrigation with an overhead sprinkler, rows with transplants are irrigated with drip tape, which is more localized and efficient. One hoophouse is used for starting seeds, and another is used for season extension. Caitlin described their farm as a use-what-you-have kind of place. The tall deer fence is made from a simple plastic mesh. They built the hoophouses from used hoops they purchased, as well as other scavenged materials. The only new thing about them was the screws!
Caitlin says they hope to expand their business so that they can easily provide living wages to both their farmhands and themselves. We’re glad to support them, and proud to sell the beautiful produce they provide us with.
UPDATE: *The Eastern Triangle Farm Tour is now part of the Piedmont Farm Tour in April.