Harland's Creek Farm-Certified Organic

Organic--Historic--Enduring

Twitter linkHarland's Creek Farm is a certified organic farm located four miles west of Pittsboro NC.  It is the site of the Alston-Degraffenreid house, a national historic site. Our flowers, herbs, vegetables, and fruits are certified organic.  We also have eggs from pasture raised hens that are fed an all-grain diet that is antibiotic free.

We sell our products at the Durham Farmers Market on Saturdays and Wednesdays. Visit the market's web site for more information. LoMo Market is also carrying our products.  LoMo Market moves from place to place in the Triangle area.  To find a location, go to the LoMo web site.  Many of our products are sold through CSAs.  See the CSA tabs for more information and procedures on enrolling.   And we also sell to local restaurants, mainly: Poole's Downtown Diner in Raleigh, Tazza Kitchen in Raleigh, and Pizzeria Toro in Durham.  These are the all topnotch places with excellent chefs. We are particularly in awe of Ashley Christensen who leads a great team of chefs in multiple sites.

If you are in Pittsboro,  restaurants that have local food we love are: Small B&B  Cafe, Oakleaf  Restaurant, and Angelina's Kitchen.  They are less likely to have our food, but you might see us eating there. 

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History. The Alston-Degraffenreid house was built in 1810 and the farm has a long history.  There is a 53 acre historic site surrounding the farm. We are dedicated to maintaining this site for future generations.

Alston-Degraffenreid House

When Judy and her family first moved into the Alston-Degraffenreid house in the early 70s, kudzu covered the yard and had begun to grow up on the porch. After her husband did some clearing, they  discovered old orchards, flower gardens, and fields. In the fall of 2001 we built a parterre at the site of an old flower garden and started returning the fields to food production.  Judy's husband died in 2002; all five children have grown up and have their own families; and, with the children all raised, Judy now raises vegetables, flowers, and chickens.

Farming Practices. We have five acres under production including a one acre poultry pasture.  We rotate the 3-quarter-acre  main summer garden over a three areas and grow cover crops on the other two areas. Another 3/4 area plot is intensively farmed with crops both in spring and fall. Soil amendments include compost, green sand,  mined phosphates, feather meal, and other products approved by the National Organic Program (NOP). Mulching, row covers, flame weeding, and landscape cloth help control weeds and pests. We have deer fences and  a Jack Russell terrier who pursues the groundhogs. All our flowers are conditioned using NOP approved materials. 

You can buy directly from us.  Please send an e-mail to hcffarmers@gmail.com  or call us at 919-542-4607 for more information.


 

 

 

Cooking--Farming--Thinking

Potatoes

Posted by Judy Lessler :: Tuesday, July 28 :: 10:58am

Last winter I bought the two-volume Cambridge World History of Food. Each volume is over 1000 pages long and printed in two columns and in about eight point type. There is a huge amount of information available in these volumes. The nutritionist, historians, horticulture experts, and botanist who prepared this book recruited a large number of authors to write various sections. The book is well researched and has lots of references. You don’t need to buy one; call me if you need to know anything about any vegetable.  

We grow potatoes on Harland's Creek farm. Potatoes are considered as staple food throughout the world. The editors of this book divide staples into two groups. The first group is grains and includes amaranth, barley, buckwheat, maize or corn, millet, oats, rice, rye, sorghum and wheat. The starchy staples includes bananas and plantains, manioc, white potatoes, sago, and sweet potatoes or yams. 

Potatoes are the fourth most important staple food. They evolved in the Andes and spread throughout the world. Different varieties of potatoes are found throughout South America and Central America. There are over 200 different varieties of wild potatoes. It’s not clear when potatoes began to be domesticated because hunters and gatherers also assembled stocks of potatoes from the wild. In Peru and Bolivia, there’s evidence of their use as a domesticated plant between 10,000 and 7000 years ago. In South America, there was a vertically integrated production system in which quinoa and corn were grown at lower altitudes and potatoes and other tubers grown at higher altitudes. Llamas were raised at the very tops of mountains. There was communication between farmers at the various altitudes, and crops were traded with the llamas being used as the "beast of burden." 

Sir Francis Drake is credited with bringing the potato to Europe. There is however some doubt about that. He did write about the potatoes on his round the world voyage which lasted from 1577 two 1580.

The potato spread throughout Europe and was such an important crop, that it is credited with the elimination of famines by the early 19th century. Potatoes were cheaper than wheat bread and could be grown on small holdings. Combining potatoes, some greens, and flesh from farm animals resulted in a nutritious diet. One of the disadvantages of the potato is that it can be not be stored for many years the way some grains can. Therefore, it must be planted every year. In some places, particularly Ireland, people became so dependent upon the potato that there was widespread famine d when the potato was hit by late blight.  

Potatoes are spring crop in North Carolina. We plant them in late March and have usually harvesting them completely by the end of June. Were able to grow organic potatoes in North Carolina easier than farmers in the northern regions can because we plant them, cultivate them, and harvest them before late blight blows through. Our yields of organic potatoes are as high as yields of non-organic potatoes in northern region.

Harland's Creek Farm grows organic  red, Yukon gold, and two varieties of fingerling potatoes,. You can buy them at our stand at the Durham Farmers' Market.

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The farmers who grow your food and flowers

Judy started HCF.  She develops meal plans for the CSAs, deliveries to restaurants, and writes our blog. You can meet her most weeks at the Durham Farmers Market on Wednesday and Saturday.

Erasmo worked part time on the farm for years and then came full time in 2011.  You can meet him at the Saturday Durham Farmers' market on alternate Saturdays.  He is active in all aspects of the farm and is our main tractor guy.

Martin at the Durham Farmers' MarketMartin also worked part-time before starting full time in 2011.  He is the main man at the Wednesday Durham Farmers Market.

Rene with children posing in front or his houseRene has been full time on the farm since 2012.  He works on all aspects of the farm and does a lot of deliveries. This is Rene with two of his children in front of his house.

We are a great team.

Where to buy our organic food

You can get our food by:

Visiting one of these local restaurants:

Pittsboro restaurants that have local food we love are: