When visiting many farming operations today, you will notice that some have their own greenhouse. Most of these greenhouses serves as a place to start seeds before they are transplanted into the field. This process not only allows farmers to start their seeds before they are transplanted into the field. This process not only allows farmers to start their seeds in a controlled environment but also allows them to grow healthier plants in the long run. Holly Whitesides, owner and operator of Against the Grain Farm (ATG) in Zionville, NC, saw how beneficial having a starter greenhouse on the farm could be.
In 2016, Whitesides received a $6,000 TVA Energy for Farms Grant from Southwestern NC RC&D Council to build her very own greenhouse to start organic seed transplants in. “Out of the 18 acres of farmland that ATG owns, 2.5 acres is used specifically for row crops,” said Whitesides. “By building this greenhouse, we are now able to grow our transplants more efficiently =.” To make the greenhouse ever more energy efficient, Whitesides also had two solar thermal panels installed on the roof by Appalachian State University professors and students. “The job of these solar panels is to heat the water tanks inside the greenhouse,” said Whitesides. “From there, the heat is circulated under the seed tables in the winter and in the summer time, the heat is diverted to a food dehydrator which we use to dry vegetables produced on the farm.”
Crops that can be found growing at ATG include lettuce, beet, squash, cucumbers, eggplants, melons, ginger, and leeks. ATG also raises beef cattle, feeder pigs, broiler chickens, and turkeys for market as well. After ATG’s products leave the farm, they are sold in the farm’s Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) market and to local restaurants like The Cardinal and Red Onion Café, both in Boone, NC. ATG can also be found at the Watauga County Farmers’ Market from May through November and the Winter Farmers’ Market December through April.
To learn more about Against the Grain Farm, visit their website at www.atgfarm.com.