Know Your Food and Your Farmer

By: David Hamrick

GA! Job- You don’t come from a family with a history of farming. Was there a “Farmer” table at career day in high school?
Job: No, there was definitely not a “Farmer” table at career day.

GA! Tell us a little about yourself.
Job: I am a Gastonia native and 1995 Ashbrook graduate that loves family, friends, fishing, hunting, and
being in the outdoors. I attended the University of North Carolina Wilmington graduating with a BS in Natural Resource Management. As the youngest of three boys, the importance of family is top on my list. My passion for the outdoors led to my discovering the taste, quality and preparation of food. A journey of educating myself on how to grow naturally grown food from dirt to dish began, so that one day I would be able to share this with my family and community.

GA! What are you farming now and how do you choose what to produce?
Job: For the summer, I am growing shitake and oyster mushrooms, heirloom vegetables such as lemon, crook neck, and straight neck squash, Kennebec potatoes, Star of David and crimson okra, and climbing speckled lima beans. Soon I will harvest honey from my beehives, and prepare the soil for late summer and early fall crops. In the fall, I anticipate having carrots, beets, collards, cucumbers, garlic and onions. My crops are based on what other farmers are not offering and successful plantings from last season. The crops are unique from what most farmers are normally offering which is exciting to offer so many flavorful varieties that are new to to Gaston County!

GA! What are heirloom vegetables?
Job: A true heirloom is a cultivar that has been nurtured, selected, and handed down from one family member to another for many generations. Based on Wikipedia, a cultivar is a plant or group of plants selected for desirable characteristics that can be maintained by propagation. They also have a reputation for being high quality and easy to grow.

GA! Was it hard to get started in bees, and to learn to be a beekeeper?
Job: No, not really. A friend keeps bees and I became interested in them immediately. My focus was more toward using the bees to pollinate my vegetable crops, although harvesting honey sounded good too. I attended bee workshops across the state becoming a certified bee keeper through the Gaston County Beekeepers Association. If one is interested in beekeeping, The Bee School classes offered by Gaston County Extension Office are excellent, offering an instant resource to a network of experienced beekeepers.

GA! What is the funniest or most unusual thing that has happened to you since you began farming?
Job: Probably when my bees decided to swarm when I was standing right beside it. Sounding like a freight train coming through the field, thousands of bees surrounded me. I just sat there and watched. After hovering for a few minutes they decided to land back on top of the hive. Having never seen anything like it, I called my mentors from Bee School, Robert and Debbie Hinkle, who have been just an amazing resource of knowledge, to help catch this swarm. They helped catch the bees to start a new hive. More bees means more Honey!

GA! Where do see yourself going as a farmer, and how do you think the Eat Local movement will evolve?
Job: I hope to continue farming for the rest of my life. There’s just something about putting a seed in the ground and watching it grow. I plan to keep learning from other farmers as well as by trial and error. I consider myself a Farmer in Training because I’m always learning something new every day. Continuing to create more awareness for our local food movement and educating people on its benefits would be a homerun! Hopefully this movement causes people to become hungry for change. Maybe then, we’ll see a ‘Farmer’ Table at career day.

GA! What do you do when you are not farming?
Job: I love to spend my spare time with my sweetheart Julie, being with my family, friends, and my best bud Dakota (a white Lab). Fly fishing, hunting, relaxing in the mountains, traveling to the coast and trying new recipes in the kitchen are also things I enjoy. Before I forget, I would like to personally thank Rob and Sharron Davis
for allowing me the opportunity to farm on their property. Along with the rest of my
family, they have been a huge support and inspiration to my work. I couldn’t have
done any of this without you guys. Thank you!

GA! How can we get some of your produce?
Job: I am a farmer with Home Harvest: a unique food company that links farmers to the people of our community. Home Harvest believes that locally grown produce can be affordable and accessible. They hope to re-connect people, food and community. (Their website has information on products and ordering. ).

For Produce Orders Contact Job and White Feather Produce at 704-214-0660 • [email protected]