Grow and Sell Medicinal Herbs

John Vining tipped us on this upcoming workshop, see the info below. If you are really interested in growing herbs for the medicinal market come by the Ag Center as their are some other resources you need to know!

Mountain Rose Herbs (, a much-loved and respected medicinal herb supply company, wants to buy medicinal herbs grown and sustainably wild-harvested from our Southeast region with a particular interest in our native botanicals. Brian Russell, the buyer, will be attending the Organic Growers School ( on March 8 and 9 in Asheville, so we have taken the opportunity to put together an afternoon workshop on Friday, March 7th so interested growers and wild-harvesters can meet Brian, learn what he would like to buy from this area, and what you need to do to sell to him. It will give him a chance to learn what we have to offer. There will also be presentations by Joe-Ann McCoy from the N.C. Arboretum on how to make a voucher, by Sarah Schober on what the Bionetwork Natural Products Laboratory has to offer you, and by Jennifer Flynn on the Blue Ridge Naturally Brand (something Mountain Rose is very interested in). 

Space is limited, so register now on EventBrite at: The event will be held at the Haynes Conference Center on the AB-Tech Enka Campus near Asheville.

Boat Building at the Mill Spring Ag Center

Check out this fantastic video done by Kirk Gollwitzer about the boat building classes at the Mill Spring Ag Center



Are you a farmer or a gardener? has an interesting article on the farm vs. garden debate. Our take – grow and sell – you’re a farmer! Grow anything at all? You’re awesome!

Great Resources from Botanical Interests!

Former AmeriCorps member Laura Brookshire forwarded us this great email with lots of interesting and useful information, check it out below and thanks Laura!


It was a delight to visit Mike Odle, Vegetable Farm Manager at CooperRiis. The facility, located minutes away from the Mill Spring Ag. Center, is a healing community for individuals coping with substance abuse and mental illness.

“We offer a teaser of what farming could be,” Mike said. Mike joined the farm over five years ago, and his primary task is to make farm work accessible and engaging for the residents. Even though residents come to the farm with little experience, “it’s interesting to see people engage and what gets people going in that direction,” Mike says. Some residents ultimately leave wanting to pursue farming.

Mike implemented systems that help him direct work more easily. He color-codes beds, for example, sending people to the purple field or red field. He also thinks of the aesthetics, planting attractive perennials around the borders of the fields, and of the overall organization of farm activities.

“How do you get people funneled into growing and not distracted,” he asks. Improving upon basic tasks adds to what Mike calls the “flow” of farming. “We need to wash vegetables,” Mike says, “so how can we make that basic function better? That flow can equal thousands of pounds of something if you get it right and people fold into it.”

I was most impressed by the use of a farm in an institutional setting. There are many large institutions with the land for a campus farm, such as churches, schools, hospitals, continued care facilities, and factories. CooperRiis demonstrates that farming can be beneficial and therapeutic for both employees and residents of such institutions.

Indoor Market on Saturday

Hi everyone –

A friendly reminder that we have a great market coming up on Saturday. Not only will we have some produce, but we will have a variety of craft products and some other great programming as well.

Come sample local honey or participate in a Hugelkultur workshop led by Patrick McLendon. Thanks to Paige Parris for organizing a seed swap of heirloom and organic varieties. Be sure to bring your saved seed to participate.

Interested in trying out some other chicken breeds? We will have a poultry swap as well.

Call us at 828-436-0029 for more information or to reserve a space.

Fruits for the Home Garden


Curious about blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries? Cooperative Extension has information about the best berries for Polk.

Order cultivars selected for our area through Polk Cooperative Extension. Try growing ‘Nantahala,’ a new release from NCSU.


New ‘Resources’ material

We are working to compile a place to go for a wide range of information. We will categorize relevant info and post it to the ‘Resources‘ page on the main site.

There you will find documents from the breakfasts, like speaker PowerPoints and audio recordings, regulatory guides, information for new and beginning farmers, and more! We will be slowly adding documents and coming up with a logical way to organize everything. 

Stay warm my friends.