Local produce from local heroes
November 4, 2010
Filed under Archives
When you eat in the cafeteria, you are supporting local business. Whether you know it or not, much of the food on Guilford College’s campus comes from small, nearby farms.
Apples come from the mountainous region of North Carolina while other fruits, vegetables, dairy, beef and poultry come from as near as the outskirts of Guilford county.
“Supporting local food is more than just a movement,” said junior Courtney Mandeville, a double major in environmental studies and biology and a member of the Food Justice Network. “It is about connecting with your environment in a healthy, positive way.”
Two neighborhood farms that supply food for Guilford are Homeland Creamery and Faucette Farm, both of which are less than an hour drive from campus.
At Homeland Creamery, bottle-feeding a week-old calf is a daily experience. With over 300 head of cattle bursting with sweet cream, they know dairy.
“I grew up on milk right out of the cow, and ours is the closest I have ever had to raw milk,” said Diana Euliss, a tour guide on the farm and cousin to the owners.
Nestled in the rolling hills of Julian, N.C., about an hour southeast of Greensboro, this 360 acre farm has been in the Bowman family for six generations. The secret to the richness of Homeland’s dairy is that they blend the milk of three different cattle types to create the creamiest and most balanced product.
“They’re good people,” said Euliss. “They have been very blessed.”
The Bowman family has the kind of ethics you might expect of a small, community-rooted family business.
“All of our cattle are free range and we don’t use any hormones,” said Euliss.
Other dairy farms pump their cattle full of artificial hormones to force them into producing higher volumes of milk.
Education is also an important outreach for the Bowmans. Several days a week they facilitate farm tours complete with a three-mile hayride across the bumpy gravel roads that wind through the verdant fields and wooded hills that comprise Homeland Creamery.
“It is amazing how many kids think milk comes from the grocery store,” said Euliss.
Homeland Creamery exemplifies the phrase ‘free-range’. From the “maternity ward,” where the pregnant heifers lounge in the shade of autumn leaves with Little Joe the Llama, to the field of teenage cows who are still small enough to slip through the fences and graze the greener grass, the cows at Homeland Creamery seem like part of the extended family.
Tyler Faucette loves growing sweet potatoes.
“We have Carolina Rubies, Japanese white sweet potatoes, Hawaiian Purples, and your typical Beauregards and Covingtons,” Faucette said as he dug into the thick green and purple foliage and unearthed a gnarled, dirt covered Beauregard sweet potato.
Faucette Farm peddles more than just your standard squash and zucchini fare. Some of their main crops include certified organic berries, beans, winter greens, tobacco and, of course, sweet potatoes.
“We aim for variety,” Faucette said.
Besides variety and premium quality, another goal of this 100 acre, eighth generation family farm is community relationships.
“Everybody keeps a hand in what’s going on” said Polly Evans, who runs the business side of things. “We all have different perspectives, so it keeps things balanced.”
This sense of community runs deep.
“Everybody around here is related in some way,” said Evans.
Tyler Faucette, who is recently married, has taken over the main duties of the farm from his father. With 60 hour workweeks a minimum, he does not have time for much besides farming. When he does get out he enjoys the wood-fired pizza at Sticks and Stones in Greensboro, a restaurant his farm supplies produce for.
“Growing a local economy is very important,” Faucette said. “We don’t need to waste so much energy and fuel shipping all over the country.”
Faucette Farms supplies produce to Eastern Carolina Organics, a distributor of local and organic foods, as well as Best Way Grocery, Fish Bone, and Sticks and Stones restaurants in Greensboro, as well as our very own cafeteria.
You can chat with them on Saturdays at the Greensboro Farmers’ Market any Saturday.
“Come and say hi anytime,” Evans said. “Now is the best time of year because things are slowing down a little and we have time to talk.”