Aug 2, 2021A farming dream turned reality at North Carolina’s Seven Sisters Farm
As a child we all have dreams of becoming something big when we grow up, like a rockstar, veterinarian or doctor. At the age of three, Janice Fine, owner of Seven Sisters Farm, drew a picture that said “when I grow up I want to be a farmer” and the journey began.
Janice and her husband Michael met in college at North Carolina State University when they were both studying natural resource management. “I grew up in a family that grew produce for a living so I have known it all my life,” she said, “but Michael discovered his true passion for agriculture while working for a produce box distribution company in college where he met many farmers and industry workers.” Located in Denton, North Carolina, Seven Sisters Farm focuses on feeding families and satisfying their customers through a diversity of products. “Product diversity is really our goal because we are a retail farm who sells directly to our consumers and we try to have something for everyone,” Janice said.
Not only do they have a variety of fruits and vegetables available each year, including leafy greens, root crops, Asian greens, strawberries and asparagus, but they also grow flowers and have recently added livestock to the mix. “I worked for a greenhouse in college and absolutely loved it, so growing the herbs and flowers is a way that I can continue to utilize that knowledge and passion,” she said, “this year I am excited to try doing cut flowers for the first time and seeing how our customers react.”
A typical day on the farm depends highly on the season, but usually involves a variety of tasks from harvesting crops to taking care of animals and maintenance work. “Starting in May, we are harvesting in
the fields at dawn while the weather is still cool to ensure the best quality product, said Janice, “then the afternoons are spent prepping for the farmers market or running ouron-site farm stand before we circle back around to the evening chores.” Although the uncertainty of farming can be tough for a planner like Janice, she loves being outside and working in a job where there is always another chance to get things right. “Farming is a forgiving field to be in because even when you mess up, there is another season right around the corner where you can try again,” she said, “and it’s incredibly rewarding to provide products to people and see the fruits of your labor.”
In addition to their farm stand on-site, products from Seven Sisters Farm can be found at the Uptown Farmers Market in Charlotte and the South End Farmers Market. They also offer farm share boxes to interested customers in the Lexington and Salisbury areas. “We are offering two boxes this year to provide more seasonality in our box offerings,” Janice said, “there are typically six to 10 products in a box and more information can be found about them on our website.” Janice loves to grocery shop for her family at their farm stand and, although she loves all their products, her favorites a
re tomatoes, squash and strawberries.
“Farmers rely on their local community and economy so it really does make a difference when you purchase local products,” she said, “not only are those products going to be more stable, but by purchasing from local farmers, you are ensuring that those products you love will continue to be there in the years to come.”
In the future, Seven Sisters Farm hopes to expand their livestock operation to include goats and pigs as well as buildup the farm stand to diversify the enterprise and offer more products to theircustomers. “We will always keep our eyes open for what people want and need,” Janice said, “we want to make it a place that our customers know they can count on and continue to come back to on a regular basis. When they are not farming, you can find Janice and Michael enjoying time with their children and teaching them about the family farm.
– Taylor Parrish, North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services