Jul 18, 2019
North Carolina pumpkin grower honored

Johnny Wishon of the Appalachian Produce Company
Photo: SunBelt Ag Expo

The Sunbelt Ag Expo recently named pumpkin and Christmas tree grower Johnny Wishon its 2019 North Carolina farmer of the year.

Johnny Wishon didn’t grow up on a farm, but his father, a game warden, did. Wishon remembers, “We had a little over five acres of land, and my dad always had the biggest garden in the county. He would let me grow extra vegetables to sell to the local grocery store.” In highschool he became involved in Vo-Ag, FFA, and agriculture classes, all of which steered him toward a farming career.

Today he has three successful companies: Wishon Evergreens, wholesale Christmas tree and greenery products, Appalachian Produce Company, pumpkins and fall products, and the Christmas Tree Company, online Christmas tree and greenery sales. Websites for all three entities are important in attracting new customers, along with various social media outlets.

The Choose and Cut side of Wishon Evergreens takes place on weekends just after Thanksgiving until Christmas. Wishon said, “Our Facebook page gives folks who pick and purchase their trees from us the chance to post pictures of them doing so and again in their homes. This marketing effort has allowed us to gain 30 percent in growth the last couple of years. QR (Quick Response) codes on all of the tree tags take customers to our website and video via smartphone.”

As the North Carolina winner of the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo award, Wishon will receive a $2,500 cash award and an expense-paid trip to the Sunbelt Expo from Swisher International of Jacksonville, Florida, a $500 gift certificate from Southern States cooperative and a Columbia vest from Ivey’s Outdoor and Farm Supply. Limehouse is also now eligible for the Expo’s overall farmer of the year contest.

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