May 12, 2021North Carolina’s Guthrie family returns to produce farming roots
Life has a funny way of bringing us back home to the things that we love. At least that’s the case for Bert Hadden and Justin Guthrie, owners of The Farm at Bogue.
“Our grandfather owned this land and we worked here with him growing up, but when he passed away in 2011 the land went unused for several years until we came back in 2018,” Bert said, “we always enjoyed being on the farm growing up and have a lot of fond memories here so it’s not surprising that we ended up farming years later.”
The Farm at Bogue is more famous for their varieties of lettuce and melons, but they also grow a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, including cucumbers, kale, basil, arugula, peppers and okra. One of the unique crops that they grow is a purple cayenne pepper called Buena Mulata. “Everyone loves the Mulata pepper for its visual appeal because its very pretty,” Bert said, “but it also has a mild heat and great flavor.”
A typical day on the farm varies based on season, but Bert always starts in the greenhouse and propagation house checking on the plants and assessing what needs to be tended too or harvested that day. The end of each week is dedicated to preparing for the farmers market over the weekend and Sunday is the day for clean up around the farm and transplanting. “Each day is always different because something is always on fire,” Bert said, “in other words, something new always pops up needing our attention but we certainly never get bored.”
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Although juggling the balance between personal life and farming can be difficult, Bert says there is no greater joy than interacting with her farmer friends, or rather family, at the market and building relationships with the customers that visit and purchase their products. “There is no greater pride than having customers come up and tell us how much they enjoy our products,” she said.
Products from The Farm at Bogue can be found in their online store as well as at a variety of local markets on the weekends, including the Cedar Point Farmers Market, the Newbern Craven County Area Farmers Market, the Coastal Community Farmers Market and the Olde Beaufort Farmers’ Market. Additionally, several restaurants in the Beaufort area use herbs and lettuce from their farm in a variety of dishes. “Food is art,” Bert said, “and seeing the partnership between us, the farmer, who grows the food and the chef who prepares it in a variety of new and innovative ways is incredible.” Bert’s favorite dishes from her farm are a salad, okra poppers and zucchini pizza.
The Farm at Bogue is also a member of our Got To Be N.C. program where they enjoy being a part of the eat local movement. “‘Know your farmer, know your food’ is a phrase that we hear and say a lot at the farmers market and around the community,” Bert said, “there are a plethora of reasons that people should eat local, but building a relationship with a local farmer is the best place to start.”
In the future, Bert and Justin hope to expand the farm one step at a time, starting with adding another structure to grow more greens and vine crops. “There are endless possibilities of things that we want to add and do here at the farm,” Bert said, “but we are taking it one step at a time and growing where we are needed.” Bert and Justin both enjoy the outdoors so when they aren’t farming, you can find them enjoying nature by hiking local trails, camping and taking trips to national parks.
–Taylor Parrish for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture