MOUNT ULLA – The folks at Patterson Farm have been busy over the winter preparing for this year’s growing season and regular crowds return to enjoy all they have to offer.
Michelle Patterson, entertainment and market manager and farm tour organizer, said some of the adaptations during the pandemic, such as offering a curbside pickup option, will likely continue and that the requirement hourly box office to pick your own strawberries will also be in effect.
“We’ve learned that it enhances the experience, so it’s not too crowded,” she said.
Reservations can be made online at visitpattersonfarm.com, where you can also check the calendar of what is being grown. She says they’ll know about 30 days before the season starts, all just Mother Nature’s way of telling you when the time is right.
One of the biggest draws was when they started making ice creams to sell at the market, which opens April 1 on Caldwell Road.
Randall Patterson is President and Director of Field Operations for Patterson Farm. With 70 acres dedicated to three varieties of strawberries, it’s one of the largest such farms in the state. During the growing season, which runs from mid-April to mid-June, the farm expects to harvest about 1.4 million pounds of fruit from about that many strawberry plants. Tomatoes have long been the most common crop on the farm, but the gap has narrowed in recent years as peppers and strawberries have caught up.
By speaking with Michelle Patterson in mid-February they were busy planting peppers. The farm also grows sweet corn and pumpkins.
As well as attending conferences during the winter months, Michelle said the farm operation depends on things like Reemay to protect the plants from the cold before warmer weather arrives and the growing season passes. at top speed.
Douglas Patterson, vice president of Patterson Farm, offers the best advice for freshly picked strawberries is to refrigerate them immediately so they stay fresh longer. Of course, the sooner they are eaten after being picked, the better, he says.
The Patterson family has been farming for over 125 years and members celebrated their history at the site of the original James A. Patterson farm on Patterson Road in 2019.
Patterson Farms has become one of 65 Rowan County farms, restaurants, wineries and breweries listed on the Visit NC Farms app, which was developed by the Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. North in 2020 to connect local suppliers with consumers.