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Takeaway: What started as a way to feed a small handful of families clean, ethically raised food is now a working farm in Summerfield with 100% grass-fed beef, eggs from pastured chickens, a garden, an onsite market AND an events center. They consider their food clean and their processes transparent—if you have questions or concerns, ask them!
Have you ever had a hobby or passion project take on a life of its own? That seems to be the story behind Summerfield Farms, just north of Greensboro on Pleasant Ridge Road. The farm started as a way to feed a small handful of families clean, ethically raised food and has since grown into an event center, market and working farm providing fresh eggs, 100% grass-fed beef and other nutritious products employing several people.
Scott Phillips looks every bit the cattle rancher that he is with his cowboy hat and Sam Elliott demeanor. He had been managing a construction business for David Couch, the farm owner, when he then started managing the grass-fed cattle on the farm a few years ago. David is the co-founder of Blue Ridge Companies, a successful real estate management and development company based in High Point, NC; he purchased the farm a number of years ago and he and Scott began raising pastured cattle out of a desire to feed their families what they consider clean food.
Scott, a Texan, brings years of cattle ranching experience in Mexico and across the U.S. with him, and to him and others at the farm, clean food goes “beyond organic”. To them, clean food means not only non-GMO and free from conventional pesticides and fertilizers, clean food production restores the land through actions like planting cover crops to restore balance to nutrient levels and using livestock to enrich the soil.
The cows are mostly Angus crosses and come to the farm a few months after being weaned and are kept until they’re about 24 months old. After that, they are sent to small processors in either Gibsonville or Walnut Cove. The beef is then sold at The Market at Summerfield Farms, Deep Roots Market in downtown Greensboro, or to local restaurants like Steak Street, Iron Hen, and Josephine’s, to name a few.
About 600 chickens, soon to be joined by 500 more, share the hundreds of acres of pastures with the cattle. Tony Hearst has a ready laugh and easy demeanor that keeps these girls clucking happily near their chicken tractors. The tractors are coops on wheels that can move to fresh fields each day so the chickens can eat insects and-ahem-amend the soil. (Chicken droppings make great fertilizer in moderate quantities.)
The farm’s seasonal garden is managed by Dana Davis, the personable onsite market manager, with capable support in the garden from Callie Davis and in the market by Marci Richardson. In addition to managing the market, these ladies will be planting a variety of vegetables to sell onsite at the market. Given the location of the garden next to the market and the event center, they have the added challenge of not only a functional, productive garden, but also one that is aesthetically pleasing.
Have you noticed a trend? This place is growing—literally and figuratively! Starting in April 2014, you can come visit Dana and Marci at the onsite market six days a week. Along with their eggs, beef and soon to be veggies, you’ll find Homeland Creamery milk, pork and chicken from partners at Firsthand Foods and Coon Rock Farm, and seafood from The Shrimp Connection.
(We didn’t even talk about their event space—check out their website for gorgeous wedding photos!)
Event barn at the farm. Photo provided by Summerfield Farms, taken by Joey Seawell
Where to find them:
3203 Pleasant Ridge Rd, Summerfield, NC
Market hours of operation:
Starting in April 2014
Phone: (336) 643-2006
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com