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Takeaway: In 10,000 of square feet of greenhouse in Gibsonville, the Smiths grow vegetables all year to take to the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market. You can also purchase high-quality fish fresh from the NC coast, veggie starts and flowers.
What’s the best part of visiting Smith Farms Greenhouse in Gibsonville? Besides chatting with the owners Donna and George and their sweet German Shepherd Boo, I’d have to say it’s the Florida-like temperatures in the greenhouses.
Among their other interesting plant in the greenhouses, Donna has thriving Birds of Paradise, ficus and ferns in the greenhouse. They even have the latest “celebrity” vegetable—lacinato kale, AKA Tuscan or dinosaur kale.
George’s first greenhouse came as a gift from his grandmother Callie back in 1988. Over the next five years, he constructed four more greenhouses that now encompass 10,0000 square feet where they grow lettuces, chard, kale, tomatoes and more that they sell at the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market. In addition to the greenhouses, they keep a few rows planted in the fields.
You can see George there on Wednesdays and Saturdays with their plants and veggies as well as fish he and Donna fetch from the coast on Friday afternoons.
Their biggest sellers are the plant starters sold at the farm in the springtime. This year I tried some of their mints, basil and my favorite, celery. (Believe it or not, my potted celery plants are still alive after seven months. The ribs can be cut from the bottom and the plant keeps thriving.)
When he first started growing commercially in the 80s, George grew poinsettias and Easter Lilies. As the nature of supplying plants changed with the advent of big-box hardware stores, he needed to switch his product mix to remain viable. Although they still offer full-grown seasonal plants, they’ve added fresh produce and sell fewer plants to places like churches. They exited of the tobacco business for good a few years ago–freezing weather and black widow spiders were the tipping point.
Behind the greenhouses two year old Angus cows and their yearlings are the beginning of their next agricultural venture—grass fed beef. Their first steaks should be ready next spring or summer.
Year before last the Smiths received a grant from RAFI to help purchase solar water heaters and a wood-fired boiler. With these two renewable energy systems supplying heat to the greenhouses, they’re no longer at the mercy of propane prices, significantly reducing their expenses.
George and Donna are always a delight to visit with. Whether talking about the his alma mater, Elon, and their football prospects or fishing methods for tuna, you can get much more than just veggies and fish from the Smiths!
To purchase some of their veggies or to get the best pick of the starters in the spring, visit them at their farm. As usual when visiting a farm, call ahead.
Where to find them:
At their farm:
Smith Farms Greenhouses
5944 Carmon Road
Gibsonville, NC 27249
Greensboro Farmers Curb Market
Wednesdays, 7-12 (Till December)
Saturdays, 7-12 (all year)
Corner of Lindsay & Yanceyville streets at table, next to the pimiento cheese and across from the honey
What they’ve got:
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