Grant Award: $6,000
Several years ago, Abbegail and her family bought land that has been farmed since the founding of Jackson County with the goal of returning it to being a full-time working farm modeling bio-friendly growing techniques. They currently raise beef cattle and some vegetable crops and used the grant to expand and diversify with the addition of organic blueberry, elderberry, and lavender plants.
The farm’s location off the Great Smoky Mountain Expressway between Asheville and Bryson City makes it an ideal agritourism destination for U-pick sales, so some grant money went toward marketing costs. Additionally, the family is purchasing a large dehydrator to increase revenue by using berry and lavender harvests to create dehydrated DIY immune-boosting syrup kits and lavender products.
Abbegail is seeking organic certification and intends to market fresh products at the Jackson, Haywood and Swain farmers markets, local grocery stores, and health food stores. She will create online sales platforms to sell value-added products to a broader market.