Erica Fernbach and Karl Brandstaetter, Seven Oaks Farm

Caterpillar Tunnels for Organic Production
Grant Award: $8,000

Thanks to their existing caterpillar tunnels, Erica and Karl were able to provide peppers, tomatoes and lettuce during shoulder seasons when other farms’ production had dropped off. During their first season of growing and selling at farmers markets, demand for Seven Oaks’ produce outpaced their supply at all of their outlets.

For 2022 they aim to scale up by about 15% mainly through increased winter production. To add more covered growing space,they have added two 100’ x 16’ gothic caterpillar tunnels with zipper doors. Having more caterpillar tunnels will not only provide steadier, year-round income, it will also allow them to rotate crops more effectively resulting in better soil health and disease and pest control.

The tunnels will allow Erica and Karl increase their income by growing over the winter. They sell at the Rutherford County Market and the Bub City Farmers Market in Spartanburg where they have established themselves as the main, high quality organic vendor at the market.

Erica sends out a newsletter each week to let customers know what they will be bringing to the market. They also use Instagram. Their farm will be part of the NC Foothills Farm tour during the upcoming weekend and they will talk to visitors about the caterpillar tunnels and the support they have received though AgOptions.


Rutherford County

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