Modern Farmer: Could you tell us a little about your farm?
Brad Hinckley: We are located near Concord, North Carolina. We are an organic produce farm, growing a little bit of everything. We expanded this year — we are now raising some pigs, growing organic corn to feed them with, and we are growing wheat to grind it into flour. We are expanding a little bit, but in the past we have mainly done vegetables. We have been out here for six years, I’ve been farming for about 17. My main thing is I coordinate the crops, what is being planted, when it is being planted. I am sort of the overseer.
MF: We haven’t had too many strawberry farmers on here yet.
BH: We actually just tried them for the first time last year because I’ve had a bunch of people over the years asking about organic strawberries. We planted about a a thousand plants last year, to see if we could do it organically, and we had success with it. This year we ramped it up to about 4,500. If it goes well again, we may start thinking about doing acres of them. We want to grow what people want.
MF: When did you guys decide to join Instagram?
BH: When I first started farming, everyone didn’t have a computer in their house or a smartphone. Now it is more accessible to reach people this way. We mainly use it as a marketing tool, but also as a way to connect with people. Most people grow up in a suburban environment and don’t understand where their food actually comes from. It is more of an educational process for those people, saying, “Hey we can do this and this is how this grows.” Most people don’t grow up on farms. Since I started doing this I have really gotten an education on everything from fertilization to how to pick, when to pick, and how important the post-harvest care of products is.
MF: Is there anything you are looking forward to sharing this week in particular?
BH: For us it is an extremely busy end of season. We have 4,500 strawberry plants that need to go out this week, we’ve got to start digging about an acre’s worth of sweet potatoes (and those all need to be dug before the frost), and get wheat planted for next year. That all needs to happen before the end of the month. In November we plant all our garlic; we are the largest garlic producer in the county. Most of November is spent planting garlic. There are a lot of things that are going in the ground here in the next three weeks that we won’t see till next June. It’s put out a bunch of money, put in the ground, sit on for eight months and then we can maybe see some returns on our investment.
(This interview has been edited and condensed.
All images courtesy Cold Water Creek Farms.)