Rayburn Farm’s Greenhouse Project
In Western North Carolina, many restaurants are shifting from traditional food suppliers to local markets to support local farms in their area. Rayburn Farm, located in Barnardsville, NC, is one of the farms that now supply their crops to many area restaurants. Rayburn Farm, however, is one of the main suppliers to the well-known Asheville brewery, Wicked Weed. Michael and Lauren Rayburn started Rayburn Farm in 2014 by just dabbling in a few crops that soon turned into a full-time profession in 2015. Once the farm’s production was on the rise, local markets’ interest in their products began to rise as well. The Rayburns saw the need for a greenhouse to increase their yield as well as the availability for certain crops during all four seasons.
Through Southwestern NC RC&D, Rayburn Farm received a $6,000 TVA Energy for Farms Grant to build the greenhouse as well as to buy the necessary plastic to cover the side walls and end caps. “This greenhouse has already made a very noticeable difference in our crop production,” said Rayburn. “We’ve gotten a huge jumpstart already on our tomatoes!”
In addition to supplying various herbs to Wicked Weed Brewing, the farm sells to twenty-five other breweries across Western North Carolina. They also sell to French Broad Doughnuts, Asheville Tea, a few local Italian restaurants, and are suppliers to Sow True Seed, a local heirloom seed supply company in Asheville, NC. “Selling to companies like Sow True Seed and Wicked Weed Brewery is a huge honor!” said Rayburn. “These are two very well-known organizations not only in Western North Carolina, but across the Southeast and it’s a big deal for us to be able to supply our products to them.” Rayburn Farm grows strawberries, various types of herbs, hibiscus, ginger, pumpkin, and popcorn. “This greenhouse has allowed us to expand our markets because now we are able to supply these markets at times of the year when certain crops aren’t growing anywhere else.” said Rayburn.