We have a new pick up location for our CSA this year. It is our new farm, Rabbit Eye Ridge! This has raised a lot of questions about what Rabbit Eye Ridge is and where it is located. Let’s start with a little history of our business. We started our CSA about 5 years ago, with our blueberries and veggies grown at our home and farm in Unionville, N.C. We named it “Bells Best Berries” because our focus was blueberries, and we thought we would be a blueberry farm. Over the years, that has changed. To begin with, we grow a lot more than just blueberries! We also grow a huge array of mixed vegetables and herbs. These things go into our CSA bags, and we also sell them at Atherton Market. Over the years, people started asking why our name is Bells Best Berries when, other than during blueberry season, most of what we grow are vegetables!
Then, it got even more complicated, because as our CSA grew, we began to have trouble growing enough produce from our small farm in Unionville to meet the need of our growing CSA and market customers. So, last year we purchased a new farm near Mint Hill to help solve that problem. It is located at the corner of Hwy 218 and Mill Grove Rd. The first thing we did was to plant nearly 1000 blueberry bushes. Not just any variety will do well here in the south. We have found that a special type of blueberry, called a “Rabbit Eye” blueberry seem to work best for us. This type of blueberry has very few pest problems, grows well in our heavy soils, as well as tolerates our mild winters and yields well. Now you know why the name of the farm is Rabbit Eye Ridge! It is named after the type of blueberries we planted.
Soon after we named the farm, I got a sweet note from one of our CSA members. She had been reading a book called “Animal Speak”. She told me that in Native American culture, rabbits are often associated with fertility, new life, and healing. I’ll take all that good energy! I believe real food brings those characteristics, and it is my prayer that Rabbit Eye Ridge can represent those things.
Rabbit Eye Ridge is a much bigger farm than our home in Unionville, so our plan is that it will be our production farm. It not only will be the home of those 1000 blueberry bushes, it also has enough space to grow all the vegetables we need. In addition, we planted grapes, blackberries, raspberries, and chokecherries. Rabbit Eye Ridge will be the backbone of our farming operation. If you drive by, you will see that it is definitely a working farm, and not a show place. There is equipment around, a storage container, piles of compost, and pipe laid out for our irrigation system. Speaking of irrigation, that is another reason Rabbit Eye Ridge will be our main production farm. It has a well and irrigation to ensure, despite crazy weather, we can still fill our CSA bags!
So, what happens to our original farm in Unionville? And if our farm business is so much more than blueberries, what should we call it? Our farm and home in Unionville will still be in production, however, it will be more of our private inner sanctum. We will plant our more unusual specialty crops, herbs, and even our own kitchen garden in Unionville. We will host our intimate “Farm to Table Dinner” in Unionville. We also will host our annual blueberry picking day for children. These events are things we do for our beloved CSA members, and are happy to share our private sanctum with them. We still haven’t resolved the problem of what to call ourselves. I’m not sure. For now we have two farms, Rabbit Eye Ridge and our home in Unionville. Now all we need is a business name! Got any ideas?