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Thomas Kumpf relocated to North Carolina in 1999; he had experience with growing organically on his parents' land in western New York.
"I took up the challenge of learning a new climate while teaching full time and farming part time," he said.
The result is Double T Farm, a small, sustainably run farm 20 miles south of Raleigh, North Carolina. Tom runs the farm with his wife and farm business manager, Theresa, and three young, "future farmer" sons. The operation produces vegetables, strawberries, melons and a few cut flowers.
"We farm about five acres of annual vegetables year round, cover crop another five acres while extending our season year round with five hoop houses and other low-tunnel structures," Thomas said.
"(Also,) I lease land on a North Carolina Century Farm, one that has been continuously farmed by the family who owns it for over 100 years. I am helping the owner transition more of the land to sustainable/organic production."In addition to direct marketing, Thomas also does speaking engagements at local schools and civic groups.
"We have participated in various local farmers markets from 2003 until the present, starting our CSA in 2005," he said. "When our CSA reached a certain membership level, I quit my job as a teacher to farm full time."
ATTRA bulletins "helped me improve my knowledge base and bottom line of my farm," he said.
"My parents had a garden every year while growing up, and I remember watching Crockett's Victory garden on PBS as a kid in the 70s," Thomas said. "Mom and Dad subscribed to Mother Earth News and Organic Gardening magazine, some of the issue I still have.My uncle, John Kumpf, worked at Cornell University for nearly 40 years in their greenhouses, helping the professors run their various experiments. Visiting those greenhouses as a kid and seeing banana trees was an eye opening experience. Our family has a history in horticulture going back 4 generations."
"One day I happened to see a show on The Learning Channel called "Gardening Naturally" back in 1996 with Eliot Coleman and Barbara Damrosch. The show was called "Finding Fertilizers," about how to make compost for free. I remembered as a kid putting stuff in to the compost pile, so I kept watching the show and bought Eliot's book The New Organic Grower".
"I took over the management of my parents’ garden, and thought that market farming would be a great 'summer job' for a teacher. It has turned into much more than that!"
The farm's website is www.double-t-farm.com
The Sustainable Producer Spotlight is offered as a celebration of those who practice sustainable and organic agriculture and is not intended as an endorsement of the featured operations or products.
This page was last updated on: December 15, 2014