Somerset Farm is a small, family-run, USDA certified organic farm. We are located outside of Edenton, in Chowan County on the Yeopim River.
My father, Frederick, is the farmer. He grew up on the farm and has lived there his whole live. My sister Ollie and I were also raised there. We both left for college and have lived and worked in several different places in the years since, though each of us have come back to live and work on the farm in our adult lives. My mother has also filled a variety of different roles and responsibilities on the farm over the years. With the arrival of Ollie's son, "Little Fred," there are now three generations living on the farm and contributing to our day-to-day operations.
Each of us have different passions and interests but we all love the farm. My passion is people. In the past I have found the farm to be isolating so I moved to the big city of Manteo in 2014 and now live in Southern Shores. The farm pulls me home often; the beauty of the crops, the farm animals, the love my father puts into the land. That same pull has led me to work for my dad this season on top of working at First Flight Middle School during the week. Each Saturday finds me at Secotan Market (half asleep!) selling our produce, making restaurant deliveries, and heading to the farm on my days off to lend a hand.
Although Dad has not always farmed as his full-time job, he has always been a farmer. He is one of the smartest and most hard-working people I know. He tried to make a go of it farming organically nearly 40 years ago, but there was not much of an interest in organic produce in Northeastern North Carolina and no sustainable markets at the time. When my sister and I came along, Dad started logging with horses and doing tree service work for a living. Most of my childhood, Dad did not farm full-time, but he always had a big garden, kept a team of horses, and raised livestock, hay and oats.
When I was a teenager, we sold produce to many restaurants on the Outer Banks. To this day, I have been in more restaurant kitchens on the beach than in their dining rooms. Though Dad was not farming as his only job, he was always working the land and keeping up with the many demands of running a small organic farm.
When I was in college, dad decided to start farming full-time again; there were growing markets for organic produce both locally and regionally. He diversified his crops and grew smaller quantities with greater variety. In a given year, he may grow kale, lettuce, swiss chard, beets, broccoli, radishes, garlic, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, watermelons, sweet potatoes, collard greens, and many more!
Every season is different, but at every market you will see someone from my family (me, Dad, Ollie…and hopefully Little Fred). Things are always changing at the farm as we balance many factors; the weather, the amount of help dad can find, the health of our crew, and different market wants and needs. In the many years I've been involved in this effort, I have met some amazing people because of Somerset Farm. We appreciate all of you and your continued love and support over the years
You can connect with Somerset Farm to get a glimpse of their draft horses at work, watch the progress of current crops on the farm and see what new skills Little Fred is currently honing! The best way to catch up with the crew is in person, of course, each Saturday at Secotan Market.