Spinach growing at McAdams Farm

McAdams Farm History

Strawberries growing at McAdams Farm

Beginnings

McAdams Farm was established in 1885 when the first McAdams moved to this land in Orange County, North Carolina from northern Alamance County. The farm began raising tobacco for cash money and crops and vegetables to feed the livestock and the family. Corn, wheat, cows, hogs, and a vegetable garden were all grown for use on the farm. The family made their living by hard work and depending on relatives and neighbors.

Growing and Changing

Over the years, the farm's main products became beef cattle and tobacco. In the year 2000, due to changes in the economic climate of farming, the tobacco was replaced with strawberries, produce, and cut flowers. This transition was not an easy one. It required a leap of faith to venture into a new and very different way of farming. Three new ponds have been dug on the property to provide water for irrigation, a greenhouse was installed to grow vegetable and flower seedlings, and new equipment has been purchased to facilitate planting and harvesting of the various crops. We continue to care for the land and what grows here, and to learn a little more about farming every day.

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Who We Are Now

With a rich tradition of farming, the fourth and fifth generations to work the land are still going strong in Efland, North Carolina. It’s always a collective effort from everyone here to keep the land, plants, and animals well-cared for, healthy, and beautiful.

One constant is that we like to try new varieties to find the most flavorful vegetables and fruits, and long lasting cut flowers. We’re always excited for the first blooms, ripe berries, or vegetables that are ready to harvest. We make our farming decisions based on an intention to continue farming for many years to come. And, we try to have fun and laugh a lot while we’re doing it!

Howard Jr. stays busy with the strawberries, vegetables, orchard, and flowers; preparing the land and tending to these crops. His wife Karen, previously an agricultural extension agent for Orange County, now works on the farm with the beef cattle, her sheep, and whatever else needs to be done.

 

Daughters Callie and Elizabeth both help out on the farm when they are around, continuing the tradition of farming that is over 135 years strong. The farm also relies on an incredible team of talented individuals, each of whom work to plant, care for, harvest, and sell the crops we grow. Our way of farming would not be possible without everyone’s efforts to keep it going.

We raise a wide range of seasonal vegetable and fruit crops that are sold at the farm stand and at the Carrboro Farmers' Market year-round. We also raise Angus cattle and Katahdin sheep. Check out the pictures of what we grow to see more!

SPOTLIGHT - In Memory of Howard McAdams Sr.
September 19th, 1923 - October 1, 2010


Howard McAdams Sr, or as he was more frequently called, Pa, lived and worked on McAdams Farm from the time he was born here on September 19th, 1923. He saw all kinds of changes in the way our farming operation works, but he maintained his resilience and dedication to the farm throughout that time. He returned to the farm after serving in the Navy SeaBees and worked here all of his adult life. He raised a family of five children along with his wife, Dot and was a lifelong member of Efland Presbyterian Church.

Over the years, the focus of the farm's production eventually shifted towards tobacco and beef cattle. Howard McAdams Jr. returned to the farm in the early 1980's and worked together with his father on the farm. In 1987, over 40 acres of tobacco were produced. However, the farm eventually made a switch to vegetables, cut flowers, and pick-your-own strawberries. There was plenty to learn, but it was a challenge the family and Pa met with their typical resilience and determination.

Pa worked hard on the farm well into his 80's. He is greatly missed.

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