About Patterson Farm Market & Tours
Patterson Farm Market and Tours, Inc. is committed to educating children and adults about their food source, the importance of agriculture and specifically about the crops we grow at Patterson Farm, Inc. We accomplish this by providing educational opportunities which are designed to be educational, hands on, fun, and informative. We are also passionate about creating pick your own experiences, seasonal activities and events where families can create memories. The Market at Patterson Farm Market and Tours, Inc. is committed to providing a venue where Patterson Farm, Inc., other local farmers and small business owners have an opportunity to sell their products to families, neighbors, and visitors to Rowan County. Our goal is to educate the community on North Carolina agriculture and the importance of supporting local farmers by buying produce and goods that are sourced locally.
The History of Patterson Farm, Inc.
The Patterson family has been farming for over 125 years. Father Simpson Patterson and son Willie Patterson were known as prominent farmer dating back to the late 1800’s into the early 1900’s. They passed on their love of agriculture to son James A. Patterson who began growing vegetables in 1919. By 1941, James’ crop consisted of about thirty acres of cotton and three acres of tomatoes. Boll weevils damaged most of his cotton crop that year so James decided to grow all thirty acres of tomatoes the following year. In 1946, the family began growing tomatoes commercially under the name, James A. Patterson & Sons.
James and his wife, Berta Catherine Cauble, had 5 children: Betty Lou, Frank, Carl, Ann and Nancy. Sons, Frank and Carl, decided to continue the family business after each graduated from NC State and served in the Army.
On August 17, 1957 Carl married his sweetheart, Phyllis A. Graham. Her father, Harold Graham, along with his 12 siblings were involved in the dairy business. The current Patterson Farm Market & Tours location is on part of the original Harold Graham dairy farm.
Carl and Frank farmed together until they decided to divide the farm in 1979. Carl and Phyllis formed Patterson Produce and Plant Farm. They raised tomatoes, strawberries, corn, watermelons and cantaloupes, as well as four children: Lisa, Randall, Douglas and Michael.
In 1982, son Randall returned to help the family farm after graduating from NC State with a degree in Biological and Agricultural Engineering. He helped implement on the farm new procedures developed by NC State called “Plastic Culture” which involves growing crops on raised beds using drip irrigation with black plastic. Randall is primarily responsible for all field operations on the farm.
In 1992, the farm incorporated and became Patterson Farm, Inc.
In 1994, son Douglas and his wife, Michelle, decided to move back to the farm to help with the family business. Doug graduated in 1987 from NC State with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and had worked for 6 years in this field. Doug is responsible for overseeing the office, sales, food safety and packing house operations. Michelle is responsible for marketing, overseeing Patterson Farm Market & Tours, Inc., educational tours and events. Doug and Michelle have 3 daughters: (twins) Claudia and Victoria who are attending NC State, and Chloe attends West Rowan High School.
In 1999, Randall’s wife, Nora, gave up her nursing career to help the family business. Nora assists in the office, handles insurance, safety training, compliance and workers’ compensation for the farm. Randall and Nora have two children, a son Taylor and a daughter Madisyn. Madisyn graduated from UNC Wilmington in May 2017. Madisyn works as a registered behavior technician with children on the autism spectrum and plans to get her Masters in Occupational Therapy but she continues to help on the farm. In 2015, Taylor graduated from NC State with a degree in Plant and Soil Science with a concentration in Crop Production and began working on the farm to become our sixth generation to farm. Taylor is our Sustainable Agriculture Operations Manager. In May 2017, Taylor married his sweetheart, Mackenzie Holshouser.
Carl and Phyllis officially retired in 1999 turning the farm operation over to Doug and Randall. They enjoyed staying active in their church and could often be found at the lake. Sadly, Carl passed away on June 11, 2004. Daughter, Lisa and her family live in Davidson, NC. Son, Michael currently lives in Florida.
Currently, Patterson Farm, Inc. grows over 200 acres of tomatoes including mature-green, vine-ripe, grape and roma tomatoes. In addition to growing tomatoes, we grade, pack and ship our tomatoes across the United States and Canada. Patterson Farm, Inc. is currently one of the largest tomato growers in the state of North Carolina. Our tomatoes are also sold at our market on Caldwell Road.
Patterson Farm, Inc. also grows about 55 acres of strawberries each year. Primarily, our strawberries are sold at local grocery stores, produce and farmer’s markets, our roadside satellite locations and our market and pick-your-own strawberry field on Caldwell Road. Our strawberry season typically last from late April until early June. During the month of May, we offer school tours that teach how we grow strawberries. We also offer many weekend events during the month of May that provide fun and entertainment for the entire family. Other produce grown by Patterson Farm Inc. includes squash, cucumbers, peppers, cantaloupes and corn.
The farm also grows over 120 acres of peppers. Many of the peppers are grown under contract for specific companies.
We also grow about 15,000 poinsettias each year that are available at our greenhouses on Millbridge Road. Most of our poinsettias are sold to local churches and businesses. Poinsettias make beautiful gifts.
In 2003, Patterson Farm added a Farm Market at our pick-your-own fields on Caldwell Road. The market is open from March until mid-November. Hours vary by season. The market offers our seasonal produce as well as other local seasonal produce. In addition, the market has jams and jellies, dressings, salsas, unique gift items and baskets, and hand-dipped ice cream. We offer educational field trips, camps and events from late March through mid-November to teach people of all ages about where their food comes from and the importance of farms.
In 2007, Patterson Farm, Inc. transformed key areas into separate divisions: Patterson Farm Repack, Inc. and Patterson Farm Market & Tours, Inc. Although we have the two divisions, we all work together as a team for the growth and success of the farm.
Throughout its history, Patterson Farm, Inc. has adapted to keep up with technology and the ever-changing consumer demands to keep it a viable farming operation. We are dedicated to remain sustainable for our over 300 seasonal employees, our families and our customers.