A Visit to Silver Lane Farm, by Market Manager, Lisa Beasley
Greensboro, Alabama, Hale County
80 acres of rolling hills
Located in the low rolling hills of Hale County, Silver Lane Farm is a hidden gem located near the small town of Greensboro, Alabama.
While sprawled across 80 acres, the working part of the farm consists of 4 high tunnels spanning 3 acres. Farmer Janice Clary, a Certified Organic farmer, grows a variety of heirloom and heritage seed vegetables. Janice was a nurse for more than 30 years, but comes from a farming background. Thanks to her nursing training, Janice knows how to keeps meticulous records to maintain her organic certification. This certification is important to her and requires hours of record-keeping, inspections, and documentation.
A view of a few high tunnels on the farm
Silver Lane Farm is also a GAP Certified farm. This means produce raised on the farm can be sold to outside companies in the area. Janice regularly provides the Hale County School System with freshly grown greens and other vegetables for school lunches. This program is part of Alabama’s Farm to School program, which connects local farmers with schools in their area. The program allows children to enjoy locally grown fruits and vegetables and is supported by the Alabama Department of Agriculture.
As a certified organic farm, Janice keeps strict records to maintain her certification!
During the winter and early spring months, Janice is busy seeding trays of vegetables for later transplant into her high tunnels. By mid-February, she is busy with dozens of trays of tomato seeds prepared for planting in early spring. The heirloom variety seeds will later be transplanted into the ground. Despite using the covered, high tunnel growing method, Janice must still pay attention to the weather. Alabama’s cold winter has caused her, and many other growers, to wait before transplanting seedlings into the ground this year by a couple of weeks. Growing during the late winter can be tricky, even in a high tunnel.
High tunnel getting ready for plowing
By early February, Silver Lane Farm already has spinach, kale, mustard greens, Swiss chard and other greens in the ground. Janice says she plants certain items just to bring to the Market at Pepper Place. She tries to time her harvest to occur just in time for Saturdays at the Market. She hopes to have plenty of greens to bring to market in April.
In addition to keeping up with her plantings and harvesting, Janice also works in the family business which is catfish farming. Hale County is the “Catfish Farm Capital of Alabama,” and she and her husband manage their own catfish farm. Alabama catfish farmers grow over 30% of all catfish consumed in the USA. We rank second only to Mississippi in catfish production. Janice’s family contributes to this industry and has for many decades.
Winter greens on the farm
In addition to her produce, Janice is partnering with her friend, Thomas Reynolds, owner of Greensboro Pies, to bring these homemade pies to Birmingham. Formerly known as Pie Lab, Greensboro Pies continues to make distinctive southern style pies in their hometown in Hale County. Reynolds maintains the same tried and true recipes mastered by Pie Lab and hopes fans of the delicious desserts will pick one up at Silver Lane’s tent at the Market this season!
Like other farms in Alabama, Silver Lane Farm is a busy place in early spring, laying the seeds to produce beautiful organic produce throughout the year and sharing her homemade canned goods made from her homegrown vegetables. Be sure to stop by and visit with Janice this year at the Market!
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