Sampson County Century Farm prospers under the care of one woman

By on June 29, 2020

Since 1913, the Petersons have been operating their family farm in Sampson County. Carla Peterson and her husband, Chris, currently own the farm, but it was his grandfather who laid the foundation in the early 1900s.

Mr. Peterson’s grandfather sold books door to door in order to make money. He then bought war bonds, using those bonds to buy the farm in 1913. Since then, the farm has continued to be passed down through the generations. While the farm may not operate in the same fashion today, the family’s “commitment to being good stewards of the land” has not changed.

Carla is now the primary farmer at Twiddle Dee Farm. Coming from a long line of strong women, Carla never doubted her abilities to handle the Peterson family farm.

“My husband has always had a love of farming. The type of farming he loves, however, no longer exists. After his parents passed away and he had the opportunity to farm again, he quickly realized he was in a predicament. So, with full confidence that I could accomplish anything, he handed me the reins. That is how I became, like so many other women across the United States, a new type of farmer and one that is well-suited to the current challenges facing small farms.”

Twiddle Dee Farm focuses on “a diversification of products and offerings, available in small quantities.“ Carla currently raises cattle and sheep, tends to flower and vegetable gardens, and also cares for her nut and fruit trees/bushes. The farm is also home to a horse boarding enterprise and a small retail store.

The farm acts as an agricultural experience for tourists as well, catering to adult visitors, not children. Carla says she wants adults to understand that farms are not only for children but also for them.

Twiddle Dee offers a farm membership for those that have supported the farm in the past.

“People who have supported us in our traditional agricultural practices of buying our livestock and boarding their horse here, or if they’ve stayed in the guest house in the past, we like to reward them for their support.

For an annual fee, those who have not been involved with the farm in the past can also become members. The members are welcome to visit the farm for scheduled events, like outdoor movie nights, or to simply spend time outdoors. Members can spend time with the animals, walk or bike the trails on the property, browse the shop, or just take in the beauty of Twiddle Dee Farm with friends.

Carla has always valued and appreciated the legacy of the family’s farm. She hopes to see continued growth for the farm in the future.

“My goal is to pass the farm to my two sons in a condition such that they can sustain the farm in a direction that they see is best.  Thus, I anticipate this land will continue as productive Peterson farmland while still emphasizing animal welfare, good land stewardship, preservation of wildlife habitat, being a good neighbor, and enhancing the beauty of the farm. My hope is that my sons and their families will love and enjoy the farm as much as I have.”

2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the NCDA&CS Century Farm Program. Less than 2,000 families across North Carolina can say that they have operated a family farm for 100 years.

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