Every Friday on social media, we post a Farm Feature Friday showcasing one of our dedicated North Carolina farmers. Lee Ewing and Ed Mills with Sunny Creek Farm are two of those farmers. The #FarmFeatureFriday campaign will run through December 2021 on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Be sure to tune in each Friday afternoon on social and help show your support for our local farmers!
“Let food be your medicine.” That is the motto of Sunny Creek Farms, a sprout grower in Tryon. Lee Ewing grew up in California and fell in love with sprouts while working as a driver for a sprout farm during high school. Ed Mills heard about sprouts at the age of 22 when he decided to become a vegetarian and realized that sprouts are a good source of protein. Wanting to provide high quality, nutritious sprouts for himself and others, Ed started growing sprouts in 1978.
Although they started out as fierce competitors, Ed and Lee became co-owners of Sunny Creek Farms in 1998 when food safety called both facilities to a higher standard. “We go after what is best for the consumer,” Ed said, “and Lee had just built a newer and cleaner facility that appealed to me from a quality and food safety standpoint.” Both Ed and Lee believe food safety is achievable through technology, hard work and dedication, which has led to Sunny Creek Farm’s perfect food safety record for over 22 years.
Currently growing $2.5 million each year in sprouts, Sunny Creek Farms operates on a 7-day week, 365-day year schedule. “Sprouts are grown in drums, separated out into four components,” Lee explained, “and then 48 hours after planting, we take a sample and send it to our lab for processing to ensure no diseases, such as salmonella, listeria and e-coli are present. The final product is held in a specialized cooler for one day until those test results come back showing a safe and quality product for our customers.”
In recent years, broccoli sprouts have become increasingly popular due to their immense health benefits. Not only are broccoli sprouts an anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and antibacterial, but they also may help fight cancer, a benefit Ed has experienced dramatically in his own life. “Eating as little as one ounce of broccoli sprouts a week is powerful medicine,” he says.
Sunny Creek sprouts can be found at a variety of retailers around the state, such as Ingles and Whole Foods. “We got into this because we wanted to help people,” both Ed and Lee said, “everyone wants to feel that they are benefiting the world in some way and we feel that joy every single day.” Make it your new years resolution to try products from their farm this year!