Every Friday on social media, we post a Farm Feature Friday showcasing one of our dedicated North Carolina farmers. Doug and Kelley Carrigan with Carrigan Farms 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!
When Doug Carrigan took over the family farm in 1975 he not only continued the family legacy of farming by adding the fourth generation, but he also brought new ideas and innovation to the table. Carrigan Farms in Mooresville originally started as a row crop farm in 1902. “Doug grew up on the farm and has always loved every minute of it,” Kelly Carrigan, Doug’s wife, said, “when he took over the family farm in 1975 he started growing the pick-your-own crops, including pumpkins, apples and strawberries.”
In addition to the pick-your-own crops, the family has a small garden where they grow a variety of other fruits and vegetables sold directly to consumer, including asparagus. “Everything we do here is based on creating the best experience for our customers, from the pick-your-own crops to the haunted trails at Halloween and swimming availability in the summer,” Kelly said, “in fact, that’s why the pick-your-own business was started because we wanted to give our customers a reason to come out to the farm, see what we have to offer and learn about agriculture.”
Throughout the year, the Carrigan’s offer a variety of agritourism events to keep their customers coming back for more, including weddings/formals, field trips, hayrides, haunted trails and open swimming in their on-site rock quarry.
Although a typical day depends on the season, the Carrigan’s have plenty of responsibilities to keep them busy day in and day out. “It’s definitely not an eight-to-five job, in fact, most of the time we are working double shifts,” Kelly said, “but it’s a good busy and we never get bored.” In the winter, Kelly and Doug stay busy planting in the fields and when spring comes they are busy scouting.
All staff on the farm are trained in lifeguard safety to monitor swimming citizens in the summertime and some of them also manage the fully functioning restaurant and kitchen on-site. “We make up the recipes for all the dishes offered at our restaurant on-site, including apple cider donuts, burgers, corn on the cob, steaks and our homemade dinner rolls,” Kelly said, “it not only gives us the opportunity to experiment with some of the products that we grow, but it also offers a wholesome meal for our customers while they enjoy swimming or picking produce.”
Although farming can be tough because you are responsible for your own livelihood, Kelly says there is no greater joy than seeing the people, especially the kids, that come out to the farm. “My favorite part of the year is pumpkin picking because I love seeing the kids come out and choosing their perfect one,” she said, “it’s even cuter when they choose one that they can’t pick up so they just start rolling it across the field.”
Products from Carrigan Farms can only be found on-site, but they give you plenty of reasons to visit all throughout the year! While you are there, you can learn about our state’s agriculture industry, the hard work of our local farmers and the importance of eating local, or as Kelly says, eating seasonal. “Eating seasonal is equally as important as eating local because it is a better use of resources and nutrition,” she said.
In the future, Kelly and Doug hope their son will take over parts of the business when he graduates this year, bringing new ideas to the table. No matter if it’s rain or shine, you can find the Carrigan family dancing to a variety of classic hits while they farm, including It’s Raining Men by the Weather Girls, Superstition by Stevie Wonder and In The Mood by Glen Miller.