Maple Spring Gardens
Cedar Grove, NC
Maple Spring Gardens is a family owned and operated farm in northwestern Orange County, North Carolina, about 24 miles from Chapel Hill. We raise about 80 different varieties of vegetables, as well as cut flowers, small fruits and culinary and medicinal herbs for sale to local markets. Our produce is available at the Carrboro Farmers Market and Durham Farmers Markets throughout the season, and by subscription through our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).
Ken first began raising and marketing organically grown vegetables in Orange County in 1972. Ken and Libby first sold produce at the Carrboro Farmers Market and to Wellspring Grocery (now Whole Foods Market) in 1981. Farming has been Kenís full time occupation since 1984. It has always been our goal to earn a decent income from the farm while practicing good stewardship of the land. We believe the two are compatible and desire to serve as a model of a viable, environmentally sound farming operation, supplying food to the local community.
The farm is comprised of 3 contiguous tracts of land, purchased separately in 1990, 2000 and 2014 and totaling 79 acres. All of our fields were once worn out, run down, eroded tobacco land. Through the use of organic soil building practices such as composting and cover cropping we have transformed abused and neglected land into a fertile and productive farm. Improving and maintaining the health of our soil will be a lifelong endeavor. As long as the community continues to support the farm, our work will go on.
The farm is owned by Ken Dawson and Libby Outlaw. Ken is the general manager of Maple Spring Gardens. Libby works part-time off the farm as a massage therapist and part-time on the farm, primarily working with the flowers. In December 2013, our daughter, Sunshine Dawson, returned home to develop the herb component of the farm business. An additional 6-8 seasonal workers round out the farm community.