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ABOUT LEWIS FARM

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100% ORGANIC, FREE RANGE & GMO FREE

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OUR STORY

1st Generation Urban Farm

Ben and Erin started Coop's Blooms in 2017 with dreams of becoming flower farmers. While neither of us had ever farmed before we had big dreams. But before we talk about those dreams let talk about how how we met. 

Ben lived in Alexandria, Virginia until the age of 13 when my family moved to Sugar Land, Texas. While in Texas I became a pretty good soccer player. When not playing soccer I enjoyed cooking and hanging with friends. I went on to play two years of Junior College soccer and finished my career at Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida. My senior year at Barry we traveled to San Antonio and played University of the Incarnate Word.  Of course I happened to score the winning goal against UIW. It was an amazing trip. Upon graduation from Barry I became the Graduate Assistant Coach at the University of the Incarnate Word, which is where I met Erin!

Erin also played soccer throughout her youth and high school and developed into a really good soccer player as well. She earned a scholarship to the University of the Incarnate Word. Erin played four years of soccer at UIW and earned a Bachelors Degree in Nursing. She eventually found her passion in life which is nursing and specifically the really sick babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit or NICU. Erin has been working in the NICU since 2006 at hospitals in San Antonio, Houston, and now in Charlotte. Erin will continue to work full-time as a nurse and help part-time farming. 

So how and why did we become farmers? I'll have to backtrack a little bit. In April 2006, two weeks after getting married I started having numbness in my hand. Over the course of a few days and multiple tests, hospitals visits, worsening symptoms I was finally diagnosed with MS or Multiple Sclerosis. I had never as much as broken a bone, torn a muscle, so this was all new. I would recover, but over next 9 years I would have flare ups every few years that would put me out of commission for several months. My biggest issue has always been heat intolerance.

In 2015 we finally decided it was time to move out of the Texas heat, so we chose Matthews, NC. Erin's parents were retired and willing to move, my Dad and step mom were willing to move from DC to NC, Erin's sister and husband were willing to move, so we all moved!

Well the day prior to moving I found out I had thyroid cancer. As google will tell you it's the "good" cancer. At this point in our marriage and life, we've learned to just roll with the punches. Life could always be worse. So after moving and settling into new jobs, I had surgery. 

Once moving to our new home we started a small garden, started taking local classes about gardening, and we were hooked. Everything our first year gardening grew amazing, the flavor was amazing, and we had so much fun. A few garden expansions and we were day dreaming about what to grow on our property. Now in 2017 we were busy planting and getting ready to start our first real season farming and I had the worst flare up I've ever had with my MS and Erin was pregnant with her first of two surrogate journeys. So we weren't really able to do any farming. So we put the plans on hold for a few years. 

I started a new MS therapy and life moved on. At the time I was working as a manager a vet clinic and spent most of my days dreaming about working outside and how to make farming work. I always felt better moving and staying busy. Sitting down for 40-50 hours a week, just wasn't my style. Well fast forward to 2019-2020 just when life was almost "normal" and farming was looking like it was going to happen my cancer came back...this time I had thyroid cancer of the lymph nodes. I had surgery in late 2020 and life did move on. I've always kinda lived by the motto, "Make excuses TO DO things, not excuses not to do things."

 

In 2021 we made it happen! We broke ground in Feb 2021 and started building out our veggie beds. May of 2021 we started selling at the Mint Hill Farmers Market.

In 2022 we launched our CSA program with our good friends from Queen City Farmacy and began selling at the Cotswold Farmers Market. In 2024 we're expanding our CSA shares and doing a 10 week Spring and 10 week Fall/Winter and will begin selling through some wholesale accounts. We will also be focusing on increasing our flower production.  

 

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ABOUT COOP'S BLOOMS

Coop's Blooms is a small urban farm located in Matthews, NC. Our total property is 3 acres and of the 3 acres we grow on 1/2 to 3/4 of an acre. We grow seasonal produce, cut flowers, fruit, and have a small flock of chickens. What started off as a hobby in 2017, quickly spiraled out of control to dreams of farming by 2020.

We currently have 90, 50 foot beds in production. Our vegetable beds are broken up into 7 blocks. Each block consists of 10 beds which are 30 inches wide with 18 inch pathways. In addition to the vegetables we have 350 strawberry plants, 60 rabbiteye blueberry bushes, 200 feet of blackberries, and roughly 50 or so fruit trees. Last but certainly not least is our cut flower garden which continues to expand. We currently have 20, 50 foot beds and are expanding to add peonies and more perennial flowers.  

In 2023, added two caterpillar tunnels which added 8, 100 foot beds. In the summer of 2023 we will add another 16 x 100 ft foot tunnel and 30 x 60 foot greenhouse. 

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FARMING PRACTICES

We practice limited tillage, pesticide free, and chemical free farming practices.

What is limited tillage? Limited tillage means when we first established our growing space we tilled the space and won't till again. We loosen the soil as needed with a tool called a broadfork and mix in compost and amendments with a drill operated tool called a tilther. We believe that by these methods, we're able to build very fertile soil that supports healthy plans and nutrient dense food.

What is pesticide free? We do not use any harmful pesticides on our farm. We use a combination of beneficial plants, beneficial insects, netting, and good soil health to deal with pest issues. In the event we have pest issues that require additional methods we only use OMRI organic certified sprays. An example of these would be neem oil or Bacillus Thuringiensis also known as B.T. 

What is chemical free? We do not use any chemical fertilizers on our farm. Each year we have our soil tested and add nutrients based on those tests. The majority of our soil amendments come from compost.

Chickens!!! We almost forgot about our chickens. Many of them do have names, some more creative than others, but they're pretty spoiled. We have waste free feeders, automatic waterers, and a covered area for them to get away from the elements. We feed our chickens USDA organic certified feed that we purchase from our local tractor supply.  In addition to feed they also get all of the edible scraps from the gardens. This includes weeds, leaves, and unsellable produce.  

In 2023, we will be obtaining our Naturally Certified Grown Certification. More information to come on that certification

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Details

11410 Idlewild Rd

Matthews, NC 28105

980-339-2765

coopsblooms@gmail.com

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