We take great pride in growing, harvesting and selling our produce. Lee’s Produce is a GAP certified farm (Good Agriculture Practices) and is very careful to maintain a safe and healthy farm. The majority of all our plants are started from seeds in the greenhouse. We purchase expensive hybrid seeds, which mean we get good quality plants to grow the vegetables. After the plants are at a certain size they are transplanted to the fields where they eventually produce our food. We use a lot of black plastic to grow our crops on. The black plastic has several benefits for the production of the produce. We are able to closely monitor the amount of water and fertilizer that each particular crop needs. The plastic also helps keep the soil warmer so that we get earlier harvest times than produce coming directly off the ground. The plastic also helps keep the produce off the ground which keeps us from having to use as much chemicals to control grass and weed problem and keeps the vegetables clean and higher quality.
The use of any pesticides or fungicides is closely monitored with all our crops. We use as little as possible to grow good quality fruits and vegetables. Everything that is applied to our crops is approved by NC Chemical Book. We keep very close records of what, when, and where any chemical is applied and closely follow the instructions for use. What we always tell customers that are concerned about these chemicals is two things: 1. we are not going to use anything on our crops that would cause harm to our own families and 2. the costs of these chemicals are very high so we use them only when it is absolutely necessary. We are happy to answer any questions you may have concerning this.
We also work closely with our Johnston County Extension Agent. Our agent makes routine visits to the farm to make sure everything looks good and answer any questions that we have. We are a certified Good Agriculture Practice (GAP) farm through Davis Fresh. GAP requires a number of safety and health practices take place on the farm. This is a requirement that we fulfilled in 2010. If you visit our farm you will notice that we have bee hives sitting near the crops. These bees are very helpful to the production of our crops. We pay a bee keeper to bring his hives to our farm and leave them during our harvesting season. The bees help pollinate the fruits and vegetables so that we get good quality. At the end of the season the bee keeper collects the hives and collects the honey. At the end of the season you may get a chance to try some honey that was made on our farm!
This Is a Letter About Lee’s Produce By Our Extension Agent
As the Commercial Horticulture Extension Agent for Johnston County, Ihave had several opportunities to work with Lee’s Produce. They are a family owned business who strive to provide safe, high quality produce. In 2010 Ronald Lee and Marshall Lee both attended GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) workshops, and went on to become GAP Certified. GAP Certification recognizes outstanding farmers who have taken initiative to provide safe food. GAP covers every step of the growing process, harvesting, packaging and shipping. Lee’s Produce has shown commitment to providing safe food for their family and yours by becoming GAP Certified.
Food safety is not their only concern. Lee’s Produce has also taken part in the Certified Safe Farm of North Carolina program. This program evaluates the working conditions of the farm for family members and farm workers. They passed the farm review and now have a metal sign designating them as a Certified Safe Farm.
Lee’s Produce has also helped build international relationships with other growers. Dignitaries from Georgia (the country) and the Republic of Moldavia have toured Lee’s Produce farm to gain incite on how farmers grow crops in the United States. The representatives were very impressed with the greenhouse grown tomatoes, hydroponically grown lettuce and pepper trellis system. With the help of interpreters, information was shared between all who attended the tour.
Johnston County is truly enriched by having farmers like Lee’s Produce in our County. They have high quality food and even better employees.
Amie J. Newsome, Commercial Horticulture Agent
North Carolina State University
College of Agriculture and Life Science
North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Johnston County Center