Welcome to Renfrow Farms, a facet of the Renfrow Hardware business in downtown Matthews, North Carolina.
David Blackley, owner of Renfrow Hardware, purchased the hardware store from Frank Renfrow, the last generation of the Renfrow family, back in the 1980s. Mr. Frank Renfrow remained a business partner until his death in 2010, when he left his home estate to the hardware store. The Blackley family decided to use that land to start a farm that would supplement and support Renfrow Hardware’s growing gardening business.
David’s daughter Pressly, upon graduating from NC State in December 2013, moved back to town to join the family business and become the resident farmer. A large portion of the farm’s 9 acres was cultivated for a few generations, but not during the past several decades. We are working hard to rejuvenate the soil and bring things back full-circle.
There are four main components that we are currently focusing on and seeking to further develop into our main specialties in the upcoming years:
- growing and selling fresh fruits and vegetablesto downtown Matthews restaurants and to individual customers through a weekly “produce box” subscription program, at Renfrow Farms Market, our on-farm stand open late March-December, and at Renfrow Hardware periodically.
- we are preserving an important part of Matthews-area history through saving seeds– growing various unique and hard-to-find beans and cowpeas that have been grown in this area for generations and selling the seeds at Renfrow’s for home gardeners. We are also working to preserve the stories behind these seeds and the folks who grew them and shared them with us.
- growing bedding plants to sell at Renfrow Hardware in the springtime. We will acquire a greenhouse for the farm in 2015 in which various high-demand, heirloom, or hard-to-find vegetable and herb and flower plants will be grown.
- The local food movement is here to stay! We have lots of customers who are eager to learn more about gardening in their own backyards, so we are teaching gardening classes on a variety of topics and host most of the classes on the farm so that students will have the opportunity to be hands-on and learn from some of the best teachers this area has to offer.
We are also exploring some more unique farm food products. In 2013 we grew sorghum and made sorghum syrup (very similar to molasses). In 2014 we grew an old-timey variety of corn to grind into grits and cornmeal. We also have approximately 50 beehives and sell the honey at Renfrow Farms Market and the hardware store year-round.