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Farm City Day honors farm family of the year

Mike Pack Jr. and Mike Pack Sr., who operate M&M Berry Farm, were honored as Farm City Day Farmers of the Year. Mike Pack Jr. and Mike Pack Sr., who operate M&M Berry Farm, were honored as Farm City Day Farmers of the Year.

A father-and-son team who bulldozed their apple orchard and replaced it with blackberry vines was honored Saturday as the Farm City Day Farmers of the Year at the annual celebration of Henderson County's agriculture heritage at Jackson Park.

 

Mike Pack Sr. and Mike Pack Jr., who trace their family farm back 150 years, pushed over their apple trees seven years ago and switched to blackberries. The farm was losing money on apples, Mike Sr. said, when a surplus of apples from Washington state flooded the market and dropped the price on the East Coast.

The Packs now grow 20 acres of blackberries at their M&M Berry Farm on Pace Road near Edneyville Elementary School. "And we're planting more, which is crazy," Pack said. "A farmer's got to be a little bit crazy."

 

 

"In the past two years,Terry MaybinTerry Maybin was honored for 32 years of service to Farm City Day. M&M Berry Farm has grown by leaps and bounds to become a storage and distribution center for North Bay Produce, which is a grower owned cooperative that provides year-round fresh fruit throughout North America, Europe, and Asia," said Karen Blaedow, the berry specialist at the Agriculture Extension Service.  The Packs are innovative leaders in the North Carolina blackberry industry, she said, and often work with N.C. State University and Cooperative Extension Service to grow test plots. "M&M Berry Farm exemplifies best management practices for producing safe and nutritious North Carolina blackberries and is one of the many reasons they have been selected for our Farm City Day Farmer of the Year Award," Blaedow said.

Terry Maybin was honored as the Farm City Day for more than 20 years of service. Noland Ramsey shucked corn the fastest.Noland Ramsey shucked corn the fastest.One of the "pocket ladies" who wore an old-fashioned apron and bonnet to walk the ground and give out candy, school supplies and other items to children, Maybin also served as Farm City Day treasurer for 18 years. "She married into Farm City Day and she's been such a big help" since 1987, said Karen Saine, who presented the award.

Winner of the annual corn shuckin' contest was Noland Ramsey, a retired school principal and beef cattle farmer from Dana.