Professor owns ‘Half Hippie Farm’

Anne Buie

One professor doesn’t just teach classes or advise the juggling club, he also owns a “you weigh, you pay” farm in one of the oldest houses in Watauga County.

Geology professor Brian Zimmer owns the “Half Hippie Farm,” two-and-a-half acres where he grows carrots, onions, cabbage, broccoli and other vegetables. The food is grown organically, Zimmer said.

The farm uses a “you weigh, you pay” method, which includes an unmanned produce stand.

The customer weighs the food they would like and pays based on the weight, Zimmer said.

Customers can also pay $10 for a handpicked bag of groceries delivered by Zimmer to the customer’s house.

“Ultimately, the goal is just, we’re not going to make a lot of money at it, but we think clean food is really important and we want to make sure it’s available to anybody that wants to, you know, take an effort to get it,” Zimmer said.

The farm is located outside of Boone and has been featured as part of the Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture Farm Tour. This has brought several hundred visitors to the farm, Zimmer said.

The farm was started last year when Zimmer’s girlfriend quit her job. They traded a neighbor eggs, rabbit meat and flowers to plough their front yard.

They had grown large gardens in the past, but that was the first year they sold food.

“We knew there were no U-pick veggie places in the High Country, and we wanted to make clean food cheaper for the folks in our community, so we figured U-pick was the way to go,” Zimmer said.

Zimmer has had help from other farms to make his farm successful, he said.

“Our whole community has been very supportive,” Zimmer said.

Mathematics professor Terry Anderson buys food from Zimmer’s garden.

“I buy there because the vegetable and eggs are pesticide-free and local so that they are fresher and tastier than those in grocery stores,” Anderson said.

Anderson said he has had a positive experience at the “Half Hippie Farm” and likes the variety and value of the produce.

“The sugar snaps peas are crunchier, kale is full and leafy, peppers have a shiny glow, spinach is a dark, lustrous green and so on with all the veggies,” Anderson said.

Story: JOSH COLENDA, Intern News Reporter