Staff photo by Joshua Curry
Mariah Goodman of Shelton Herb Farm helps Josephine Pierson at the Wrightsville Beach Farmers’ Market on Monday, Aug. 19.
Margaret Shelton started Shelton Herb Farm in 1986 on a piece of land in Brunswick County that had been in her family for more than 200 years. Originally, Shelton started vegetable gardening, growing herbs on the side as companions for her vegetables and for use in cooking. As time went on, Shelton’s focus switched to growing herbs. Currently, Shelton Herb Farm produces herbs, vegetables and perennials.
Located off of N.C. 17, roughly 10 miles south of downtown Wilmington, Shelton Herb Farm is owned and operated by Margaret and husband Chuck Shelton. The Sheltons grow herbs such as cilantro, dill and rosemary, but also feature quite an extensive catalog of slightly less-common varieties such as pineapple sage. The Sheltons also produce salad and garden greens, as well as plants that may be harvested as microgreens, like Chinese cabbage and watercress.
Shelton’s herbs and vegetables are grown and protected with organic methods, Margaret said. “I don’t want to eat, or handle, chemicals or pesticides, so I don’t use them. I use organic methods to alter soil pH rather than pesticides to get rid of weeds.”
Being involved in agriculture, Shelton is very conscious of her food’s origin and history. Commenting on the growing number of organic and environmentally minded vendors at the Wrightsville Beach Farmers’ Market, she said, “I enjoy the farmers’ market because I know and trust the growers out here.”
Aside from the Wrightsville Beach Farmers’ Market, Shelton Herb Farm also participates at the farmers’ markets at Poplar Grove, downtown Wilmington, Southport, Bolivia and St. James Plantation.
“I like the good people at farmers’ markets. ... I like running into old friends and also meeting new, interesting people,” Shelton said.
Shelton Herb Farms also sells its herbs and vegetables through local buying clubs, such as Feast Down East, a collective effort that creates a fully integrated local food system by linking small-scale farmers with local markets, grocery stores and restaurants. Additionally the Sheltons supply local chefs and caterers with their produce and microgreens.
Shelton Herb Farm is open to the public Monday through Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For directions, visit www.sheltonherbfarmnc.com