John started working with veggies and plants about 7 years ago with a large organic farm program during high school which piqued his interest and inspired him to take an apprenticeship with Nook & Cranny Farm in Caroline. Working with Bob Tuori taught him a lot about the mechanics of farming and inspired his love of hot chili peppers. Add to that lots of reading and research and three years ago John was ready to start farming on his own in his current location.
In addition to renting kitchen space to Mojo’s he also grows most of the specialty peppers we use in our sauces including habaneros, ghost & scotch bonnet peppers. Last season he grew all the Heirloom tomatoes (for the Smokin’ Hot Heirloom Sauce) and provided some of the Sunshine Kobocha squash we use for the Spooky Pumpkin and Harvest Pumpkin sauces.
In addition to growing for Mojo’s John grows ginger and turmeric, a project inspired by his travels to Hawaii where he worked on a ginger farm. He heard these tropical plants could be grown here in hoop houses and wanted to try it out. “They actually do pretty well here with a little extra love.” He told us “They’re actually considered a ‘baby’ or ‘fresh’ ginger says it has no papery brown skin because of the short growing season”
This season, in addition to running the farm, John plans to start a small 30 member CSA in response to the increased desire in the community for more locally grown produce. He plans to provide greens and roots in the spring, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant during the summer months, and squash, onions, and potatoes in the fall.
For more information or to contact John please visit his website at: www.ShagbarkGardens.com