Isaiah and Annie Louise Perkinson, Flying Cloud Farm
Grant Award: $6,000 — Mobile Sorghum Operation
Annie and Isaiah are building mobile sorghum processing trailers to turn sorghum cane grown on the farm into sweet sorghum syrup. The trailers allow them to process syrup near their farm stand, which is on the high-traffic Hwy 74A in Fairview, so that visitors to the farm can learn about molasses making.
Flying Cloud’s self-serve produce stand is their largest single market as measured by revenue and traffic. Customers, who are excited to learn about the farm, have expressed interest in seeing the sorghum making.
“We will be able to share the Appalachian tradition of sorghum molasses with the locals and tourists coming to our farm stand, and add another stream of revenue to our farm income,” Annie said.
Annie and Isaiah have been growing sorghum since 2008 and processing at locations in other counties. Having the facility on site not only saves in travel and time, but also adds an agritourism element to their farm.
One trailer is for the mill, the machine that presses the green juice out of the cane, and the second trailer is
for the wood-fired cooker where the juice is transformed into molasses. Since the equipment is on wheels, it can be stored in covered barns when not in use.
The value-added product adds to year-round income. They also expect to employ apprentices for a longer season since sorghum is processed in the fall. The syrup is a popular product at fall and winter markets.
Annie and Isaiah have farmed since 1999 and full-time since 2008, selling at four farmer’s markets, to 85 Community Supported Agriculture members, to floral design customers and to restaurants in Asheville.