If you have been to a local farmers market this summer, you have probably seen Eco Farm’s table spilling over with cucumbers, squash, zucchini, shitake mushrooms, flowers, tomatoes, and more. Eco joins the flock of local farmers and artisans that set up at the Carrboro farmers’ market every Wednesday and Saturday all year, rain or shine. The Carrboro market is one of five markets where Cindy and Mike Soehner’s family sell their vegetables, fruits, flowers, and hand-knitted goods. Nichole, Cindy and Mike’s daughter, works four of the five farmers’ markets, including Southern Village, Carrboro, Fearrington, and UNC Hospitals. I sat down to talk with Nichole after the Southern Village farmers’ market about their family farm and her farmers’ market experiences.
There is no shortage of fresh food on the Soehner’s table at home, Nichole says. Cindy loves to cook lunch for the family and others working on the farm. Nichole’s favorite family recipe is Spanakopita, a spinach pie with feta cheese and mushrooms.
A quilted sign that hangs from the Eco Farm table reads “Morganic,” a term Nichole says the Soehners made-up to signify that their farm uses organic practices without the USDA certification and expensive fees that come along with it. Nichole says most customers understand that USDA requirements do not always entail the best organic practices; therefore, Eco Farm is “morganic.”
The significance of “Eco” to the Soehners includes “Ecology, or the positive relationship between people and our environment.” A lesser known meaning of “Eco” is its reference to the surname of Cindy’s grandparents, Economopoulos, who left their farm in Greece and moved to Long Island in 1904. The Soehner family has cultivated a farm that produces ecologically sound food, a healthy life-style and strong family ties: all invaluable services to our local community.