The farmers at Lomax are involved in a variety of enterprises.

Shannon Anderson tried heirloom vegetables last year, but this season, she’s experimenting with a “pick-your-own” flower operation. She will invite people to cut zinnias, sunflowers and other varieties in her plots on the Lomax farm. It will save her the time required to cut and sell flowers at a market.

Aaron Newton, author, teacher and landscape designer, joined the incubator farm after losing his job 18 months ago. He is among several incubator farmers who recently experienced job loss. A native of Concord, Newton grows for 15 families in a CSA. His spring crops included kohlrabi, Swiss chard, collards, spinach, arugula and potatoes. He’s thinking about starting a “storage crops” CSA for winter that would offer vegetables that store well, along with some preserved crops from summer.

Newton, co-author of the book A Nation of Farmers, was recently named the Cabarrus County local food system project coordinator. In this new position, he will coordinate efforts of the Cabarrus County Food Policy Council and provide educational programs.

On a recent afternoon, farmer Colleen McDaniel and a hired helper were cutting the remaining spinach from her field, hoping to steam and freeze it. A bamboo teepee structure will hold gourds this summer for her customers at the nearby Davidson/Harrisonburg market. McDaniel also provides a CSA to nine shareholders.

McDaniel has leased a 200-year old Cabarrus farm that comes with its own tractor but no water for irrigation. So she’s thinking about growing crops fall through spring, when there is less need for supplemental water. McDaniel, who also owns a landscape business, is achieving the ultimate goal of the incubator farm — transitioning to her own land.