ELON, NC – Andrew Long is a veteran, having served in our country’s armed forces, including overseas, from 2010 – 2014.

Night patrol was a regular duty for Long and his fellow soldiers. During a full moon, the light provided by the heavens made patrolling a bit easier and gave the troops a morale boost. They called such situations, when moonlight was at its peak, “full lume.”

After leaving military service, Long and his wife decided to move to central North Carolina to grow vegetables and sell to the markets in that region of the state.

In 2020, the couple bought an old tobacco farm in Alamance County. They came up with the name for their farm – Full Lume – one night when exploring the farm by moonlight.

Long is originally from New Jersey. After leaving the military, he volunteered for a nonprofit in Maryland which grows food for veterans. It was there that he began learning how to raise produce.

Andrew Long grows an assortment of vegetable crops on an old tobacco farm. He is working on expanding his acreage. Photo by Karl H. Kazaks

Still, jumping into self-directed vegetable growing was a big change. “I kind of just went for it,” he recalled. “I know I liked being outside. I knew I liked hard work.”

Last year, Long grew a little over one acre of vegetables, doing most of the work himself, with a little part-time help. Long is developing another two acres for cultivation, with the long-term goal of getting to 10 acres of production, including some U-pick.

Full Lume is developing a restaurant supply business and also sells at farmers markets in Elon and Hillsborough. “I spend a lot of effort in how the produce looks at the market,” Long said, “stacking displays high, paying attention to arrangements of color.”

Long farms mostly organically, using Actinovate® on tomatoes and PyGanic® on cucumbers. He also grows cucumbers on trellises, which helps control disease and pest pressure. In winter, Long offers cool season and root crops such as cabbage, sweet potatoes and daikons for sale.

Because the farm used to be a tobacco farm, there are old concrete pads which used to support bulk curing barns. On one of the concrete pads, Long erected a greenhouse, heated with a wood stove.

For more about Full Lume Farm, see fulllumefarm.com.

by Karl H. Kazaks