Taking care of your Loved One Is What We Do BEST!

It's no secret, most of us would like to stay in our own home as we age. Yet, sometimes our loved ones just need a little extra help to remain comfortable at home. That's where Always Best Care can help....we are dedicated to exceeding expectations....always

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Home Care In Blanch, NC

Home Care Blanch, NC

They say that your golden years are the best years of your life. For most older Americans, that's how it should be - a time to relax, reflect, and live life in a familiar place. After all, senior citizens in the U.S. have worked tirelessly to build a better economy, serve their communities, and raise families.

However, as seniors grow older, completing daily tasks like showering and enjoying activities such as visiting the historic RTBF Old Blanch Ball field gets harder without someone by their side. Unfortunately, many older Americans aren't able to rely on their adult children for help. The reality in today's world is that family members do not have the skills or time to dedicate to caring for their parents. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

Our in-home care services are for people who prefer to stay at home as they grow older but need ongoing care that family or friends cannot provide. More and more older adults prefer to live far away from long-term, institutionalized facilities and closer to the place where they feel most comfortable - their home. Home care in Blanch, NC is a safe, effective way to give your loved ones the care they need when they need it the most.

 In-Home Care Blanch, NC

location Service Areas

The Always Best Care Difference

Since 1996, Always Best Care has provided non-medical in-home care for seniors to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle as they get older. We are proud to have helped more than 25,000 seniors maintain higher levels of dignity and respect. We focus on providing seniors with the highest level of in-home care available so that they may live happily and independently.

Unlike some senior care companies, we genuinely want to be included in our clients' lives. We believe that personalized care is always the better option over a "one size fits all" approach. To make sure our senior clients receive the best care possible, we pair them with compassionate caregivers who understand their unique needs. That way, they may provide care accordingly without compromising their wellbeing.

The Always Best Care difference lies in life's little moments - where compassionate care and trustworthy experience come together to help seniors live a fruitful, healthy life. Whether you are an aging adult that can't quite keep up with life's daily tasks or the child of a senior who needs regular in-home services, Always Best Care is here to help.


“ABC has been helpful on most occasions I have been in assistance. Once or twice substitute caregivers have not been at all satisfactory but for most part they have. Our regular caregiver, Parecia Boynton, is superb but unfortunately has had serious health problems which have kept her from working. Our current substitute, Comswell Williams, is very good and we like her a lot. She would be a very acceptable regular if Parecia Boynton is not able to return.”

Samuel M.

“ABC is a great company that cares about their employees. The pay is good and everyone in the office is extremely helpful. It’s easy to get time off, (just let them know 2 weeks ahead of time). We have monthly in-service & education is offered in person or via zoom. We are given the tools we need to succeed.”

Laraine T.

“Hi my name Amiya and I have been working for ABC for almost 4 months now. I really love this job because it’s very flexible especially since I’m a full time college student. It’s really hard to find jobs like this and if you need days they don’t mind as long your attendance isn’t bad. They are also very understanding. It’s really a great job and I love helping people.”


“I love working for Always Best Care! They're understanding, have a wonderful team in the office that helps make our jobs easier as caregivers! Easy to talk to and communicate. A great atmosphere, fun activities and different things throughout different times that make the work days a little more light and fun!”

Katie B.

“Great place to work!....Smart and Hard Working group of individuals!”


“Always best care is a great company. Staff and residents are always taken care of. If anything is needed there willing to help.”

Hannah S.

“Every time I call the office the staff are very friendly. I love what I do and I really enjoy it.”

Tinisia C.

“I been with this company for Abt a year and I love working for them . They work with you,they care about ur personal life/ problems, really good at matching you with good clients.. i love that you can pick up more hours anytime they are available and we get a text letting us know what town ,time & whats needed done when they have open hours and clients”

Jamie T.

“Always best care is the best senior care company to work for. The schedulers and other staff members are always helping when times need to changed or a shift needs to be changed. You can always count on ABC to get the job done.”

Sierra J.

“I've had great success with abc”

Shanenna S.

“Thank you to Ted for helping us make the adjustment to in-home care! We appreciate your willingness to put up with some negative reactions to your companionship for Bill while I am away from home.”

Susan L.

“Cindy is the perfect fit for my needs and is always kind and respectful toward my husband. I could not have hand picked a better person.”

Pam S.

“Stacy Blackwell is my current caregiver. She is the best ever and I am 95 years old - a lot of “givers” for appraisal . Stacy is naturally effective and efficient . She regularly achieves a level of strengthening and health that evokes a confidence and optimism that I have not earlier experienced. I am now in significant part due to her professional care optimistic about my future life. I wish to continue indefinitely my care from her - please. It”

James T.

“Aliyah fits perfectly with my life style,desires and needs. Ready and able to assist me in any way that I need. I am content and satisfied with our relationship,daily tasks,chores and communication.”

Pearline D.

“Since she first helped bring my husband home from the hospital after a months’ long stay, Talayna Turner has been helping me care for him. Talayna is an excellent listener, efficient worker, and responsible helper. She has helped witpersonal care, computer problems, grocery shopping, and his laundry. I don’t know what I would do without her cheerful presence. Thanks ABC for providing a wonderful caregiver resource in Talayna!”

Joan S.

“Sam is one of the kindest most sincere owners I've met. She truly cares about her clients and staff. Everyone in the office is so helpful.”

Dana N.

“Happy to Service this area!”

Jason L.

“Great caregivers working for a great agency. Everyone wins, especially my Mom. Sometimes the caregivers are taking care of me too; I always learn a new method or better way of finishing personal chores to keep Mom safe and comfortable. Best choice to use this agency over efforts to hire private caregivers. Trust and training make it a blessing to have the assistance from ABC”

Barbara R.

“Incredibly responsive, caring, and professional! They treat your loved one as a unique person for whom they also care! We have had many experiences with home care agencies and this one is exceptional!”

Kristin B.

“I can not tell you how great this company is. I called on a Tuesday at 4 pm because the live in care giver for my father was a "no show". Channing was amazing, caring and so supportive. By Wednesday morning she had people lined up to assist in covering my father's care. Channing also went above and beyond by contacting facilities and homes to help me look into care for my father. Let me explain that she didn't give me a number-she called them on my behalf. Channing could tell I was overwhelmed and did anything she could to help. This is a amazing team of care givers that really cares. I have loved the women they sent out to care for my father. Can't say enough!!!!! J. Wilkins.”

Jo A.

“Always Best Care has provided great care for my dad. I'm grateful that they're available (sometimes on short notice) and that they're so compassionate and easy to work with.”

Jenny E.

“Excellent Service!!”

Abu Y.

What is Non-Medical Senior Care in Blanch, NC?


Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliche, it is especially true for many seniors living in America. When given a choice, older adults most often prefer to grow older at home. An AARP study found that three out of four adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age.


When you begin to think about why, it makes sense. Home offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity.


The truth is, as we age, we begin to rely on others for help. When a family is too busy or lives too far away to fulfill this role, in-home senior care is often the best solution. Home care services allow seniors to enjoy personal independence while also receiving trustworthy assistance from a trained caregiver.


At Always Best Care, we offer a comprehensive range of home care services to help seniors stay healthy while they get the help they need to remain independent. As your senior loved one gets older, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

 Senior Care Blanch, NC

Types of Elderly Care in Blanch, NC

To give our senior clients the best care possible, we offer a full spectrum of in-home care services:

Personal Care

Personal Care Services

If your senior loved one has specific care needs, our personal care services are a great choice to consider. Personal care includes the standard caregiving duties associated with companion care and includes help with tasks such as dressing and grooming. Personal care can also help individuals with chronic conditions like diabetes.

Common personal care services include assistance with:

  • Eating
  • Mobility Issues
  • Incontinence
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Grooming

Respite Care Blanch, NC
Home Helper

Home Helper Services

Sometimes, seniors need helpful reminders to maintain a high quality of life at home. If you or your senior has trouble with everyday tasks like cooking, our home helper services will be very beneficial.

Common home helper care services include assistance with:

  • Medication Reminders
  • Meal Preparation
  • Pet Care
  • Prescription Refills
  • Morning Wake-Up
  • Walking
  • Reading
 Caregivers Blanch, NC
Companionship Services

Companionship Services

Using this kind of care is a fantastic way to make life easier for you or your senior loved one. At Always Best Care, our talented caregivers often fill the role of a companion for seniors. That way, older adults can enjoy their favorite local activities, such as visiting MacDonald Woods Park with friends while also receiving the care they need daily or weekly.

Common companionship services include:

  • Grocery Shopping
  • Transportation to Appointments
  • Nutritional Assistance
  • Conversation
  • Planning Outings
  • Completing Errands
  • Transportation to Community
  • Events and Social Outings
Home Care Blanch, NC
Respite Care

Respite Care Services

According to AARP, more than 53 million adults living in the U.S. provide care to someone over 50 years old. Unfortunately, these caregivers experience stress, exhaustion, and even depression. Our respite care services help family caregivers address urgent obligations, spend time with their children, and enjoy nearby activities. Perhaps more importantly, respite care gives family members time to recharge and regroup. Taking personal time to de-stress reduces the risk of caregiver burnout. So, if you've always wanted to eat at the local Rey's Restaurant, don't feel bad. Doing so is great for both you and your loved one.

At the end of the day, our goal is to become a valuable part of your senior's daily routine. That way, we may help give them the highest quality of life possible. We know that staying at home is important for your loved one, and we are here to help make sure that is possible.

If you have been on the fence about non-medical home care, there has never been a better time than now to give your senior the care, assistance, and companionship they deserve.

 In-Home Care Blanch, NC

Benefits of Home Care in Blanch, NC

Always Best Care in-home services are for older adults who prefer to stay at home but need ongoing care that friends and family cannot provide. In-home care is a safe, effective way for seniors to age gracefully in a familiar place and live independent, non-institutionalized lives. The benefits of non-medical home care are numerous. Here are just a few reasons to consider senior care services from Always Best Care:

Always Best Care offers a full array of care options for patients at all levels of health. With our trusted elderly care services, your loved one will receive the level of care necessary for them to enjoy the highest possible quality of life.

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Aging in Place: The Preferred Choice for Most Seniors

While it's true that some seniors have complicated medical needs that prevent them from staying at home, aging in place is often the best arrangement for seniors and their families. With a trusted caregiver, seniors have the opportunity to live with a sense of dignity and do so as they see fit - something that is unavailable to many older people today.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a strange nursing home, seniors have the chance to stay at home where they feel the happiest and most comfortable.

Here are just a few of the reasons why older men and women prefer to age at home:

How much does a senior's home truly mean to them?

A study published by the American Society on Aging found that more than half of seniors say their home's emotional value means more than how much their home is worth in monetary value. It stands to reason, then, that a senior's home is where they want to grow old.

With the help of elderly care in Blanch, NC, seniors don't have to age in a sterilized care facility. Instead, they can age gracefully in the place they want to be most: their home. In contrast, seniors who move to a long-term care facility must adapt to new environments, new people, and new systems that the facility implements. At this stage in life, this kind of drastic change can be more harmful than helpful.

Institutional care facilities like nursing homes often put large groups of people together to live in one location. On any given day, dozens of staff members and caregivers run in and out of these facilities. Being around so many new people in a relatively small living environment can be dangerous for a seniors' health and wellbeing. When you consider that thousands of seniors passed away in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for in-home care is often a safer, healthier choice for seniors.

Aging in place has been shown to improve seniors' quality of life, which helps boost physical health and also helps insulate them from viral and bacterial risks found in elderly living facilities.

For many seniors, the ability to live independently with assistance from a caregiver is a priceless option. With in-home care, seniors experience a higher level of independence and freedom - much more so than in other settings like a nursing home. When a senior has the chance to age in place, they get to live life on their own terms, inside the house that they helped make into a home. More independence means more control over their personal lives, too, which leads to increased levels of fulfillment, happiness, and personal gratification. Over time, these positive feelings can manifest into a healthier, longer life.

More independence, a healthier life, and increased comfort are only a few benefits of aging in place. You have to take into consideration the role of cost and convenience. Simply put, it's usually easier and more affordable to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, seniors who age in the comfort of their homes can save thousands of dollars per month.

In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, are often less expensive than long-term solutions, which can cost upwards of six figures per year. To make matters worse, many residential care facilities are reluctant to accept long-term care insurance and other types of payment assistance.

With Always Best Care's home care services, seniors and their families have a greater level of control over their care plans. In-home care gives seniors the chance to form a bond with a trusted caregiver and also receive unmatched care that is catered to their needs. In long-term care facilities, seniors and their loved ones have much less control over their care plan and have less of a say in who provides their care.

 Elderly Care Blanch, NC

Affordable Care

In-home care is a valuable resource that empowers seniors to age in place on their own terms. However, a big concern for many families and their loved ones is how much in-home care costs. If you're worried that in-home care is too expensive, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is one of the most affordable senior care arrangements available.

Typically, hiring an Always Best Care in-home caregiver for a few hours a week is more affordable than sending your loved one to a long-term care facility. This is true even for seniors with more complex care needs.

At Always Best Care, we will work closely with you and your family to develop a Care Plan that not only meets your care needs, but your budget requirements, too. Once we discover the level of care that you or your senior need, we develop an in-home care plan that you can afford.

In addition to our flexible care options, families should also consider the following resources to help offset potential home care costs:

If your loved one qualifies, Medicaid may help reduce in-home care costs. Review your NC's Medicaid program laws and benefits, and make sure your senior's financial and medical needs meet Medicaid eligibility requirements.
Attendance and aid benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.
Many senior care services like in-home care are included in long-term care insurance options. Research different long-term care solutions to find a plan that provides coverage for senior care.
Home care can be included as part of a senior's private insurance plan. Read over your loved one's insurance policy carefully or speak with their insurance provider to determine if in-home care is covered.
Depending on the life insurance plan, you may be able to apply your policy toward long-term care. You may be able to use long-term-care coverage to help pay for in-home elderly care.
 Senior Care Blanch, NC

Compassionate Care. Trusted Caregivers.

When you or your senior loved one needs assistance managing daily tasks at home, finding a qualified caregiver can be challenging. It takes a special kind of person to provide reliable care for your senior loved one. However, a caregiver's role involves more than meal preparation and medication reminders. Many seniors rely on their caregivers for companionship, too.

Our companion care services give seniors the chance to socialize in a safe environment and engage in activities at home. These important efforts boost morale and provide much-needed relief from repetitive daily routines. A one-on-one, engaging conversation can sharpen seniors' minds and give them something in which to be excited.

At Always Best Care, we only hire care providers that we would trust to care for our own loved ones. Our senior caregivers in Blanch, NC understand how important it is to listen and communicate with their seniors. A seemingly small interaction, like a short hug goodbye, can make a major difference in a senior's day. Instead of battling against feelings of isolation, seniors begin to look forward to seeing their caregiver each week.

Understanding the nuances of senior care is just one of the reasons why our care providers are so great at their job.

Unlike some senior care companies, our caregivers must undergo extensive training before they work for Always Best Care. In addition, our caregivers receive ongoing training throughout the year. This training ensures that their standard of care matches up to the high standards we've come to expect. During this training, they will brush up on their communication skills, safety awareness, and symptom spotting. That way, your loved one receives the highest level of non-medical home care from day one.

Assisted Living Referral Services

While it's true that many seniors prefer to age at home, sometimes in-home care isn't the best fit. For those seniors and their families, choosing an assisted living facility makes more sense. Unfortunately, finding the optimal care facility is easier said than done in today's day and age. That's when Always Best Care's assisted living referral services begin to make a lot of sense.

Assisted living is a form of housing intended for seniors who require varying degrees of medical and personal attention. Accommodations may include single rooms, apartments, or shared living arrangements. Assisted living communities are typically designed to resemble a home-like environment and are physically constructed to encourage the independence of residents.

Respite Care Blanch, NC

At assisted living communities, seniors receive help with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and eating. They may also benefit from coordination of services with outside healthcare providers, and monitoring of resident activities to ensure their health, safety, and well-being. Caregivers who work at assisted living communities can also provide medication administration and personal care services for older adults.

Other services offered within assisted living communities can include some or all of the following:

  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Recreational Activities
  • Social Outings
  • Emergency Medical Response
  • Medication Monitoring
  • Family Visitation
  • Personal Care
 Caregivers Blanch, NC

At Always Best Care, our representatives can match your senior's emotional, physical, and financial needs with viable assisted living communities nearby. Results are based on comparative data, so you can select the best choice for you or your loved one.

Always Best Care works closely with local senior living communities to gain valuable knowledge that we then use to help seniors and their loved ones make informed decisions. This information can include basic care and rent, resident availability, and services provided. Because Always Best Care is compensated by these communities, we provide senior living referral services at no extra cost to you.

Some of the most popular assisted living communities to consider in our area include the following:

  • Phoenix Assisted Care LLC
  • Avendelle Assisted Living on Maynard
  • Meadowview Assisted Living Center
  • Avendelle Assisted Living at Fuquay-Varina
  • Cross Road Retirement Community
  • Calyx Living of Fuquay-Varina
Home Care Blanch, NC

For many seniors, moving into a senior living community revolves around how and when they want to make a transition to more involved care. Some seniors are more proactive about transitioning to independent living. Others choose to remain home until their care needs or other requirements are satisfied. Remember - our staff is here to help. Contact our office today to learn more about assisted living communities and how we can find a facility that exceeds your expectations.

 In-Home Care Blanch, NC

Taking the First Step with Always Best Care

The first step in getting quality in-home care starts with a personal consultation with an experienced Always Best Care Care Coordinator. This initial consultation is crucial for our team to learn more about you or your elderly loved one to discover the level of care required. Topics of this consultation typically include:

A discussion of your needs and how our trained caregivers can offer assistance in the most effective way


A draft of your care plan, which includes highly detailed notes and a framework for the care that you or your senior will receive


Discuss payment options and help coordinate billing with your insurance provider


Our caregivers are trained to spot changes that clients exhibit, like mental and physical decline. As your trusted senior care company, we will constantly assess and update your Care Plan to meet any new emotional, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs.

If you have never considered in-home care before, we understand that you and your family may have concerns about your Care Plan and its Care Coordinator. To help give you peace of mind, know that every team member and caregiver must undergo comprehensive training before being assigned to a Care Plan.

At the end of the day, we only hire the best of the best at Always Best Care. Whether you need home care in Blanch, NC 24-hours a day or only need a respite for a couple of hours, we are here to serve you.

When you're ready, we encourage you to contact your local Always Best Care representative to set up a Care Consultation. Our Care Coordinators would be happy to meet with you in person to get to know you better, discuss your needs, and help put together a personalized Care Plan specific to your needs.

 Elderly Care Blanch, NC

Latest News in Blanch, NC

This Huge Amish Farmers' Market in North Carolina Has Been Ranked as One of the Best in the United States

Disclaimer: The following information is updated for 2023. It is for educational purposes.If you're looking for some fresh produce and food from a local source, going to an Amish farmers' market is an amazing option! There's a wide variety of fresh, delicious foods to choose from whenever you visit and the following farmers' market has been ranked as one of the best in the United States,In the state of North Carolina, there are a ton of great farmers' markets but this one is one of the best in...

Disclaimer: The following information is updated for 2023. It is for educational purposes.

If you're looking for some fresh produce and food from a local source, going to an Amish farmers' market is an amazing option! There's a wide variety of fresh, delicious foods to choose from whenever you visit and the following farmers' market has been ranked as one of the best in the United States,

In the state of North Carolina, there are a ton of great farmers' markets but this one is one of the best in America.

It's called Yoder's Country Market in Caswell County, NC.

One website says, "There's an onsite deli and bakery, plus a wide selection of jarred foods, candy, baking supplies, grocery items, and more. The market is open year-round, Monday through Saturday, with some shorter hours during the winter months."

This farmers' market is open from 9 am to 5 pm on Mondays through Saturdays.

The market's website says, "Yoder's Country Market is a hidden gem in Caswell County, NC with a rich history and a big heart. It was started as a small family-run store in the early 1990s by Amish-man, Sam Yoders, and with the help of its community has since grown into a thriving business off NC Highway 86."

"Travelers from far and wide stop in at its convenient location to experience a step back in time with its welcoming atmosphere, gospel hymns, the aroma of delicious baked goods, quality meats, and cheeses from Amish County, rich hand-dipped ice cream from grass-fed cows and an extensive collection of over 4,000 sq ft of Amish bulk foods and housewares. At Yoder's, there is always something fresh and new," their website also says.

The address for this farmers' market is 90 County Home Rd, Blanch, NC 27212.

That's the Amish farmers' market in North Carolina which is considered one of the best Amish markets in the United States.

What do you think about this? Have you ever been to this farmers' market? What are your favorite Amish farmers' markets in North Carolina? Comment below and let me know!

You can click the following link to go to this Amish Farmers' Market's website:

If you liked this article, be sure to follow me here on Newsbreak for more like it. You'll also get the latest scoop on local news, food, travel, sports, business, movies, and anything else that comes to mind. As always, thanks for reading!

Blanch rock quarry is a unique treasure for Caswell

By Yvette WorshamCaswell Messenger News CorrespondentJames M. Robertson quarry, located in Blanch, is an exquisite, beautiful scenic freshwater treasure that scuba divers can enjoy. James Mack Robertson bought the land and discovered the quarry in the 1950’s. Unfortunately the maintenance and cost of the quarry was difficult for him to manage alone. The quarry was chartered out to Piedmont Diving and Rescue Association when the quarry went completely dry in 1963. The inception of the PDRA was to be a group of member clubs...

By Yvette Worsham

Caswell Messenger News Correspondent

James M. Robertson quarry, located in Blanch, is an exquisite, beautiful scenic freshwater treasure that scuba divers can enjoy. James Mack Robertson bought the land and discovered the quarry in the 1950’s. Unfortunately the maintenance and cost of the quarry was difficult for him to manage alone. The quarry was chartered out to Piedmont Diving and Rescue Association when the quarry went completely dry in 1963. The inception of the PDRA was to be a group of member clubs with the president of each club sitting on the Board of Directors and electing a set of officers; members at large made up the General Assembly. Their main goal was to restore the quarry to its keen condition.

The PDRA owns three quarries, which include the James Mack Robertson Quarry located in Blanch NC, the American Quarry in Salisbury NC, and Lake Norman Quarry located in Mooresville NC. Each quarry facility provides changing areas, picnic shelters with tables, sanitation facilities, easy entry areas, ample parking, and other amenities such as campsites.

The Piedmont Diving and Rescue Association is home to more than 1,000 members throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. Their members are individuals and families who enjoy scuba diving and a desire to have local places in which they can visit 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

You may ask what makes the JMR Quarry stand out from the rest? Well, the maximum depth of the quarry is 91- 100 feet, the average visibility is 21-25 feet, and training platforms are available. The quarry is also accompanied by a large building over 3,300 square feet with electricity where clubs and large groups can meet for social activities.

Manager of JMR Steve Hughes states, “There is plenty to see when diving at JMR.”

There is an old 707 cockpit, school bus, cabin cruiser, boats, and much more at the bottom of the quarry for divers to enjoy. This quarry also opens up as a training facility for numerous public dive teams: such as the Raleigh dive team and General Electric underwater acoustical testing.

JMR’s natural rock quarry is home to a variety of different wildlife species including turtles, Dabblers, mallards, cranes, trout, brim, blue gill, bass, catfish, and paddlefish.

Manager of JMR, Steve Hughes with wife Karen Hughes also owns Black Pearl Scuba which is located at 14431 Wyatts Way, Huddleston, VA. 24104. Black Pearl Scuba is Lynchburg’s premier Scuba Diving Center offering a wide range of dive certifications, equipment, services, and more. If you are interested in becoming a member of these inshore freshwater dive sites, please go to and click on membership.

Farming life means a lot to local farmer

If the Slades of Caswell County don’t know anything else, they know how to plant tobacco! Steven Slade of Blanch comes from a long line of tobacco farmers that date all the way back to the 1700’s. The sign that stands at the end of the Bertha Wilson Blanch is an important emblem of the heritage that connected the Slade Family to the origination of Bright Leaf Tobacco.Slade’s fondest memories are planting tobacco with his dad; back then they had a mule, Ford 601, and a Cub Cultivating tractor.Steven Slade...

If the Slades of Caswell County don’t know anything else, they know how to plant tobacco! Steven Slade of Blanch comes from a long line of tobacco farmers that date all the way back to the 1700’s. The sign that stands at the end of the Bertha Wilson Blanch is an important emblem of the heritage that connected the Slade Family to the origination of Bright Leaf Tobacco.

Slade’s fondest memories are planting tobacco with his dad; back then they had a mule, Ford 601, and a Cub Cultivating tractor.

Steven Slade planted and maintained his first tobacco crop at the early age of 15 years old. He denoted the physical and economical changes that he has seen in his years of being a tobacco farmer. The physical changes that he has seen over the years are going from planting beds to greenhouses; stick barns to buckbarns; and a one row system to a four row system with continuous rows being added.

In recent years the economic strains it has placed on farmers have been astronomical. Slade says,”Two years ago, fertilizer was $790 a ton compared to now being $1,438 a ton and propane was $0.85 a gallon compared to now being $1.87 a gallon.”

He’s not only combating prices, but his labor costs have also increased to employee pay being around $14 to $16 an hour.

Slade had an epiphany in November of this year, when he realized that the inflated prices and labor costs were going to push him to retire from farming altogether. He shared that tobacco farming gave him an avenue to be self-sufficient and work at his own pace. He explains that he enjoyed being on the tractor, when it was just him and the land.

He also considersthe most exciting part of raising tobacco as being the curing process since this process lends itself to be very meticulous and challenging.

If you ask Slade about his retirement from tobacco farming, he will tell you he is semi-retiring. He plans to pick up more time working at Thomas Oil Company, a place where until now he has only worked throughout the winter. The Slade family will always be remembered and recognized for its tribute to the history of Bright Leaf Tobacco. He will be the last Slade to raise tobacco, but the legacy of their hard work and dedication will live on forever.

Family business Carolina Blooms has much to offer to beautify Caswell County

How does an idle, 200-acre dairy farm reinvent itself into a thriving cut-flower business in a matter of four short years?That’s a very good question! The Caswell Messenger went out to nearby Blanch on a rainy Tuesday to find the answers from co-owners Sarah Shumaker and her daughters, Hannah Lynch and Rachel Manning of Carolina Blooms.“Actually, Rachel and Hannah started it three years ago and basically didn’t know about gardening or anything, before that,” remarked their mother, Sarah Shumaker.&...

How does an idle, 200-acre dairy farm reinvent itself into a thriving cut-flower business in a matter of four short years?

That’s a very good question! The Caswell Messenger went out to nearby Blanch on a rainy Tuesday to find the answers from co-owners Sarah Shumaker and her daughters, Hannah Lynch and Rachel Manning of Carolina Blooms.

“Actually, Rachel and Hannah started it three years ago and basically didn’t know about gardening or anything, before that,” remarked their mother, Sarah Shumaker.

“But Rachel and Hannah had the idea that they wanted to start a business.”

Daughter Hannah explained, “We thought flowers were something we both enjoyed and wanted to learn more about. So, after hundreds of different ideas, we decided on what we wanted to do together. We started this in 2018 and this is our fourth growing season. My mother (Sarah) joined us a year later.”

Ms. Shumaker explains that the property used to be a dairy, so she was involved in that and hadn’t had a public job in about eight years. “When Hannah and Rachel started the business, I was their reference because I’d always gardened, and I’ve grown flowers and done all that!”

“She’s a real green thumb,” added a smiling Hannah.

Rachel started growing some flowers for practice at her house and Hannah was living in that double-wide next to the Shumakers. She took over some of her mother’s vegetable garden to grow flowers and basically get the “hang” of it. She continues, “My husband’s dad bought this farm back in the 30’s and my husband John and I took over in 1980 and it was called Shumaker Farm. It was a dairy farm. We were a Grade A dairy (meaning fluid-grade milk, safe for consumption) that sold retail milk. We milked 125 cows, twice a day, and we had up to 300 cows, and grew 500 acres of corn, wheat and soybeans, which was feed for the animals.”

When the farm went out of business in December of 2018, the Shumakers kept all these land resources, this manure, the compost, but sold most of the cows in December. That left about 50 cows that weren’t milking so they gradually got rid of those, too.

Ms. Shumaker added, “We’re sitting in the original room where we had the milk tank. And you see that hole in the wall right there? (About 8 inches wide) That’s where they would put the hose in here to pump out the milk. And right next door to us where we do a lot of flower “work,” was a six-stall stanchion (holding) barn where the cows were milked. In the early 90’s, we modernized this building over here and had a “modern milking parlor” where we had 16 milking stations and built a modern “tank room”, too.”

“So, now,” chimed in Hannah, “We’re re-purposing everything.”

As far as the flower business, they all have kind of different roles and they’ve been changing. They did a lot of reading about people who are well-known for growing ‘cut-flowers’ like author Lisa Ziegler. The nationally known author is their number one resource and lives in Norfolk, Virginia.

Hannah went on: “When Rachel and I started, we had basic flowers that were very easy to grow like sun flowers and zinnias. Anything that’s not potted, we were growing specialty-cut flowers, so they had to have long stems. We also used ornamental basil (lemon and cinnamon) the first year. Basil gives a bouquet fragrance, color, and is an attractive filler. We grow oregano, too, and that can add a different, sweet fragrance to our bouquets. I think that honestly the reason we’re still in business is that we tried to budget ourselves and use the money that we saved from our first year to help double production for the second year.”

At this point, they have quadrupled the number of flowers, but also increased the varieties of which they have grown. Another thing the girls have learned about cut flowers is what to use for greenery (background accent for bouquet presentation) so now they are using small eucalyptus tree cuttings.

“Just over these three years, we’ve figured out what works well in bouquets, what works well for us to successfully grow, and some things we just tried to figure out,” said Ms. Shumaker.

On building business: “Right now, the main ways we have marketed our business have been social media (Instagram, Facebook, our website and YouTube), word of mouth, markets and getting our name out there. We have and value all our repeat customers, which also generates referrals. The local Caswell Farmer’s market is open in the afternoon and our flowers didn’t do too well in all that summer heat. We have had better luck up at the Danville Farmer’s Market because it’s held on Saturday morning when it’s cooler and you’re selling indoors. This year, we’re the only ones selling cut flowers there, so it went well!” Suppling theirflowers in different venues is helping them to find out their niche in the market.

“We’ve kind of done whatever the customer wanted: We’ve done weddings, events, birthdays, and dance recitals (providing bouquets to a recital at Jodie Carroll Dance Company). The larger markets for cut-flowers like Trader Joe’s are something we have thought about, but we don’t have the volume of flowers (‘yet!’) to get into it. Basically, I’m growing the flowers by myself. Hannah comes and helps but she works full-time at Agricultural Research in Cary and works from home. She also has a one-year-old, Waylon” explained Ms. Shumaker.

Rachel also has a full-time job, works at Dewberry’s in Danville and has two young children. She’s an environmental scientist. “This whole family is science and ag people, even though I was a nurse. My oldest daughter, Lucia, lives in Seattle, Washington and went to Duke; she’s also a marine biologist. And my other daughter, Katherine, works at Dewberry’s, too, and she’s another environmental scientist!”

All this scholarly talent from one dairy farm! Can’t be just the milk!

“Another thing I would say about how we have grown is that we now have a high tunnel ( also known as a cold frame) this year. It provides much more versatility in our growing capabilities. We started with germinating all of our seeds under the tank room lights, which is a home-made incubator and our germination center. We make soil blocks, ourselves, to put the seeds in and we keep them watered and warm. We’ve got a heater, thermostatically controlled, and when they start germinating, we put them right here in these racks. The lights are ordinary florescent and not grow lights. They aid the plant in photosynthesis.”

The huge six-foot stainless-steel grow rack was loaded with the germinating seeds for future flower production.

“Carolina Blooms doesn’t use chemicals as an insecticide, but hang down strips of sticky flypaper over the growing seedlings for our pest control. In some cases, we use an organic pesticide, Neem Oil, which is a vegetable oil made from an Indian fruit. We use it to spray for Japanese beetles. Actually, we don’t really have much of a bug problem.”

From the growing rack, the seedlings are transferred to the tunnels or to grow outside in natural elements.

“Just these last couple of years we’ve started to grow our favorite specialty flowers, which are snapdragons. We start those in January. We now have an abundance of snapdragons so we’re switching our focus to other spring flowers, where we’ve had the most success. Right now, we’re having more business than we’ve ever had. That’s good because I don’t really want to get out and garden when it’s 95 degrees.” said Ms. Shumaker.

“Actually, I’m going to start some snapdragon seeds in a little while and over-winter them. We put them in the tunnels and even when the temperatures get down to twenty degrees, the roots continue to grow. Our mentor, Lisa Ziegler talks about doing this in her book, ‘Cool Flowers’ (St. Lynn’s Press, Amazon. $16.99). That is our flower bible!”

She explains that she moved here in the late 70’s and back then, it was the whole sustainable thing where she had sheep and goats, did her own sewing, canning and produced everything themselves. “That was definitely what I was into,” said Ms. Shumaker, sounding a little like a tie-dye “hippy chick!”

“We call her the Pioneer Woman! She can do anything!” laughed daughter, Hannah.

“We’re not really florists. We’re more flower farmers! We have learned and have done some flower arranging, but you have to have patient, relaxed customers for that! We’ve done classes here at the farm, too. We supplied the flowers for Carolyn Brackin over at a Milton (NC) Historical Society ‘flowerpot.’ She’s the floral arranger for Averett University in Danville.”

They started in March with Easter tulips with Mother’s Day being the biggest revenue-maker and they’re trying to figure out how to get more flowers ready before the big spring events hit.

“It would be great if we could cut flowers in February for Valentine’s Day, but it’s just too cold around here. We’re trying to find our balance between Hannah and Rachel working full time at other jobs and having to watch the three grand kids (Waylon, Rhett and Riley), too. Right now, we have little or no extra free time. We think about growing the business and we could do all kinds of things, but is that what we really want to do right now?”

queried Ms. Shumaker.

Sometimes finding the right yin and yang in a business model can be elusive. Sarah Shumaker and her daughters at Carolina Blooms seem to be getting close.

They just need a little more time and light.

For more information;

Carolina Blooms

1246 County Home Rd., Blanch, NC 27212



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