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Jeanine Davis

Associate Professor & Extension Specialist

455 Research Drive, Mills River, NC 28759


Dr. Jeanine Davis helps farmers improve the sustainability and profitability of their farms by optimizing organic production systems, introducing and developing new crops, and improving the sustainability of commercial vegetable production systems. “My vision is that someday, in the not too distant future, everyone will have access to local fresh fruits and vegetables because there will be successful farms everywhere, and every family will have a personal garden or access to a community food garden,” says Davis. She has worked with N.C. State for more than 30 years.

Her research emphasis is on organic agriculture in western North Carolina, culinary and medicinal herbs, non-timber forest products, hemp, hops, truffles and other specialty crops. Current research projects Dr. Davis and her staff are involved in are scattered across three research stations in North Carolina and on-farm trials in North Carolina and South Carolina. Their offices, labs, and greenhouses are located at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Mills River. There they have the majority of their hops breeding work, led by research specialist and breeder, Dr. Luping Qu. There is a twenty foot high trellis hop yard planted with popular commercial hop varieties and new breeding lines and two smaller hop yards specifically for the hop breeding program. At the Mills River station they also have research and demonstration plots on native woodland medicinals and Chinese medicinal herbs. Most recently they added floral (CBD) hemp studies, including variety trials (with Dr. David Suchoff in Crop and Soil Sciences), harvest date x planting date studies, and drying research (using flue-cured tobacco barns). The majority of their field research is at the Mountain Research Station in Waynesville. There they have a certified organic research unit where they are involved in a multi-state project (TOMI) to breed tomatoes specifically for organic farmers, a multi-state project (Southeast Organic Partnership) to improve insect control on vegetables, and a heirloom-type hybrid tomato project led by tomato breeder, Dr. Dilip Panthee. These organic vegetable studies are complimented by twenty trials on certified organic farms in North Carolina and South Carolina. They are also part of a large multi-state effort (EBP) to develop broccoli varieties specifically for the East Coast producers. Long-term research associate, Margaret Bloomquist, oversees those large trials at the Waynesville research station and two on-farm studies in the area. The broccoli studies are not organic. They also have two Black Perigord truffle orchards (one is producing) at the Waynesville research station and plan to install a third one this year. There research assistants, Leonora Stefanile and Katie Learn, oversee a re-inoculation study, a light study, and a woodash study. Luping Qu maintains part of his hops breeding program at this research station. They also collaborate on grain and fiber hemp studies on this station with Dr. David Suchoff. On the Piedmont Research Station in Salisbury, they have another floral (CBD) hemp planting date x harvest date study and collaborate with Dr. Suchoff on hemp variety trials.

In addition to research, Dr. Davis and her staff have an active Extension program. They organize and participate in many conferences, workshops, and field days across the state, region, and country. A multi-state Extension program they are very involved in is the Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition.  Research associate Margaret Bloomquist is a lead organizer for the WNC Medicinal Herb Growers and its subgroup, the Woodland Stewards. Their events, publications, news updates, and articles can be found on the New Crops & Organics website and the NC Extension Hemp website. They also make good use of social media, including Facebook and Twitter.

Dr. Davis is the lead author of the book “Growing and Marketing Ginseng, Goldenseal and Other Woodland Medicinals”. She is a founding board member of the Organic Growers School and the NC Natural Products Association and an advisor to the NC Herb Association and the NC Tomato Growers Association.

Davis’s numerous professional honors include the American Society for Horticultural Science Fellow of the Society, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association Activist of the Year Award, United Natural Products Alliance-NC Chapter Visionary Leadership Award,  and the North Carolina Vegetable Growers Association Support Award. She has been recognized five times with the Extension Blue Ribbon Publication Award from the Southern Region – American Society for Horticultural Science.

Davis is located at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research & Extension Center in Mills River.


PhD Horticulture Washington State University 1987

MS Horticulture Washington State University 1983

BS Horticulture Delaware Valley College 1980


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