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Mountain Horticultural Crops Research & Extension Center

Jeff Chandler

Director of Research & Extension

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455 Research Drive
Mills River, North Carolina  28759
PHONE: (828) 684-3562

North Carolina State University has maintained a high level of visibility in western North Carolina for over a century. In 1905, a tract of land, located twelve miles west of Hendersonville, NC was purchased for horticultural research. Throughout the early 1900s, branch stations were in western NC, although records are lost for much of the period. Around 1949, what is now known as the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station and Extension Center was started on leased land in the Mills River valley in Henderson County. A permanent station was established in 1959 at its current location to serve the developing horticulture industry in the mountain sections of NC. The first NC State University departmental research faculty, consisting of an entomologist, a soil scientist, a plant pathologist, a horticulturist, and a pomologist, were assigned to the station. In 1985 the State Legislature appropriated funding to establish the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center to be built on the MHCRS property. MHCRS has a varied topography and climate with land conducive to crop research and evaluation of cultural practices of the region. MHCRS is located in the Southern Appalachians in the French Broad River basin with a base elevation of 2,069 feet.

The adjacent Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center serves as the office and laboratory headquarters for resident research and N.C. Cooperative Extension Service.


Construction on the 23,500 sq. ft. facility, comprised of 6 laboratories, office space and a 200-seat auditorium, was completed in 1987. The Center now encompasses the research station operations and has grown to 397 acres. The Center is home to research and extension faculty and staff from several academic departments in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the College of Natural Resources. In addition, there are District administrative offices for N.C. Cooperative Extension housed at the Center, as well as the Mountain Satellite Office of the Science House. The growth and development of the Center is based on the success of its faculty and staff as leaders in laboratory, greenhouse, and field studies vitally important to Western North Carolina’s agricultural economy. Located in the Southern Appalachians in the French Broad River basin at a base elevation of 2,069 feet, MHCREC has a varied topography and climate conducive to crop research and evaluation of cultural practices of the region. Core elements of the research program at the Center are tomatoes, apples, and ornamental landscape crops. Additional research efforts include vegetables, peaches, biofuel crops, corn, soybeans as well as various specialty and alternative crops.

Community Partnership

Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station participates with food banks and gleaning programs providing more than 100,000 pounds of produce to those in need over the past three years. To save on costs and as a societal benefit the station participates in the Governor’s Community Work Program providing free labor from Correctional Centers. The on-site Wastewater Demonstration Facility acts as a major training area for agents, specialists, installers and operators promoting the use of the most appropriate technologies for a given site. MHCREC hosts numerous agricultural and community meetings throughout the year at its meeting facilities.


The station hosts numerous tours, workshops and field days. The Fresh Market Tomato and Vegetable Field Day is held annually on the station. The Apple and Peach Field Day and Nursery and Landscape Field Day are held every other year. The research program provides tours for growers, Master Gardeners, schools, professionals, businesses and the public.

NCDA&CS Research Stations Division, Teresa Lambert, Director
Mailing Address: 1001 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1001
Physical Address:2 W. Edenton Street, Raleigh, NC 27601
Phone: (919) 707-3236   FAX: (919) 733-1754

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