History of the Farm
The original 35-acre farm was purchased in September 1975 and has been added to over the years, first by a 16-acre growing parcel in the early 1980s and then by 160 acres in the mid-1990s.
The soils on the farm are upper coastal plain, hilly to gently rolling deep sands, with abundant ground water and low organic matter. Over the years we have added thousands of tons of organic matter to our growing areas, which constitute about 20 acres of the 210 acres on the farm. This has greatly increased productivity and reduced our dependence on purchased inputs into the farm.
Mr. Frank and Mrs. Pat planted the first acre of blueberries in 1976 while working on a project with Dr. Booker T. Whatley from Tuskegee University. This led to the 10 acres we currently have in blueberry production, as well as plantings of muscadine grapes, blackberries, and other small fruits. We experimented with many crops, cropping systems, cultural practices, and have arrived where we are today — still experimenting.
Sheep, rabbits, chickens, dairy cattle, beef cattle, and pigs have been added over the years to harvest the grasses that grow abundantly, to move nutrients on the farm, and to manage crop residues. Our current practices include management-intensive grazing, cover crops, winter annual legumes, drip irrigation on all fruit and vegetable crops, compost, deep straw mulches, crop rotations, and trap crops for pest control. This very complicated system is a wonder-filled challenge, which is exactly what makes a farm and a farmer be so alive.
The Farm Today
We grow a variety of meats, fruits, and vegetables fit for the southeastern climate. While we are not certified organic, it is our goal to produce food that we are comfortable serving on our own tables. That means we do not use harmful pesticides on our crops, animal byproducts in our livestock feed, or a program of antibiotics for our livestock. Rather than being certified organic by a government agency, we receive our certification from our customers, who understand how we farm.
We employ sustainable techniques to cultivate a healthy soil, including cover cropping to build organic matter and reduce soil erosion. We use manures for fertilization, rotate crops to reduce disease and pest outbreaks, and control insect pests without damaging beneficial insect populations.