To summarize a week long trip from hundreds of pictures (I edited some 629 photos off my phone to 325 when I first got back) is not an easy feat. The statistics and stories shared by the folks who were gracious enough to host our VALOR cohort is still swirling in my head and in some undecipherable notes in my journal. Thank goodness I sketched a few, rather simple, pictures to go with them and stapled business cards on certain pages.
But as I opened my journal today, reflecting on notes taken from our May stateside trip to South Carolina and Georgia, I caught a whiff of lavender. Kind of entertaining knowing that sprig of dried lavender was a momento of our stop at White Hills Farms in Dearing, Georgia. Such a lovely stop, which had me saying “Namaste (No, Imma Stay) Here” for the rest of the trip. The soda water and lavender simple syrup was a delightful treat as well.
I enjoyed all the stops, including those to Happy Cow Creamery (and the milk samples), Titan Farms (their expansive broccoli fields, oh and 5000+ acres of peaches) and Yon Family Farms to name the first few. Its always great to see who fellow farmers are doing business in different areas of the country, what their adaptations are and how they find their niche in the industry. When I visit large farms like these, it makes my little 30-acre patch seem small, but we all find our ways of doing what we love to do, and how to do it best.
The stop at Comfort Farms reminded me a lot of why I farm. When you have a dream, or a passion about something, you should really run with it! The environment that this farm is offering to rehabilitating veterans is an inspirational story and a worthwhile community project. The farm to table meal provided while there was fresh and delicious. The rabbits were cute too!
On to Generation Farms, where I’ve never seen so many onions in one spot, and learned the story behind what a true Vidalia onion is! It’s all about the place, and the time of year. A true test of beginner farming was shared at 920 Cattle & Company, owned by Jerrod and Becca. To see young folks working like crazy, raising a family and running farm based businesses (not just one but FOUR) make a body feel good – and tired. But its always good to know you aren’t in it alone, and there are others trucking right along with you. Their motivation to start out with little to no farming background is the determination and spirit we need to see in the next generation of farming families in this country. And the family sausage recipe they were fortunate to snag along with their meat processing facility is on point!
Adding in some water to our trip we stopped at the Port of Savannah, and watched a barge come in for unloading. The 1200-acre port was busy with trucks and forklifts and boats, all gathering and unloading cargo for transport. To think most of the cars we buy from overseas come through this port is pretty phenomenal. Their daily shipping unit record was set on January 30th of this year, where 12,660 units were loaded/unloaded in a single day!
I thoroughly enjoyed this session and learned a great deal from our stops as well as other fellows while we traveled together.
Now its back to VA, and seeing what Southwest has to offer – starting tomorrow!