Georgia Grows it Best Farm Tour
Thursday, October 10, 2019
Posted by: Mary Kendall Dixon
By Mary Kendall Dixon, GFVGA Communications Coordinator
To finish out September, membership coordinator, Jennifer Whitlow and communications coordinator, Mary Kendall Dixon hit the road to North Georgia to visit GFVGA members and learn more about their operations in the first Georgia Grows it Best Farm Tour.
“It’s important to get out and meet with our members and to learn from them about their operations,” said Whitlow. “It is our job, as GFVGA staff, to tell our members’ stories and promote the Georgia produce industry and these farm tours give us that opportunity.”
They started their tour in Alto, Georgia at Jaemor Farms where they met with Drew Echols and Caroline Lewallen. Dixon and Whitlow toured and learned how Jaemor Farms has grown and expanded throughout the years. Jaemor opened their market in 1981 and sells their own produce and various baked goods and has 350 acres in production each year.
Day two was started in Dillard, Georgia at Osage Farms where they met with Clint James. The James family opened their roadside market in 1973, where they sell most of their produce and they are the home of the famous Cabbage Wagon. James began working full-time on his family’s farm in 1999 and added tomatoes to their produce operation. Today Osage Farms has 500 acres in vegetable production.
The final stop of the first Georgia Grows it Best Farm Tour was at Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge, Georgia. While here Dixon and Whitlow learned about this 4th generation, family owned apple orchard, owned by Tim Mercier. Mercier Orchards opened 76 years ago with only 25 acres of apple orchard and has since grown to 300 acres. They have diversified into a large farm store, blueberries, blackberries, peaches, strawberry fields and cider production.
“I enjoy telling farmer’s stories,” said Dixon. “These tours give me the opportunity to show people outside of agriculture what it is Georgia farmers do to feed the world.”