Pick Your Own farms

May 23, 2011

Pick Your Own farms offer more than fresh fruit

The strawberry season is just beginning for many farms in Georgia, including locally Southern Belle Farm in McDonough.  You-pick farms are increasing in popularity and are becoming a tradition for folks each year.  Farm patrons are coming for more than just fresh produce.

Many family farms have had to diversify what their farm offers, in some cases just to be able to afford to keep the farm in the family.  Some have opened their farm for educational trips for school groups, allowing the students to learn about agriculture and farm life.  Others have opened their farm to the public for various forms of agri-tourism.  This is a growing trend.

The Carter family of Southern Belle Farm in Henry County, Georgia decided to diversify what their farm offers some time ago, and continues to do so.  Jimmy Carter, current owner and sixth generation farmer closed their dairy operation in the 80’s.  And his son, Jake, now runs the agri-tourism and educational operation on the farm as well as the pick-your-own berry crops.  This is the third year of growing fresh strawberries and opening the berry patch for Pick Your Own.  Families can come and venture into the berry patch and pluck the ripe strawberries right from the plants, allowing kids of all ages to take part in gathering their fruit.  This is a fun experience for the entire family.

Visiting a farm is an experience in itself.  Feeling the fresh air.  Seeing the beautiful country-side.  And even smelling the “smells” of a true farm.  But best of all is the goodies you get to taste while at the farm – fresh, ripe berries, and also delicious homemade strawberry short cake, fried pies and slow-churned ice cream, all made on the farm.  Making memories and family traditions is why so many come to the farm.  And an added benefit is getting to taste and bring home fresh produce you picked yourself.

The Pick-Your-Own berry patch at Southern Belle Farm is now open – with U-Pick and pre-picked berries.  Hours and other information can be found on their website www.SouthernBelleFarm.com.  Strawberries through June and the blackberries will last into the summer months.  The Carters encourage folks to always call to check berry availability before you visit – 770.288.2582.   Updates on the crop can be found on the website, and also by following Southern Belle Farm on Facebook.

“I personally prefer seeing the farm and source of the food my family eats.  The quality is much better when picked fresh.  And I especially love supporting local farms and helping the economy in our area.  When you purchase produce from super markets, sometimes there is no telling the farm conditions, the handling and transportation the food goes through before you buy it at the stores”, states Ansley Glenn, owner of Season’s Peak LLC.  As a marketer of local farms, including her own family peach farm, and as a gardener herself, Ansley appreciates the value of the locally grown produce and encourages others to join in! Other local farms offer other Pick-Your-Own products – including blueberries, blackberries, peaches, vegetables and the like.  Gardner Farms in Locust Grove, has peaches, blueberries and blackberries and their season usually begins around Memorial Day.   Find more local farms by asking friends and neighbors or search Georgia Farm Bureau Certified Farm markets at www.gfb.org.

Season’s Peak LLC is a marketing and communications firm offering a variety of professional services and solutions to help grow businesses.  Company founder, Ansley Glenn represents Southern Belle Farm in their marketing and communications. http://www.seasonspeakmarketing.com/


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