Customer support crucial to family farmers
Talking to Jody Waldroup is always interesting; information and opinions about organic farming, sustainability, raising chickens or the meaning of life and his vegetables are fresh and delicious.
By Darla Huffman
Jasper Farmers’ Market
Jody and Ashley Waldroup are modern day farmers. There was a time when small family farms were the backbone of America and could support a family. But now corporate farms operating on a big scale have eliminated that competition while increasing the food supply but not necessarily improving it. In fact, many people believe that this has damaged and endangered our food supply and is the cause of many of the health problems that are prevalent in this county.
A death in the family made Jody and Ashley reconsider what they were eating and they decided they wanted to make some changes. They started growing their own vegetables in raised beds at their home in Jasper. Soon they wanted to expand this effort and turned to Ashley’s grandmother who lives on land that has been in her family for 100 years, located near Ball Ground. Granny Matts Farms had its beginning. They now have about two and a half acres in organic mostly heirloom vegetables, raise free range chickens and grass fed cattle. In addition to growing wholesome nutritious food, the Waldroup’s are passionate about sustainability and are contemplating offering hands-on instruction on four season sustainability at the farm.
About three years ago they began selling their extra produce at the Jasper Farmers’ Market. Its quality and price has made it a customer favorite, even on a rainy day.
Jody has been at the Market the past two weeks despite the bad weather. Having harvested the lettuce, spinach, beets, Swiss chard and loaded them with the vegetable plants into the truck the night before, there is nothing to be done but go on to the Market to see what can be sold.
Locally grown vegetables are picked when they are at the peak of flavor, not days or weeks in advance to have time for shipping.
Support your local farmers; they work hard to provide a superior product. What they are doing is good for the environment and good for them and good for you, even if it’s raining.
Bring the kids to the Market this week. It’s another Children’s Event where they will make a gift for Mom. They can decorate pot and plant a flower in it for Mother’s Day. It’s free and all children are welcome; starts at 10:30 and will last as long as the supplies do.
The Market is held every Saturday morning from 7:30-noon in the Park n Ride lot at Lee Newton Park. The Jasper Farmers’ Market is a project of the Pickens County Master Gardeners. See www.pickensmg.org for more information and complete vendor rules or call the County Extension Office at 706-253-8840.