Ever since I planted my first radish seeds when I was 6, I was hooked. When the clover-like leaves poked out of the soil, I tore into the house yelling for mama to come see! It seemed like magic.
So, yes, I’ve always wanted to be a farmer, ever since my first crop… even though the radishes tasted like a poisoned apple to my 6-year-old palate.
Farmers posses a gentle dignity. They get to work the land that God formed, take part in the beauty of creation unfolding and to eat food grown with their very own hands. And they play with really big toys, I mean they use tools to do their work. And boy do I love big machines.
It’s a dream I wanted not just for myself, but for my family. I wanted my kids to be able to run free and to learn about nature by being in nature. For them to get lost and me not be concerned about where they are. That’s the way most of us grew up. Before there were kidnappers behind every tree (real and imagined, but mostly imagined. And kidnappers don’t hide behind trees anyway, they hide in panel vans).
I wanted them to step out of the ‘over the mountain’ Birmingham bubble and see a different way of life, a less entitled life. To experience for themselves that hard work is good. If they catch that lesson, I will have accomplished much as a father.
So we found the land in Alpine, Alabama (Talladega County), counted the costs, and set out on this new journey. At last, I’m a farmer, sort of.
Alpine Farms is our family’s special place. It’s ours together. We have a common goal and will work as a team, learn a whole new set of skills, stick together through the challenges, and share the beautiful rewards. In raising and selling a crop, we’ll learn how to run an agri-business.
The exciting and scary part of what we are doing is that we might fail. Just as sure as there was a ‘Fall’ in the original garden, there are thorns in this world. Thorns in our lives and thorns in the fields. In reading about various pests and diseases that pop out of nowhere to kill trees and crops, it is amazing that anything makes it to market. I hope we are successful, but regardless, I am sure we’re all about to learn some really good lessons. Welcome to our journey!