Honey, nuts, cheese, and meat: these are all products we take for granted when we go grocery shopping, but area residents and visitors had the chance this weekend to explore where these dietary staples can really come from--right here in our backyard.
Thirty-six local farms participated in the New Leaf Market-sponsored Farm Tour, with one concept uniting them: importance of quality over profit.
Frank Bibin has a 27-acre farm with his family just north of Quitman, Georgia. He says he's "used pesticides in the past, and [he] doesn't like what they do to the wildlife and the environment.."
Pebble Hill Grove has been owned and run by the Bibins family for over 20 years...they grow certified organic pecans, elephant garlic, and, most recently, pomegranates.
Honey bees are kept on the premises to help with pollination, but because the farm has a strict no-pesticide rule, the Bibins had to come up with a creative way to control plant-destroying insects.
Says Farm Tour volunteer, Mark Kiser, "...Bats were actually consuming a lot of their insect pests, and over time they attracted between 3,000-4,000 bats...they don't have to use any pesticides because the bats are doing their control for them."
Farms that participated in the tour say buying locally-grown produce is the best thing you can do to help support your local farmer.
The Bibins say in ten years, they hope the farm will still be 'wide open, growing good nutritious food and dedicated customers.'