Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Farming & Family: The Wilson's

Today's family is a very special family to my family.  They live just down the road from us...literally it's maybe 5 miles!  Not to mention they are some of the sweetest, most genuine folks I know....and they grow some awesome produce!!  I can't wait for you to learn a little more about them...and if you are ever in the neighborhood stop by and visit with them!


1. Who are you and where are you located?

I am JEB Wilson.  My wife Jane and I are in our early thirties and we have one son Mac who recently turned five years old.  Our farm is named Cotton Hills Farm and is located in upstate SC in the counties of Chester and York Counties.  Jane helps with payroll and other farm tasks but also works in administration at a local Christian school.



2. How did your farm begin? 

My great-great grandfather and grandmother began working the original 200 acre farm in 1880 as it was given to them as a wedding gift by my great-great grandmother’s father.  They grew cotton and other row-crops. The farm has been passed down through the generations.

3. What does your farm produce?

My brother and father also farm along with me.  My father focuses on cotton production while my brother and I focus on growing and selling produce. The produce crops include strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupes, tomatoes, peaches, and pumpkins.  We all work together as needed.  We make ½ bushel peach baskets in the winter time to keep our vegetable labor employed.  We sell these baskets to other farmers. I manage two retail produce stores in addition to our wholesale produce business.  During the fall months we open our farm up to the public and do farm tours. We try to educate the public about the importance of agriculture and give them a chance to see what we do on a daily basis.
   
4. What is the busiest time of year for your farm?

July is a very busy month for us as the peaches and all other vegetables are at peak production.  September and October are our busiest months though as we are harvesting pumpkins, giving farm tours and are picking cotton.

5. How do younger generations help on the farm?
Mac and my two young nephews, Thomas and Tucker enjoy riding the harvesting equipment with my brother and me.  Mac is also learning to do chores such as feed the few animals that we keep during tour season.  I think it is very important to involve children from a young age so that they learn a love of farming.

6. With all there is to do on a farm, are you involved off the farm?
I am involved with the SC Farm Bureau Federation on the county and state level.  I also participate in the Young Farmer and Agribusiness Association.  My family also attends our local church where my wife and I serve as treasurer.

7. What's your favorite activity to do together as a family on the farm?
We enjoy riding the cotton picker together.  We also enjoy getting to have other families tour our farm and talk with them about farming and agriculture.

8. Why is family important to your farm?
Family is very important to our farm as it is a mulit-generational business.  For the farm to survive the next generation has to be taught a love for farming and taught how to be successful as a farmer.  


9. What's one thing you want non-farm families to know?
I want non-farm families to know that we are good stewards of the land and resources.  We try very hard to take good care of the land that we are entrusted with.


10. Do you have a blog, a farm Facebook page, twitter, etc where people can find out more about you and your farm?  
We maintain a website at cottonhillsfarm.com and we can also be found on Facebook by searching for Cotton Hills Farm