FAYETTEVILLE, GA – With temperatures on the rise, so are the amount of people making their way to U-Pick operations like Adams Farm, a 4th generation operation that gives visitors not only a fun day in the field, but also satisfies all their produce needs.
“We pick berries. Right now, we have strawberries that are ready and soon we will have blackberries and blueberries and raspberries that are ready. That’s the U-pick operation, but we also have a large roadside market where many of our vegetables later in the season will be offered to people to purchase. The U-pick is what’s going on right now and it’s the fun thing. You know, you can’t help smiling because everyone comes in excited and they leave very happily with a bucket full of huge, red strawberries,” says Virginia Adams.
That is very apparent as people of all ages get their fill of some the freshest strawberries right out of the field. It’s an activity the Adams’ have been happy to share with the public for the past two decades.
“Probably in the year ’98 a lot of land we were renting was sold and they built schools on it. So, we were cut down to not much acreage. So, we had to change our operation entirely. So, we started the U-pick part of it,” says Russell Adams.
This year’s strawberry crop looks to be another good one despite cooler weather early in the spring. As for his secret to success, Adams credits attention to detail.
“Just a lot of love and care is all I can tell you. They’re on a regular fertilizer program and we just look after them. We sat up a lot of nights protecting them when they got cold, freeze protecting them and fertilizing them, and everything else that goes along with it,” says Russell.
With that cooler weather, it was important the fruit be frost protected. However, Adams’ method of doing so was unlike the majority of producers.
“Well, I do it a little differently from a lot of people,” says Russell. “I use irrigation on mine. A lot of people use row covers. The main reason I do that is because I have a lot of things I freeze protect other than strawberries. I do my blueberries also and I can’t put row covers on blueberries. So, I just do the whole thing at one time.”
Those who stop by also get an education on what it takes to produce their food, which is more important than ever as the surrounding areas have become for urbanized.
“Most people don’t know about agriculture,” says Virginia. “The children think that it comes from the store. But they learn when they come on a farm that’s a U-pick, that it really does not. You have to see it growing in the field around you to know what it’s all about and it’s fun to share the story and to have people know where their food comes from, from the people that toil hard for it to go to your table.”
Spreading this information along with her family is one of the true joys Virginia has running this Fayetteville mainstay.
“The fact that I’m able to work with my family, my daughter is a part of our business and my husband and it gives me great pride to be to say we are a fourth-generation farmer and it’s going to be passed down to the next farmer who will take it over. That makes me proud,” says Virginia.
By: Damon Jones