Katherine and Rebecca may not be the people who you expect to meet when you drive out Fulton Industrial Boulevard, past where the factories end and the country road begins, down the road that my mom would zoom along in her college days, zipping between East Point and Carrollton, but they are the embodiment of the young farmers who are inheriting the soil of Georgia. The faces of these women are lit up with passion and a yearning to learn about farming and teach others about why it is so important.
Skip and Cookie Glover have been farming this land for many many years, and still do farm part of it, but they have been gracious in their semi-retirement to host and mentor several young farmers who are just starting out on their land. The Glovers have created a haven on their 100 year old farm, they have been pioneers of the organic farming movement in Georgia, and have formed wonderful relationships with markets and chefs throughout the metro-Atlanta area. I first learned of the Glovers when I was working at Muss and Turner's in Smyrna. Todd Mussman had a relationship with Skip and Cookie that was almost like family, and even took the staff of the restaurant out to the farm several times so that they would all understand where the ingredients that they were working with came from.
Katherine and Rebecca have taken on a portion of their land, under the name Ivabel Acres at Glover Family Farm, and continue to foster these relationships. Ivabel is the name of Katherine's great aunt, who taught Katherine the glories and hardships of living off the land. She is the girls' inspiration, and they hope to honor her spirit in the work that they do on this farm.
The day that my mom and I visited the farm, Rebecca was here in Athens, but Katherine was kind enough to give us the grand tour. Clover, oats and rye grass covered several of the fields, but some baby lettuces peeped through some of the newly tilled and tended rows, as did crops of onions and garlic, and several brassicas. The start room promised beets, fennel, tomatoes, and lots of other tasty treats. The greenhouse housed an abundance of rainbow swiss chard, as well as some other cool season crops, slowing in production slightly. Soon, Katherine will be turning her attention to the warmer weather crops, with some rows of early tomatoes and summer squash about to move into the greenhouse. We also got to see the hens laze around their house, not seeming to want to venture out into the strangely cool and drizzly March air. A plethora of leftover romesco awaited them for snacking, but they preferred to stay inside. The bees were just beginning to buzz about in Skip's bee houses, but they didn't venture out much either on such a dreary day.
As we left, Katherine gave us several copious bunches of the rainbow chard, and bid us farewell. I can't wait to go back and visit on a brighter day and spend some time getting my hands dirty. My mom told me as we drove away that this was just the kind of farm she would want to have if she had her own, and I would have to agree. What a wonderful place to live and work.
Luckily, Rebecca is back and forth between the farm and Athens several times a week, so despite the fact that they are much further than our average farm will be from Heirloom, we will still be able to showcase some of their beautiful veggies on our menu. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera when I was out at Ivabel Acres, but you can see lots of great photographs on their blog.