Mark and I first met at the Fountain Inn Farmers’ Market. I believe it was my first year farming in 2017. He came over to the SCA Farms booth and we started talking about the produce. That led to a deeper conversation about our farms. His story is like so many farmers. He grew up on a farm. Then he worked….
The truth is that when you meet good people especially those that farm, want to farm, or just want to learn to grow their own vegetables. There’s a bond of sorts. I won’t get too heavy on the philosophy of connecting with the earth. I will just say that connecting with the earth does connect you with people. Sounds weird but I have found it to be very true.
Now, I will not raise bees on my farm like he does. Nor will I have near the number of chickens they have at Cedar Falls Farm. Vegetables are about the extent of the things we share in common when it comes to farming.
However, we do share a similar philosophy about life, friends, and family. We also believe in giving back to the community. Near his community at Fork Shoals.
“Being a farmer is a labor of love. It’s something you love to do. It gets into your blood. There’s something primordial about providing food and providing good quality food to people.”
Mark Jones, Cedar Falls Farm
Growing vegetables, raising chickens, and collecting honey from bees on 48 acres near the banks of the Reedy River is no easy task. Of course, it makes it even tougher when you’re already working a fulltime job at Michelin. Mark has been with Michelin for 28 years. He is currently a materials design guarantor for one of the largest employers in the upstate of South Carolina. So why does he do it? In his own words, “We enjoy the rural life and moved out of the city subdivision living some years ago city to get back to our roots.” He plans to retire soon and work on the farm full-time.
Mark and his wife have about 300 chickens. They produce about 8 dozen eggs a day at their peak. They have multiple breeds of chickens on their farm with some of their favorites being ISA Browns, a breed from France very similar to Golden Comets, Golden Comets, Ameraucana, and Australorps. If you have never seen Australorps, they are a black feathered chicken and when the sunlight hits them they have a green sheen that is very pretty.
Cedar Falls Farm chickens stay out in the pasture for about 12 hours a day and Mark prides their method for giving them the most amount of sunlight possible.
Producing honey is also a big part of the farm. Mark’s interest in the flow-hive method has made the process of of extracting honey much easier. He continues to learn through every season and hopes that his passion in beekeeping will never end.
Mark feels that Michelin has prepared him very well for his new venture in farming but it was his upbringing as a child in a small rural setting that initially planted the seed. Mark and his lovely wife, George Anne, considered this to be a shared life long dream and they both continue to make strides in growing not only their farm but growing the relationships they’ve made while farming.
One of those relationships is with Woodmont High School and their agricultural program. Cedar Falls Farm works with the school and purchases their transplants which are grown by the students in a most impressive greenhouse on the campus.
Listen to the show for a special offer from Cedar Falls Farm and learn why Mark encourages you to take time for family and friends. “It’s not about what you leave with, it’s about what you leave behind,” says Mark. A philosophy that is embodied in all the products produced on the farm.
Be sure to support Mark and his wife by visiting not only their website at Cedarfallsfarm.com but visit them at the local Fountain Inn Farmers’ Market. You can also visit the farm and as his says in the show, he’s always willing to show people around.
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