Local Spotlight - McClellan Organics From the Farm to Your Table
By Gretchen Hein
I once asked a friend of mine who loves fishing what his favorite fish was and he replied, “The one I just caught.” I can say the same for vegetables—my favorite is the one I just picked, fresh from my garden. And if I can’t pick it from my garden, next in line would be the one that just came from the local grower. The farmers at McClellan love to see how quickly they can move produce from their fields to you, the consumer. Bryan explained to me that most organic produce found in stores has been “off the vine” for three or four days, minimum. But at McClellan, their commitment is to move it from the field to their suppliers within the day, hours, if possible, and most often they’re able to meet their goal.
McClellan Organics is located outside Cairo, Georgia. They started out small and grew fast, really fast, beyond their wildest dreams. For a while they wondered if they’d taken on more than they could keep up with; the pace and the demand grew exponentially. Farming is not for the faint of heart and organic farming is even more demanding. Every day brings some new adventure, or two. If it’s not the weather, which is never predictable and will always keep any farmer guessing and on their toes, there are lots of other factors to consider. There are pests to keep out of the field and off the produce, equipment to maintain, the details of harvesting, cleaning, cooling and transporting a variety of produce, each with its own special needs, and then there’s tending to the business side of farming—marketing and selling; ordering, planning and preparing for the next season’s activities.
This spring, 60 acres were planted in a variety of squash—both summer and winter, all kinds of peppers and tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers, and eggplant. This fall they’ll scale back a bit, let some of the land go fallow and plant 45 acres of peas (snow peas, sugar snaps and English), cabbage, assorted greens, broccoli and various other winter vegetables. They’re busy day and night at McClellan and that’s what they like.
Be sure to spend some time investigating their locally grown produce next time you’re in the store. Pick it up, smell it, feel its fullness—it’s the next best thing to homegrown. We’re fortunate to have such committed producers in our neighborhood, thank you McClellan Organics!