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Sustainable Farming in Alto: Jaemor Farms

By Vanessa Nason

Since 1912, Jaemor Farms has been an active community member and an example in sustainable farming.

The Echols family harvests a variety of crops on their farm in Alto, selling them seven days a week at their markets in Alto and Commerce. What began as mostly peaches has since expanded into an array of homegrown and local fruits and vegetables, including produce not indigenous to their climate. If it is not grown locally, we bring in produce as local as it can be found. But even the crops sourced from other farms are also held to high standards. "We want the highest quality and freshness in all produce items that we offer," says Caroline Black Lewallen, the agritourism and marketing coordination at Jaemor Farms. "We will not sacrifice the quality of our produce nor the health and safety of our customers for economics."

Perhaps most of all, the farm prides itself on its sustainable practices and focus on environmental care. In 103 years of operation, pesticides have always been used as a last resort. The farm has never been fined or cited for pesticide use and follows the strict guidelines set by the USDA. Lewallen says that they have also reached to top agricultural research universities for recommendations on best practices.

"We believe that sustainable agriculture means to take care of our land for future generations - which is exactly what we have done since 1912," says Lewallen.

Jaemor Farms is also an active community member, serving as a field trip hot spot and holding an ever popular annual corn maze event. Recently, the farm has also begun holding two festivals: one in May for strawberries, and one in August for peaches and other summertime vegetables.

Ultimately, Jaemor Farms is a family-owned and family-focused organization, priding itself on environmental friendliness and and community involvement. "We are a family farm," says Lewallen, "and we want other families to come visit and enjoy the land that has been shared in our family for five going on six generations."

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About The Author

Vanessa Nason is a fourth year journalism major at Northeastern University. She's...

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