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Joy Ride

Sports

Celebrate National Bike Month and kick off National Bike to Work Week with the Kroc to Lock Ride.

If you’re pumped up about spring, then one of the best ways to enjoy the season is with a bike ride along the Augusta Canal towpath with your family, friends and fellow cyclists.

The 10-mile Kroc to Lock Ride on May 15 starts at Kroc Augusta and proceeds to the Savannah Rapids Pavilion headgates in Martinez.

Once riders reach the headgates (or anywhere along the way), it’s time to turn around and head back to the green space at the Kroc for a post-ride picnic. Be sure to have lawn chairs and blankets on hand.

The picnic will include grilled hot dogs (or veggie dogs upon request), cold drinks and Bruster’s Real Ice Cream. Italian ice also will be available as a non-dairy option. Entertainment will feature a live DJ set by Matt the Mod.

The first 200 riders to check-in on event day will receive a free Kroc to Lock commemorative water bottle. In addition, 100% of the net proceeds will benefit the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area and future biking-related projects.

While the emphasis is on fun, there are a few rules of the road to follow. Hybrid, cross, gravel, mountain or comfort bikes are recommended for the terrain.

All riders are required to wear a helmet, and bikes should be in good working order. The minimum tire width to safely traverse the trail is 32 millimeters or 1.5 inches.

Cyclists should bring water or sports drinks, snacks, sunscreen and an emergency bike repair kit.

Water stations will be located at the Lake Olmstead Trailhead, the Pump House and Savannah Rapids.

Registration deadline is May 8. No onsite registration will be available.

If You Go:
What: Kroc to Lock Ride

When: noon – 4 p.m. Sunday, May 15

Where: Kroc Augusta, 1833 Broad Street, Augusta

How Much: $35 adults; $15 ages 7 – 12; $10 ages 6 and under (plus signup fees)

More Info: bikesignup.com

This is Us

Travel

Photos courtesy of SK Designs

A Taste of Beaufort gives festivalgoers a sample of life in the Lowcountry.

It’s hard to find a better way to spend a Friday night or a Saturday afternoon than by gathering at the water’s edge to eat culinary delights, listen to live music and play a variety of lawn games.

And A Taste of Beaufort has had plenty of practice delivering all of these simple pleasures and more. The festival, which typically attracts 8,000 – 10,000 people, has been held for more than 20 years.

Foodie’s Delight
This two-day foodie’s delight is returning to downtown’s Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park on May 6 and 7. Six local restaurants will gather in the grass at the park to cook up some of their best Lowcountry cuisine and showcase what it tastes like to be in Beaufort, S.C.

Festivalgoers can enjoy the aroma of fresh grilled shrimp in the air while savoring local seafood favorites such as shrimp and grits and crab cakes as well as decadent desserts and other Lowcountry cuisine. Each vendor will sell a variety of dishes to highlight their talents. Beer and wine will be sold at two locations in the park as well.

“The food will be a mix of everything you can imagine,” says Andrea Hackenberger, Beaufort’s downtown manager and events coordinator. “It will run from A to Z.”

Admission to the event at Waterfront Park is free, and festivalgoers can purchase tickets for $1 each to use at food and beverage vendor booths. While beverages will cost $3 – $4, the food offerings will range from $3 – $15.

Arts & Entertainment
The festival has more than good food on the menu, however. At an arts and crafts market, vendors will set up tents to sell their wares. An emphasis will be placed on local, handmade items.

Children of all ages also will have lots of fun as this year’s event in the kids’ corner, which will include arts and crafts.

While younger children can get their face painted by local artist and gallery owner Mary Thibault, their older friends and siblings can learn to airbrush with the folks from Coastal Art Supply. This locally owned business operates under the belief that art connects us as humans and as a community.

Guests also are invited to stop by the gallery, which showcases original art, and the art supply company.

Entertainment will include live music throughout the festival as well.

The Friday night show will begin at 7:30 p.m. and star Departure, the popular Journey tribute band from Atlanta. Performing more than 100 shows nationally per year, Departure brings the very best of Journey to audiences of all ages.

Saturday’s lineup will feature local musicians such as rockabilly artist Chris Jones at 11:15 a.m., the Parris Island Marine Band at 12:30 p.m.; vocalist and guitarist Liz Jane, who plays jazz and acoustic folk music, at 1:45 p.m.; and Tricky Lick Blues Band at 3 p.m.

Working Up an Appetite
Of course, festivalgoers should work up an appetite before they arrive, and one way to ensure that they come hungry is to participate in the City of Beaufort’s 2022 Run to the Table 5K Run/Walk.

The event will begin Saturday at 8 a.m. on Bay Street at Newcastle Street. The 5K course is USATF-certified, and the race start/finish line is on Bay Street between the Marina and Best Western.

The run travels through historic downtown Beaufort and across Woods Memorial Bridge and back.

“Before you eat, you have to run,” says Hackenberger.

In a ceremony immediately following the race, the top three overall male and female winners, along with the top three male and female runners in each age group, will receive awards.

If running isn’t on your plate, then the festival will offer games such as cornhole, Connect 4, chess and other yard games.

This year five nonprofit organizations also will be on hand to educate festivalgoers about their work.

“This is who we are,” Hackenberger says. “This is what being part of Beaufort is like.”

If You Go:
What: A Taste of Beaufort

When: 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. Friday, May 6 and 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday, May 7

Where: Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park, Beaufort, S.C.

How Much: Free admission; food and beverage tickets $1 each

More Info: beaufortsc.org

By Morgan Davis

Satcher Insurance Services, Inc. – WILLENE J. SATCHER

Women In Business

Willene Satcher, owner of Satcher Insurance Services, Inc. along with her daughter, Alicia Bible, serve customers in Georgia and South Carolina. They have been dedicated to protecting their clients’ families, properties and businesses since 1994.

They carefully select nationally recognized insurance providers to offer clients the best possible protection. The providers include:

• Travelers
• CNA
• Progressive
• Foremost Insurance Group
• Zurich
• Auto-Owners
• American Strategic Insurance
• RLI

“The advantage of working with independent agents is that they obtain several quotes from multiple insurance companies to secure the best rates,” Willene says.

Building 1 A | 4210 Columbia Rd | Martinez
(706) 863-0002

Visit our website at : www.satcherinsurance.com

PAM LIGHTSEY – Jim Courson Realty

Women In Business

What is the key to forming a good relationship with your clients? My mother, who has held a broker’s license since 1976, gave me the best advice I ever received: Make sure to listen to your clients. Many agents “hear” their clients, but they don’t “listen” to them. The key to forming a good relationship with my clients is to find out their end goal and how they would like to get there.
How would you describe the current real estate market? The current market is changing, and we still see multiple offers and intense competitiveness. The anxiety levels are high for buyers and sellers. Buyers are making multiple offers, and being outbid is a reality right now. Sellers have to select from multiple offers. Agents put in long hours, and my job is to keep my clients as calm as possible and to keep them informed through every step of the process. Buying or selling a home should be exciting, not something to dread.

Pam Lightsey – The Professionals at Jim Courson Realty
Licensed in GA and SC
4063 COLUMBIA RD, MARTINEZ, GA | C: (706) 840-2087 or O: (706) 860-3032 pam@pamlightsey.com | www.PamLightsey.com

DONNA GIBBS – Casual Furniture of Augusta

Women In Business

Casual Furniture of Augusta is known for quality outdoor furnishings at affordable prices and impeccable customer service.

“All of our furniture can stay outside year-round, and it is made to last,” says owner Donna Gibbs, who has more than 38 years in the business.

Most of the furniture and accessories she carries — including chaises, sofa groups, dining groups, fire pits, outdoor bars, umbrellas — are made in the USA for sunrooms, porches, patios, decks and pool areas.

CasualFurnitureAugusta.com
3725 Washington Rd
Augusta, GA 30907
706-504-4547

JESSICA VELEZ – Living Spotless

Women In Business

Jessica Velez likes to stay on the move, and her favorite way to get her daily exercise is by cleaning.

In August 2016, she put her cleaning skills and ingenuity – along with a family tradition – to use and started her own business, Living Spotless Cleaning Services.

• Commercial cleaning/Offices
• Move-in and move-out
• Construction and remodeling clean up
• Weekly, biweekly and monthly services
• One-time deep clean
• Masters Week preparation and daily cleaning
• Property watch

Martinez, GA | 706-305-9100 

jessica.livingspotless@gmail.com

Powell & Associates, Inc. – NANCY POWELL

Women In Business

Leading by example, Nancy Powell, broker and CEO of Powell & Associates, Inc., is passionate about inspiring other women. The role comes easily because of the example her own mother, Marcene Powell, set for her.

In 1992 her mother founded Powell & Associates, the first real estate brokerage in Lincolnton, and Nancy got her real estate license at age 18 and joined the company.

418 MILLEDGE ROAD | AUGUSTA
(706) 717-1281

www.powellpropertypros.com

Brittany Cliatt Wallace

Women In Business

With nearly 20 years of experience in Interior Design, a vast knowledge of construction and great eye for color and balance, Brittany is ready to dive into any project- large or small. After years of doing it on her own with business, she recently had another Interior Designer join the team, who also has years of experience and knowledge in many different aspects of design. A native of Augusta, Brittany lives in a home she designed and custom- built with her husband, Chad, 3-year-old son, Branson, and their dogs. When asking Brittany about what she does: “I have a passion for what I do and an obsession with transforming things into something better…something more beautiful. I enjoy making the world a more beautiful place, one room at a time.” “What a rewarding feeling to be the one to orchestrate a change in a home, or design and make specifications for a new construction home! It is so enjoyable to watch a project come together, or see a sketch or idea come to life. I also love when a contractor or supplier says, “Well, that isn’t the way we usually do it.” or “I’ve never done it this way before.” And I think to myself – “Yes, I know… that is why I’m here!”

706-836-7488 | bwallaceinteriors.com

Tournament Tips & Landmarks

Masters Guide

Course LandmarksMagnolia Lane – tree-lined main entrance to Augusta National

Founders Circle – two plaques honoring founding members Clifford Roberts and Bobby Jones at the base of the flagpole in front of the clubhouse

Crow’s Nest – a cupola atop the clubhouse that provides tournament housing for amateur players 

Oak-TreeBig Oak Tree – a gathering spot for media interviews behind the clubhouse

Rae’s Creek between the 11th and 12th greens 

Hogan Bridge at No. 12 green 

Nelson Bridge at No. 13 tee

Sarazen Bridge at No. 15 green

3.-Landmark--Arnold-Palmer-Plaque-behind-No.-16-teeArnold Palmer Plaque behind No. 16 tee 

Jack Nicklaus Plaque between Nos. 16 and 17

Record Fountain to the left of No. 17 green

Augusta National Golf Club cabins

Ike’s Pond – a spring-fed, 3-acre pond on the Par-3 Course behind Eisenhower Cabin

Par 3 Fountain – adjacent to No. 1 tee on Par 3 course; includes list of Par 3 Contest winners 

 

Prohibited Items
• Cell phones, beepers, tablets and other electronic devices
• Any device capable of transmitting photo/video*
• Backpacks, bags and purses larger than 10” x 10” x 12” (in its natural state)
• Cameras on tournament days**
• Weapons of any kind (regardless of permit)
• Radios/TVs/noise- or music-producing devices
• Folding armchairs/rigid type chairs
• Flags/banners/signs
• Strollers
• Food/beverages/coolers
• Golf shoes with metal spikes
• Ladders/periscopes/selfie sticks

Violation of these policies will subject the ticket holder to removal from the grounds and the ticket purchaser to the permanent loss of credentials.

*Fitness tracking bands and electronic watches are permitted. However, they cannot be used for phone calls, emails, text messages and other photo, video or data recording and transmission.

**Cameras (still photography/personal use only) are allowed at practice rounds on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Tournament Amenities:

  • Automated teller machines
  • Concession stands
  • First aid stations
  • Golf shops
  • Information centers
  • Lost and found
  • Merchandise shipping/check stands
  • Message center
  • Pairing sheets with course map and tee times
  • Parking
  • Picnic areas
  • Patron photos (tournament days only)
  • Restrooms
  • Scoring information
  • Spectator guides
  • Telephones
  • Water fountains

Autograph Policy
For player safety and protection, there is a no autograph policy enforced on the golf course. Autograph seeking is only allowed in areas adjacent to the Tournament Practice Area and on the Par 3 course during the Par 3 Contest.

Re-Entry Policy
Patrons will be allowed one re-entry per day.

Parking
Free Masters parking is available at Augusta National Golf Club on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Get the Ball Rolling

Masters Guide

Photo source: Facebook

Another multiple Masters Tournament winner will be on the first tee for the honorary starters ceremony this year.

Two-time Masters champion Tom Watson has shared many special memories at Augusta National Golf Club with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. Now, he is about to add one more to the list.

Watson will join Nicklaus, a six-time Masters winner, and Player, who has three green jackets, on the first tee Thursday, April 7 as an honorary starter.

“Augusta National in April is one of my favorite places to be,” Watson said. “With the many fond memories of both watching the Masters as a youngster and then competing in the tournament for so many years, I am greatly honored to join my friends and fellow competitors, Jack and Gary, as an honorary starter in this upcoming Masters.

“In both of my victories, Jack was on my heels. And when Gary won his third tournament in 1978, I was there to help him put on the green jacket. Moments like those stand out in my career, and the opportunity to share the honorary starter tradition with Jack, Gary and the Masters patrons will be very special.”

Watson earned his first green jacket in 1977 when he shot a final round 67 to defeat Nicklaus by two strokes. As defending champion a year later, he finished one shot behind Player in a tie for second place.

In the 1981 Masters, Watson fended off runners-up Nicklaus and Johnny Miller with a 71 in the final round for a two-stroke victory.

He finished runner-up three times in his 15 top 10 showings at Augusta National. He also finished in the top 3 six times and the top 5 nine times. One of 17 players to win multiple Masters, Watson’s 72.74 scoring average ranks fifth in tournament history.

After competing in the Masters as an amateur in 1970, Watson made 42 consecutive starts from 1975-2016, the fifth-longest streak in the history of the tournament. His 58 subpar rounds are second all-time behind Nicklaus (71), and he holds the record for most consecutive years with at least one subpar round (21, 1975-1995).

Watson also is the oldest victor in the Par 3 Contest. When he was 68 years old, he won the nine-hole contest for the second time in 2018.

Fred Ridley, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament, announced in January that Watson will join Nicklaus and Player as an honorary starter at the 86th Masters.

By Betsy Gilliland

Country Charm

In The Home

Photography by Sally Kolar

This DIY couple loves to refurbish and redecorate, but they never stray far from their roots in their Harlem home.

For Crystal and Rodney Hall of Harlem, everything old is new again. Many of the furnishings and décor in their farmhouse home are treasured family heirlooms. Otherwise, Crystal says, “Almost everything in this house is from a thrift store. I love decorating and changing things, so I don’t want to spend a lot.”

The condition of the furniture when they get it doesn’t matter. Crystal has a knack for refinishing and painting furniture, so the pieces in the house, where they have lived since 2018, look brand new – or have the perfect vintage look.

Crystal, who was raised on a North Carolina farm, comes by her thriftiness honestly.

“Growing up in the country, my mother never got new things. She just got a can of spray paint and painted everything,” she says.

And she still hasn’t left country living behind. The Halls’ house is tucked back in the woods on a 10-acre piece of land where they raise chickens with names like Buttercup and Chick-fil-A and enjoy their pond – which was a must-have when they were looking for property to build their forever home.

“My mom says I’m reliving my childhood,” says Crystal. “This is the third house we’ve built, and I said, ‘This is it.’”

Sitting Pretty

The Halls, who have been married for almost 31 years after meeting on a blind date, wanted to build a one-story home, and Crystal found the house plans on Pinterest. In fact, she found so many things she liked on Pinterest that the builder eventually told her to stay off the site.

“We were going to downsize, but we ended up with the same square footage because we expanded the rooms,” says Rodney.

They have filled their space with plenty of country charm, but Crystal redecorates every three years or so. When she’s ready for new look, she sells their furnishings on Facebook Marketplace. However, she still gravitates to farmhouse décor, an affinity that begins with the welcoming front porch that invites people to sit awhile and enjoy the back-to-nature setting.

The front porch features a beadboard ceiling, stamped concrete flooring, a floating faucet water fountain, hanging baskets overflowing with ferns, more plants with colorful blooms, a black distressed chest, a front porch swing and two black rockers.

“The rocking chairs are my pride and joy,” says Crystal. “They belonged to my grandparents.”

Overlooking their pond, the back porch is just as relaxing. This covered porch features a beadboard ceiling, stamped concrete floor, a ceiling fan, recessed lighting and a fountain made out of driftwood. They have wicker furniture on the porch, and a tic-tac-toe board on the table is always ready for a game.

“Every morning I have coffee on the porch and watch the deer and listen to the hummingbirds,” says Crystal. “This is my spot.”

They also see and hear wildlife such as a red fox, red-headed woodpeckers, possums, hawks, owls and frogs in the pond.

One sign on the wall says, “Life is good in the woods,” while another reads, “Welcome to the patio, where memories are made and worries are few.” A small plaque that says “Farm Sweet Farm” is nestled in a cotton ball wreath on the wall.

“We love our covered porches. No matter what the weather is, we can use them,” says Rodney.

He isn’t one for slowing down often, however. “I’m in the woods all the time doing something. Or I’m mowing grass, spraying weeds or fixing what’s broken,” he says.

He also likes to tinker with his 1967 Chevelle show car, which has its own enclosed bay in the three-car garage.

“The car stays in its own museum. We dated in that car. We had our first kiss on the bumper,” Crystal says. “When we were building, I told Rodney he could have his three-car garage as long as I got my back porch.”

Slices of Nostalgia

While the porches are the perfect places to sit outside and enjoy the surroundings, the Halls have plenty of mementoes inside to blend their family histories with the life they have built together.

In the front hallway, a vintage Singer sewing machine cabinet, which belonged to Rodney’s great-grandmother, lines one wall. Made of wood and cast iron, the cabinet still has the sewing machine in it.

A diamond-shaped wreath hangs from the top rung of a tobacco ladder in the corner. Engineered hardwood flooring, which runs through most of the house, leads from the hallway into the family room.

The brick fireplace in the family room features a raised hearth and a mantel that was made from an 1850 farmhouse in the North Carolina mountains.

Crystal found the coffee table and end tables at a thrift store. “The coffee table was from the ’70s,” says Rodney. “You know how ugly everything was in the ’70s. I sanded it down and repainted it.”

Black and white buffalo-checked pillows and blankets add a decorative touch to the family room furnishings. A black and white buffalo-checked runner tops a chest as well.

The lamp on a distressed demilune table, which Crystal found at an online yard sale, belonged to her great-great aunt. A strand of decorative beads lies on the tabletop, and a cotton wreath hangs from the drawer hardware.

Slices of nostalgia in the room include a tobacco basket atop a curio and a gumball machine on a stand.

The family room also features a coffered ceiling and two sets of double doors that open onto the back porch.

“I wanted the whole wall to be made up of doors or glass, but it was too expensive,” says Crystal. “We just wanted a pretty view so we could see the pond.”

A wooden sign with the coordinates of the house hangs on the wall by the back doors.

Even though it doesn’t work, a guitar that belonged to Rodney’s great-grandfather is on display in the family room as well. He keeps another functioning guitar in his office.

“I just piddle on the guitar,” he says. “I decided at age 45 I wanted to learn to play.”

Mix and Match

The adjoining kitchen includes a granite countertop on the island and leatherette granite on the perimeter countertops, a corner pantry, a farmhouse sink and a coffee bar that overlooks the front porch.

A sign that says, “Fresh Eggs,” leans against the brick backsplash above the cooktop, and a wire basket full of fresh eggs sits on the island.

“We have lots and lots of fresh eggs. Anything you can do with eggs, I can do,” says Crystal.

Her favorite egg dish is quiche, and Rodney’s is “my breakfast.”

Every morning during his commute to Aiken he has a ham and egg tortilla wrap. “Coffee and a wrap, and I hit the road,” Rodney says.

A pair of antique red roosters on top of the kitchen cabinets were a gift to Crystal from her mom, and her 100-year-old grandmother gave her the rooster on the floor by the hutch in the eating area.

They took the glass out of the hutch, which is filled with knick-knacks ranging from china and more decorative chickens to blue eggs in a bird’s nest and a vase filled with greenery.

“All the little things in the hutch are mix and match. I’ve picked them up here and there,” says Crystal.

The Halls have framed photos of all four houses where they have lived, complete with their addresses and dates of residence, on a wall in the eating area.

Blinds cover the eating area windows that overlook the backyard and the pond, but they never close them. “We have no curtains in the entire house,” Crystal says.

They wash their eggs in the laundry room sink, and the shiny tile floor offers an optical illusion. “We thought the floor would be slick, but it’s the opposite,” says Rodney.

They bought the washer and dryer with their second house, where they lived from 2004 until 2009, and Rodney has completely rebuilt the washing machine.

“There’s nothing Rodney can’t fix, so I don’t get anything new,” Crystal says.

Animal Farm

Well, almost nothing is new.

They bought their master bedroom furniture at a good price from a serviceman who had never used it. “It was brand new,” says Crystal. “It still had the tags on it.”

The rocking chair in the corner of the room belonged to Crystal’s mother. “She rocked both of my children in it,” says Crystal. A large vase on the floor is full of peacock feathers that came from birds raised by her late father.

Draped with a strand of decorative beads, a full-length oval cheval mirror occupies another corner of the room. Crystal refinished the desk in front of the windows, and a birdcage full of slender branches sits on top of the chest.

The adjoining master bath features tile flooring, granite countertops, double sinks, a separate vanity and a tile shower. A butterfly, which Crystal’s great-great-great grandmother crocheted, hangs in a frame above the garden tub.

The guest bath features a leatherette granite countertop and tile flooring. “We wanted the old farmhouse look, so we picked the black and white tile,” says Rodney.

In the guest room, a quilt stand holds a quilt that Crystal’s grandmother made for her.

“If this house ever burns down, that’s the first thing I would grab,” Crystal says of the quilt. “She put all of my farm animals on it. That quilt was on my twin bed when I was little.”

In addition to their collection of 32 chickens, which includes five roosters, and their Maltipoo, Sophie, the Halls’ menagerie of real animals features a rabbit, Ollie; one Tom Turkey and his girlfriend, Butterball. They also are adding pasture for four baby goats.

Their chicken population is made up of silkies (“They’re my favorites. They’re docile and sweet,” says Crystal.), Laced Wyandottes, a Blue Andalusian and four Golden Comets. “I call them my Golden Girls,” Crystal says.

She says caring for chickens is easy. “Water every day, feed and collect the eggs,” she says. “They all have different personalities.”

Rodney built the chicken coop, which features a tin roof on the henhouse, and the egg boxes. A sign on the coop states, “Pampered Chickens Live Here.”

To pamper themselves, the Halls have a hammock by the pond, where they keep their mini pontoon paddle boat at the dock. Two red Adirondack chairs by the pond flank a table that Rodney made by bolting a wood tabletop to a stump in the ground. The tabletop came from a pine tree that he cut down in the front yard.

“There’s nothing like country life,” Crystal says. “When we commute from work, we feel like we’re never going to get home, but once we do, it’s like, ‘ahh.’ It’s worth it.”

By Betsy Gilliland

Welcome to the Agrihood

Garden Scene

Photos courtesy of Wrights Farm

Neighborhoods with working farms are sprouting up across the country, and Wrights Farm in Grovetown is the first of its kind in the area.

When David Daughtry started his position as farm manager at Wrights Farm in January 2021, he was greeted by barren land (except for briars), a white fence, a windmill and an empty shell of a barn.

“We didn’t have a tractor or a shovel or seeds to plant,” he says. “We started from absolute scratch.”

Wrights Farm, a 300-home subdivision under development off of Wrightsboro Road in Grovetown, is one of a handful of agrihoods in the state and the only one in the area. For the uninitiated, an agrihood is a planned community that integrates agriculture into a residential neighborhood to facilitate food production and healthy living.

While developers started creating agrihoods about 20 years ago, the concept has grown in the past decade. According to the Urban Land Institute, the United States is home to more than 200 agrihoods and counting.

“It’s a very cool concept,” Daughtry says. “Once people take a step into our operations, it opens their minds and opens their eyes.”

From the Ground Up

Focusing on farm-to-table practices, the 5-acre working farm has partnered with Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia & the CSRA to provide high-quality produce to Edgar’s Hospitality Group facilities. As the hospitality division of Goodwill, the group manages the Pinnacle Club, Edgar’s Grille, Edgar’s Bakehouse, Snelling Conference Center and Edgar’s Above Broad in Augusta as well as two establishments in Macon.

“I’m looking forward to spring and summer when we’re in full production,” says Bruce Ozga, vice president of culinary education for Helms College, a career college sponsored by Goodwill. “It’s going to be really exciting.”

After all, Daughtry spent most of last year on the development and construction of the property. His first mission was to finish the parking lot and lay sod around the barn, which includes two coolers for storage, sinks to wash produce and grading tables to separate premium produce from less premium products. “They might not look as pretty, but they still taste good,” Daughtry says of the less premium vegetables.

He also grew four-tenths of an acre of peas and four-tenths of an acre of corn last year. Much to his delight, these crops attracted “good bugs” such as honeybees, wasps and lady beetles (better known as ladybugs).

“I was happy to see them naturally,” says Daughtry, a Grovetown native who studied crop and soil science at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and the University of Georgia.

Now that the initial development of the farm has been completed, he can turn his attention to planting and growing produce on the 3.2 acres of the farmland that will be used for crops.

“Some of what we grow goes to our chefs, and the general public can come here and purchase some of it,” Daughtry says. “We will have at least two varieties of everything we grow.”

When he selects produce to plant, he looks for vegetables that have robust flavor. The crops will include arugula; tatsoi (an Asian version of spinach); peas; green beans; beets; white, purple and orange carrots; 13 types of tomatoes including beef, plum, cherry, bumblebee and zebra; 15 – 20 varieties of lettuce; 20 – 25 varieties of salad greens including kale, collard, mustard, turnip and spinach; table, salad and pickling cucumbers; radishes; peppers; squash; green onions and herbs.

Daughtry also hopes to add blueberry, blackberry and raspberry bushes as well as wildflowers that attract pollinators and other beneficial insects.

“We’ll plant almost year-round, with large plantings in early spring and late summer,” he says.

With a climate-controlled greenhouse and a high tunnel with natural ventilation onsite, Wrights Farm can extend its growing season. One of the greenhouses also has a block set aside for a chefs’ garden, where they can grow herbs and flowers.

“We try to do everything as sustainably as possible. A main focus for us is crop rotation. It helps us manage diseases and pests in the areas that we rotate,” says Daughtry. “Agriculture requires hard work and long hours, yet it’s so rewarding and fascinating.”

He enjoys the challenges of farming (which in his case, include allergies to dust, grass and plants) – even when things don’t go as planned.

“When you fail, you learn, and the next time, you do it better. Sometimes you get one chance a year to do something,” he says. “It takes a lot to make a farm work. Efficiency is key for us. Paying attention to detail matters.”

In addition to managing the day-to-day farm operations, Daughtry teaches lab classes to Helms College culinary students, conducts seminars for community members and organizes volunteer days.

Farming Out the Fun

As part of their learning experience, the students select five vegetables they want to grow and plant the seeds. “Throughout the course, they’ll visit the farm to care for the plants they’re growing,” says Ozga.

For their final, the students harvest their plants and prepare dishes using the products they grew.

In addition, Ozga says, “We’re looking at developing some type of program in culinary agriculture and connecting the farmer and the chef. It will be a special program that would be completely farm-to-table. Chefs know a lot about food, but they don’t know a lot about the farming aspect of it.”

They’re not alone. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Agricultural Statistics Service, Daughtry says, “Of the entire population worldwide, 2% works in agriculture. They feed the other 98% of the population.”

In addition, he says, 96% of U.S. farms are family owned.

To educate community members, Daughtry holds 45-minute seminars about topics such as soil fertility, irrigation management, plant nutrition and how to look for pests. “I want to teach people information that they can take home with them,” he says.

Last year, he also held a couple of community days for volunteers. Typically, he has 10-15 volunteers onsite at a time from 8 a.m. until noon. Other times, he has one or two people shadow him for a day.

Volunteer opportunities include greenhouse production, soil health, planting and growing structures, integrated pest management, harvest and post-harvest handling, and post-season management.

Daughtry plans to have volunteer sessions monthly on Saturdays during big growing seasons. He also wants Wrights Farm residents to get involved with the operation.

“I want them to be able to participate as much as possible,” he says. “A lot of people have plenty of ideas that I would never think of.”

Wrights Farm also will open a produce stand for the community this spring. While it can take five to seven days for foods to go from fields to grocery store shelves, Wrights Farm produce can be served locally two days after harvest.

“When we say local, we mean local,” says Daughtry. “When we say fresh, we really mean fresh. And we can back it up with a timeline.”

Ozga appreciates the quick turnaround that agrihoods offer as well. “People want to have access to fresh ingredients. The produce can be harvested that day or the day before, and it’s on people’s plates that night for dinner,” he says. “The closer to harvest time that you consume food, the higher the nutrient value.”

Helms College students and chefs might give demonstrations at the produce stand as well.

Wrights Farm also works with Augusta Locally Grown and Eat Local CSRA, and the farm plans to offer online ordering for its produce. In addition, Daughtry hopes to provide fresh produce for other local restaurants.

For volunteer opportunities or more information, visit wrightsfarmaugusta.com.

By Sarah James

Augusta Christian Schools

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