It’s always this point in the summer when I begin feeling very emotional and nostalgic about the passing of summer and entering into a new season. You see, college has not been the most natural transition for me. And although I have found great friends and a loving community in Anderson, leaving home will always sting a little. Three summers ago, when I decided to take over my brother's tomato business, little did I know the impact gardening would have on this college girl.
I came home from college that first summer, after freshman year, and I was tired. I was trying to get my feet under me and navigate being back at home after nine months away, but mostly I was just happy to be back in my place. That summer I took over the business and I learned more about myself and my love for the farm than I ever expected to. Pop (my grandfather) was my right hand man. He rode his Mule up every morning and would putt around the patch as I worked. I converted him to a Chick-fil-A breakfast lover and we would frequently dine on the back porch after tending the tomatoes. That summer came to a close and I realized just how much I loved the farm. It was then I realized I would be perfectly content spending the rest of my life on that piece of property I call home.
Two more summers have passed and I am sitting here at the end of my third year farming tomatoes. A lot has changed since that first year. I've added more plants, my sales have increased, my #1 supervisor has moved into Assisted Living, I've better learned how to tend my plants, and I've become very content at my college, and the list goes on... But there's one thing that hasn't changed.
I'll never get over the fact that I get to do this for a job.
The fact that an entire business can start with something as tiny as a seed. The fact that I work hard everyday to grow tomatoes that bring customers joy. The fact that my great-grandfather farmed this same property years ago and provided foods to the people of Rock Hill at Westbrook Grocery. The fact that I run this little business and am my own boss. The fact that most days I can be seen in a work shirt, shorts, and boots on #highfashionyall. I'll just never get over it.
So when I say this job means oh so much to me... I hope you believe me. Trust me when I say it's hard to see this season come to a close. Thank you for supporting me and this little thing I love.
So here’s to the next season. Back off to college, for my senior year. I’ll be back home soon, although only for weekends at a time. When I come back home, my plants will be brittle and brown with no tomatoes in sight. But that’s the thing about seasons. They come and they go. Just like the tomatoes taught me… there’s a time to plant, a time to weed, a time to tie, a time to tuck, a time to pick, and a time to move on to the next crop. And while the seasons change, it’s still the same farm, with my same lovely people waiting for me on the back porch.
Until next year,
The Tomato Lady