Agriculture + Lifestyle. Discover the people, places and impact of ag in our great state.
A Mother-Son Farm Passport Adventure
Written by Sarah Futo
Sarah Futo and her son, Deacon
Before I became a mom, I had these visions of how I wanted to create the perfect childhood for my children one day. A little dose of magic and money was the recipe for what I thought would create the perfect summer memories and childhood to look back on. Well, here I am a 29-year-old mom to a two-year-old and I’m here to testify that magic doesn’t exist and money doesn’t grow on trees.
On Friday, March 13th, 2020, my life changed like many of yours, and I went from being a full-time teacher of 8th graders to a full-time mom entertaining my toddler during the day and grading papers zoom calling students during nap time. I had already decided to not return to teaching for the 2020 school year and instead stay home full time with my son. Those early days of quarantine and stay at home orders had me thinking that I made the wrong call and that staying home full time was going to be harder than I thought, on my life and our finances. However, as our lives drastically changed last year, so did my ideas of motherhood and memories and fun.
Elliot Farms was our first farm. My son, Deacon was decked out in his baby crocs, blue jean overalls, and Bass Pro Shop hat. I had the wagon in tow and our favorite babysitters and friends came along to pick strawberries and get some peach ice cream. We showed Deacon how to pick the red ones, how not to eat them all, and how to stay in the lanes. We left there with bellies sore from laughter and a spark in my mind that this was not going to be a one-time experience. I had heard about the Farm Passport, but didn’t know much about them. After a quick internet search and a text exchange with a friend, we were off to secure our passports and some more ice cream at Dickey Farms in Musella, Georgia. Just as a side note, strawberry ice cream is great and so is peach, but if ever given the option always, always choose the strawberry and peach swirl.
Soon after that it became a weekly activity. I wrote down all the farms by seasons and months so I wouldn’t miss their u-pick season. I used the farm passport’s map to hit a couple as we would travel away from Macon, and almost every single time tried to meet an old friend or family member who lived in that area. There is not much else good for the soul during quarantine than seeing a toddler on a farm. My family and friends all began to get passports and it became a fun affair to go on playdates or spend afternoons petting goats or picking blueberries. By the end of strawberry season my 1 1/2-year-old knew the difference between green and red and only grabbed the best of the best. We made jam and had more fresh fruit than ever before.
We continued our journey into summer and headed to South Georgia for peaches, watermelons, peanuts, and beans. If we were ever traveling, we would take a detour or reroute ourselves to hit another farm, roadside stand, or farmer’s market. As summer became fall, we decided to take our first camping trip as a family to visit all the apple orchards that North Georgia has to offer and eat the best apple fritter my mouth has ever tasted from Mercier Orchards. Each farm that we visited had a story or a specialty and it was so much fun to take part in that. I would set our driving route the night before and then call or Facebook message farms to confirm opening times. I never had a farm that did contact me back immediately or even a few times jump right off the tractor in the field to tell me about the farm and stamp my passport. Thirty-eight farms later and 2020 was our most adventurous year yet.
Without the Georgia Farm Bureau Farm Passport, I don’t think I would have ever done this. Don’t get me wrong the deal is sweetened with some pretty awesome prizes, but the food, experiences, pictures, and journey was so much more. As I scrolled through my phone reminding myself of this year of adventure, I am reminded that magic and money do not make childhood dreams comes true. It’s the intention. Be intentional with your time, your summers, your dollars. Buy local products, take your children or grandchildren to random farms in the middle of nowhere, and eat as much peach ice cream as you can stand. It’s never too late or early to create memories.
Be intentional this year by getting a Farm Passport. I promise you won’t regret it. I can’t wait for my son to get older and know about local farms, what seasons are best for certain produce, and remember all the memories we made going to different farms in our beautiful state of Georgia. Hurry and get your Farm Passport today (totally free, but the way) because strawberry season will be here before you know it!
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