The Farm

Born in 2014, Congaree and Penn began as a tiny rice farm in Jacksonville, Florida. We've grown into dozens of acres of orchards, fruit trellises, tree nurseries, and (roll out the red carpet) my own little animal haven. We also host farm to table dinners, weddings, agritourism, and even our very own hard cider.

The farm is where my family is lucky enough to spend our days. We wouldn't change it for anything in the world. Come visit us!


The Story

Happenstance. It was by this stroke of fate, of stars aligned, of dumb luck, that I was born into a farming family, and then married a farmer twenty-eight years later. This was not my intention.  

Nestled in the bottom East corner of New Mexico, my family's farm thrives in a desert that is (sometimes) surprisingly hospitable to the coaxing hand of a farmer. There we grew (and still grow) chile, corn, onions, alfalfa, pecan trees, cotton and a handful of other crops that afforded a childhood barefoot, freckled and carefree. 

During my collegiate years, I imagined myself landing in a city, living in a loft, and supplementing my longing for a menagerie with very small critters that would fit inside of the shoebox that we would all live in. Whatever was I thinking? 

Scott was an artist, a scientist and a real individual. He was from the exotic state of Florida, and he wore consignment store scraps of t-shirts and short shorts that he'd made shorter himself. He had the scruffiest of beards, the obligatory college beer belly, the laugh to go with it, and he stood out from the sea of good ol' Texas boys, who were polished and sweet, but lacking the genuine charm and ease that Scott so handily wore (and still wears) on his vintage sleeves. 

It was during the year of our engagement that the plans for our own farm began to develop. Scott's pending graduation from the University of Miami's RSMAS with a Master's degree in aquaculture spurred our move to Jacksonville, where his father offered us a piece of land to develop. 

Born in 2014, Congaree and Penn began as a tiny rice farm. Not a fish farm, as one might expect someone with an education in aquaculture to pursue. Northeast Florida's swampy landscape proved ideal for growing rice, an oddity of a crop that most people we come across blink twice at. 

Since then, we've grown from four acres of rice paddies into a thriving farm of orchards and animals. Congaree and Penn boasts the largest (and youngest) Mayhaw orchard in the world, after planting over 2,000 trees throughout the past few years. Native to the South, a Mayhaw is a fruit bearing tree that produces a tiny peachy-red crab apple. It's tart, but enjoyable, and we're working to make it known beyond the South. My menagerie, the one that I had intended on fitting inside of my shoebox of a loft, is already more than I could have hoped for. Our chickens, Guinea fowl, a barn full of cats, my horse and my two ponies (of the canine variety) are my greatest loves, and I intend to keep this zoo growing.    

It's this endeavor, this farm, this happenstance that I embrace, like the childhood blanket that life on a farm is for me.