Here’s to the big three! Luke, Mandy (me), and Gary Jr!
We are all three farm kids with very different personalities. Gary Jr (far right) is the oldest and has always helped on the farm seasonally during our produce months. However he has also started helping out with some of the bookkeeping to help our mom out some. He has a full time job with the Chatham County Health Department as the finance officer, where he has worked for nearly 15 years. He has a real head for numbers which is clearly something he got from our dad. I can’t do math in my head but if you give dad or Gary Jr a problem they can figure it out before you can write it down! Gary attended Campbell University where he graduated with a Bachelors in Business Administration with a focus in Accounting.
Next in line is Luke. Luke has always been one with the outdoors. He has never liked being cooped up inside, give him a field and a tractor any day and he’s happy. Luke has been farming alongside our dad since he was just a kid and officially made it a career after he graduated from high school. He has shadowed dad for years and has learned a lot of the trades of the land and what goes into the day to day operation of the farm. He also takes a lot of pride in our 6 house egg layer operation. He stays on top of the day to day activities within the houses and if there is ever a problem he gets it fixed. He loves his chickens.
Luke’s wife Kelli started working on the farm about a year ago. She cooks lunch for Luke, Dad, and Jeremy. She also helps with our seasonal produce stand and delivering produce. This year Mema (Jeanette, Gary’s Mom) is no longer able to make her famous sourdough bread to sell at our stand but Kelli has been working hard on learning the ins and outs of this to be able to keep this tradition going. Before all of this she worked in daycare for years. Together Luke and Kelli have 3 children, Mekenzie, Austin, and Camden.
Then there is me. I am the baby of the Thomas clan. I never really knew 100% what I wanted to do with my career. I have always loved the farm but never really knew where I would fit in. After high school I went to school for medical transcription at night while I worked for First Bank in Broadway during the day. Then I worked as a medical transcriptionist until right after I had my second child. That is when I started doing more things for the farm. I have always helped seasonally in produce but now I have a much bigger role. I keep up with all the chemical applications on the farm, I do the food safety and GAP records/audits for produce, GAP records/audits for tobacco, fumigant management plan, emergency action plan, employee training, marketing through our facebook page and this website, as well as anything else needed secretarial wise for my dad. I am a perfectionist by nature and so any kind of rules/ regulations that need to be followed or kept up with is usually sent in my direction. I think most people do not realize the volume of paperwork that goes with farming. Our entire family has our own unique roles to keep the operation afloat.
Last but not least is my husband Jeremy or as most of you may know him, Squirrel. If I had a dollar for every time I have been approached with the two following statements I would be rich, “You must be squirrels wife” and “You have to be Gary Thomas’ daughter!” Jeremy has been working on the farm since we were engaged, 2006. He farms alongside my dad and my brother but he is also pretty much the in house mechanic. If it breaks down or something is not working right, he is the one that is called to work on it. Before Jeremy worked here he worked as a diesel mechanic, which has definitely proven to be a knowledgeable asset around here. Jeremy and I have 3 kids, Cash, East, and the newest, Mia (see above picture as she is usually attached to my hip these days.)
So there you have it, I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about our family and how we work together on the farm. Until next time, peace out y’all, and hope to see you at the farm!
All photos provided by Libby McGowan Photography.
– the farmer’s daughter