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No plantations, but farm life is better

Kathryn Yarbro
Guest columnist

I’ve always enjoyed reading books about long-ago southern plantations. Of course most were fiction, but sometimes if you closed your eyes you could imagine living that lifestyle.
Thoughts of Miss Scarlett, who could put off her troubles until tomorrow, could wake you up, because most troubles, especially farm work, could never be delayed.
But plantation life was in the day when there were housemaids and workers for the kitchen, which wasn’t even attached to the mansion.
That’s far out from what I knew about farm life. But as I said, most were fiction.
There were some of us that never wanted the country lifestyle and then there were those who were gifted with green thumbs on both hands.
And today’s farm life has come a long way from what I knew. And those of us who reap the bounty of those who still work the soil are very fortunate that green thumbs are still around.
Living in the middle of a county where each end is as different as day and night, it is worth the time and effort to go from one to the other.
I like both. There’s a lot to be seen around the Denver and Lake Norman area. From one trip to another, the growth seems to be moving on.
But the west end certainly isn’t standing still. I see changes happening, maybe slower than the east, but moving in a very modern direction.
There’s no such thing as the small farm that I once knew. There are acres and acres of fields producing crops that are gathered and packaged on site.
It’s the season for blackberries and fields are now showing ripe fruit ready for market.
I was treated recently with a close look at the vines clustered around poles and wires in rows where they are watered when needed.
Picking was in progress and a packaging center set up, with the berries boxed and moved to a refrigerated room until leaving for the market.
Many pies are coming from Lincoln County berries.
There are vineyards at the Mitchem Farms, where two-year-old stalks held almost ripe clusters of white and purple grapes with another producing field nearby.
There are other things growing on this farm. There are some vegetables and annual crops of wheat and soybeans.
There are other farms in western Lincoln County that produce foods for many people. Cantaloupes, warmed by the sun and sweet as sugar, are found in the field among vines ready for picking. They’re also ready for eating when offered for supper.
Better than a book is a trip where green thumbs still produce food for the rest of us.

Kathryn Yarbro is former managing editor of the Lincoln Times-News.

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