One family in Calabash is founded on deep agriculture roots and a true heart for farming. Sallie Bellamy, fifth-generation farmer at Indigo Farms Market, has always loved farming and learned the trade from her parents and grandparents. “I knew that I loved farming from the very beginning and it is a part of my family heritage,” she said, “I tried other career paths for a while, but the calling of my heart always led me back home.”
With part of the farm based in N.C. and part in S.C., the Bellamy family is able to grow a variety of fruits and vegetables, including strawberries, blueberries, beets, okra, beans and eggplant. “I try to grow many varieties of eggplant each year like white, black, neon, and Indian,” said Sam Bellamy, Sallie’s father, “every year with them is different and you almost have to know how to use them in order to grow them. Although he loves watching all his crops come to fruition, Sam’s favorite crop to grow are his variety of beans because they are a challenge. “You have to figure out when they like to grow, which can be very interesting,” he said, “but I enjoy growing the colorful ones like wax beans and the Red Swan.”
A typical day on the farm starts around 5 a.m. with harvesting the crops that are in-season and preparing them for market. Depending on season, the remainder of the day is filled either with planting, sowing, weed management or other odd jobs that come up on a whim. “When you are growing product it’s like a rodeo,” Sam said, “you have to always be prepared because you don’t know which way the bull is going to turn.”
Although managing wildlife and pest problems can be difficult, Sallie and Sam say that they wouldn’t trade anything in the world for the awe and wonder that farming brings them. “I am surrounded by life everyday,” Sam said, “and it’s an amazing thing to be a part of that process and help some living things grow to fruition.”
Throughout the year, the Bellamy’s offer a variety of agritourism events to give you another reason to visit. “We love to do bonfires in the fall and winter months, but not the scary kind like kids do at Halloween,” Sam said, “our bonfires are relaxing, quite and help you appreciate the beautiful world we are blessed with.” Other events offered throughout the year include pumpkin patches, hayrides and barn yard animals. During the holidays, the family offers homemade grape juice and apple cider to enjoy while participating in these events. “I love making apple cider and I’ve done it for over 30 years,” Sam said, “it is a family tradition and it’s absolutely delicious.” If you would like some ideas as to how other fruits and vegetables are used on the farm, check out the recipes on Indigo Farms website!
The Bellamy family says that eating local is important for a variety of reasons. “You realize how important local agriculture is when you surround yourself with it,” Sallie said, “when you support your local farmers they support you in return.” The family takes immense pride in educating the public on the importance of agriculture because, in Sam’s words, “the value of agriculture is not just in food and fiber, but it’s in raising the next generation.”
In the future, Indigo Farms hopes to keep evolving under new family members, continue growing good, healthy products for their customers and increasing their involvement with the community. When they are not farming, you can find Sam watching Whatever Happened To The Morgans and Sallie getting lost in Nims Island.