Every Friday on social media, we post a Farm Feature Friday showcasing one of our dedicated North Carolina farmers, including young farmers just starting out in the industry. Andy Jenks with Po Hous Farms in Apex is one of those farmers. The #FarmFeatureFriday campaign will run through December 2021 on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Be sure to tune in each Friday afternoon on social and help show your support for our local farmers!
The Jenks family has been involved in agriculture for many generations and truly encompasses the meaning of a family run operation. The farm was purchased by the Jenks family in the early 60’s and originally grew tobacco, raised dairy cattle and operated a farm supply store known as Jenks Farm Supply. “Our whole family grew up on the farm and in the agriculture industry,” said Andy Jenks, “there are a lot of good memories here, especially from my childhood years of helping my dad and grandpa. It’s what I have always known, and I have a huge passion for it today.”
Much like the generations before, the Jenks family loves to stay busy at Po Hous Farm today, raising 20 beef cattle, 150 chickens, making homemade bread for their customers and growing hay, rye and a variety of produce, including tomatoes, eggplant and peppers.
A typical day on the farm looks different for each family member because, as Andy says, it takes all of them to be successful. “Both my dad and I still work full time jobs in addition to helping manage the farm and I am also a father to four kids, so needless to say, our farm is a whole family operation,” he said, “we all have different responsibilities that are equally as important and we wouldn’t have it any other way.” Andy’s dad takes on the morning duties at the farm such as feeding the cows and checking the fences before heading off to work. Then Sonya, Andy’s Aunt, and her husband Gary take over the daily chores and errands around the farm until Andy can leave his day job with the Town of Apex. In the evening, Andy and his father once again take care of the animals and any other nightly duties. Meghan Hill, Andy’s fiancé, currently manages the farms public relations and social media accounts as well as helps watch the children during the day with Andy’s sister. Even Andy’s grandmother and his four-year-old son help on the farm every day! “My granny absolutely loves the chickens, so she usually takes care of feeding them and collecting their eggs,” he said, “and then my four-year-old son wants to be plowing the fields. During the day he will even play with his little tractor and tell us he’s plowing the fields.”
Even though farming can be hard work, both Andy and his Aunt Sonya agree that there is no place they would rather be. “This is our home and it is rewarding to keep the family legacy of farming alive,” Sonya says. Andy echoes her affectionate sentiment for the farm, adding, “it’s a blessing to get to work alongside my family every day and raise my kids on the same land that I was raised.”
Products from Po Hous Farm can be found seasonally throughout the year at their roadside stand. Be sure to stock up on some of their homemade sourdough bread while you are there! Sonya has been making both sourdough and cinnamon sourdough bread since she received a bread starter from a family friend in 1979. This Faith Bread is a customer favorite every year!
As a young farmer, Andy wants to remind those seeking a career in the agriculture industry to stay positive because some days can be tough. “There are many paths you can take in the agriculture industry but you have to love it and be 100% dedicated to it,” he said, “it can sometimes be a bumpy road so you have to truly live it.”
In the future, the Jenks Family hopes to continue providing high-quality products for their customers and possibly even expand their offerings to include strawberries. When they need a moment to breathe, you can find Andy and Sonya singing along to the tune of Big Rock Candy Mountain or One Day At A Time Sweet Jesus.