Every Friday on social media, we post a Farm Feature Friday showcasing one of our dedicated North Carolina farmers or agriculture industry workers. Kari Sanderson Hobbs with Sanderson Farms – Wreaths & Garland is one of those industry leaders. The #FarmFeatureFriday campaign will run through December 2021 on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages and from August to December will feature younger farmers in the industry. Be sure to tune in each Friday afternoon on social and help show your support for our local farmers!
For some, Christmas spirit only comes once a year, but for Kari Sanderson Hobbs and her family, it is a year-long affair. Manager of Sanderson Farms – Wreaths & Garlandin Four Oaks, Kari has always had a love of agriculture and grew up learning the industry from her parents. In fact, she credits most of her success today to her raisings in agriculture. “Growing up on a farm has been the most important thing in developing my work ethic and my character,” she said, “because it is the epitome of hard work.”
In 1986, Kari’s parents, Kenneth and Vickey Sanderson, started farming Choose-N-Cut Christmas trees in addition to their row crop operation, Sanderson Farming. After growing trees for a few years, the Sanderson’s switched mostly to wreath and garland making, and Kari’s brother, Matt, continues to operate the row crop farm. “Today, the farm truly is a family affair,” Kari said, “we spend a lot of time together and are able to play off of each other’s strengths and weaknesses to get the job done.”
Although Kari worked as a school teacher for ten years, there was always a part of her soul that was longing to be back on the family farm. “I’ve been on this farm my entire life and I’ve always enjoyed working with my hands,” she said, “so wreath making has always clicked for me. I’ve never been happier than working on this farm with my family.”
A typical day on the farm depends on season and time of year, but always includes a variety of activities for Kari and her family. In the fall, you can find them making corn shuck wreaths with husks from Matt’s corn harvest. They also make cotton wreaths and eucalyptus wreaths seasonally. Other daily tasks include, training employees, shipping products, managing website/social media, taking orders, completing payroll and more.
Although each day is busy, November and December are the crux of hustle time for the Sanderson’s. “We could start as early as 5:30 a.m. and stay in the barn making wreaths until as late as 1 a.m.,” Kari said, “we often are working at least 12 hour days not only making wreaths and garland but selling them at the market, online and on-site at our farm store.” The farm has 2,200 Christmas trees planted for wreath and garland making this year!
Kari’s favorite part about making and selling wreaths is seeing the joy on her customers faces as they choose which one they would like to proudly display in their home. “It makes me happy to be able to use my creative abilities on something that makes others happy,” she said, “it’s my way of bringing Christmas spirit.”
Products from Sanderson farms Wreaths & Garland can be found during the winter months at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh and throughout the year online at their website, Etsy store and on-site at the farm itself in Four Oaks.
As a young person in agriculture, Kari’s advice to others seeking a career in the industry is to find your niche and stick with it. “There are so many opportunities in the agriculture industry that people can get involved with,” she said, “so figure out what you do best, roll up your sleeves and be ready to work!” She also encourages buying local products because it helps improve the strength of the agriculture community and sustains our local farmers.
In the future, Sanderson Farms will continue to provide high-quality products for their customers and continue to grow their Christmas greenery. Kari’s biggest goal is to be an inspiration to her two young daughters and raise them with the same love of agriculture that was placed in her soul long ago.