Look Up In The Sky ...
You can only be in one place at the time so I had to choose between the annual
meeting of the Georgia State Master Gardeners at Atlanta Botanical Gardens and the Georgia
Fruit And Vegetable Growers Association three day meeting in Savannah. My wife Linda said
she wanted to go to Savannah so that was a deciding factor. There was a spouse tour of
some of the places mentioned in "Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil",
shopping at Market Square and Riverfront, a trade show and a paddleboat ride with a live
band, buffet, and dancing - all very affordable. Evening entertainment at the motel was
provided by A.J.Bullard and wife Barbara playing guitar and fiddle on old standards. So
you can see how Savannah won out plus I had Ivan Tatum as my representative at the Master
Gardener meeting giving out bookmarks of my website. (Thanks Ivan).
The symposium was divided into categories that met concurrently. There were parts of it
that were confusing as to where some of the meeting rooms were and what the exact times
were as some literature gave the times in blocks. I won't go into individual topics but
broad topics were blueberries, muscadines, strawberries, brambles, vegetables and
marketing. I added a few more names to my list of Southern highbush blueberries: Cooper
and Ozarkblue. It's amazing the things you pick up at these meetings. I learned that if
you plant tomatoes over the septic line you don't have to salt them. And if you water them
with viagra, you won't even have to stake them. The most interesting thing of the whole
symposium was at the session on Marketing where the person with the most successful new
marketing idea would win $100.
One gentleman told about having busloads of school children brought out to his pumpkin
farm for hayrides and having their picture taken with a pumpkin scarecrow. Jack Reese,
with his successful orchard of Oriental persimmons, said all he ever did was give one ripe
persimmon to one little old Oriental lady and now every year they show up by the hundreds
at harvest time.
Then Karen Brothers of Far Reach Ranch in Tavares, Florida told us about how
she and her husband operate their own pick-your-own strawberry operation. On a still
afternoon with winds no more than 7 MPH, Jerry lays out his paraglider on the ground
behind him. He straps on his paramotor which is a tubular frame and harness with a motor
and a huge fan on back. It carries a 2 1/2 gallon gas tank. Jerry cranks the paramotor,
runs less than twenty steps and is airborne! He has been up as high as 1,200 ft but
prefers to fly between 200 to 400
feet. As he flies around in big circles he unfurls a banner that reads "follow me to Jerry's
berries". Then he heads down the highway with wife Karen following along in the chase
vehicle. He turns off and slowly descends at his farm and lands by the lake. It works!
Usually a caravan of five or so vehicles arrive. Sometimes people think he's a crashing
parachutist and call the police who by now are well aware of what's going on. Jerry tells
me he performs this feat 2 or 3 times a week in season in fair weather. It requires no
license and sometimes he takes aerial photos with a disposable camera. Amazingly enough
the guy with the pumpkin patch hay rides won the $100 prize because I suppose his
marketing techniques were more productive. All I can say is anybody that has the nerve to
turn themselves into a human kite is mighty brave.
© EDDIE RHOADES
You can visit Karen & Jerry at www.FarReachRanch.com