Some things are better told through the lives of others . . .
"just making it to the next year"
But to me, he was a super hero..also known as Dad.
My great-great grandfather emigrated from Bavaria, Germany sometime in the late 1800's and settled in Madison County, AL. He ultimately started a family and one of his sons, George Hubert and his wife Sallie, is really where our story begins. In 1917, they bought a 78 acre farm that is still in the family and we still refer to it as the "Home Place". I often find myself looking out over this farm and picturing my forefathers working the field with a horse drawn plow, chopping wood, or going about any of the daily tasks it took to merely sustain life at the time. I am lucky enough to have a great uncle that wrote an autobiography and chronicled his early life on the farm. His name was Roy Hubert, the eldest of George and Sallie's four boys, but I knew him as "Uncle Red". He spoke about how poor they were, how lean times were, and the struggle to simply make it to the next year, but somehow they always found a way. In many ways, "just making it to the next year" still holds true for agriculture today.
As intriguing as my Uncle Red's accounts were, he holds a special place in the history of the farm for me personally for a different reason. As I mentioned, times were already lean in those days, but to compound the issue, enter the Great Depression. Uncle Red left home as a young teenage boy to join the Navy, not knowing at the time he would make a career out of it. Uncle Red initially joined to send money back home to the family every paycheck to help alleviate some of the financial woes and, in my mind, is as much responsible for the farms success as anyone. So, Uncle Red I know your in a better place, but cheers to you! I thank you! Now, of George and Sallie's four boys was my grandfather Wade A. Hubert.
My grandfather was born March 27th, 1921. He would be the man tasked with really leading the farm into the modern era. I often marvel at what he was able to accomplish. He would take a 78 acre family farm and grow the operation to around 2,000 acres of rented/owned land before his death in 1990. There were many of his peers that did exceptional things as well and I truly believe he was part of the greatest generation. They really just "don't make em' like that anymore".
On October 17th, 1951 Wade and Iva Hubert welcomed a bundle of joy named Billy Wade Hubert. But to me, he was a super hero..also known as Dad! My father always knew exactly what he wanted to do with his life and joined Wade in the operation upon graduating high school in 1970. In 1990 after my grandfather's death, Billy Wade took over the operation. My father was extremely passionate about agriculture and I don't think my dad ever met a stranger. Looking back, I am surprised we never entered the agritourism business until now, as much as he loved people and American agriculture. My father passed away of a massive heart attack on April 12th, 2003, at which for a time we ceased operations.
"What do you want to be when you grow up?"
"I WANNA BE A FARMER"
My father's passing was sudden and pulled the rug out from under my family's feet, but you look it in the face and fight on. I think back to the age old question many adults ask you when you are a child, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Many times you answer and the adult will laugh and dismiss your response, probably expecting it to change a hundred times before you embark on a career. Not me though, I knew from the time I was a sprout that "I WANNA BE A FARMER!". I am often reminded of a particular day in Kindergarten class where your parent came to speak about their occupation. Well my daddy was a farmer and I thought the sun came up just to hear him crow! I was probably walking around with my chest puffed out the rest of the week! I know it is comical, but I have always thought it was the absolute coolest job in the world and there was never an idea of being anything else. But obviously the good Lord had other plans with dad's death.
Fast forward a few years...I graduated high school, worked my way through college and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Alabama A&M, with a bachelor degree in Crop Science. I immediately knew when I got out that I wanted to start back up the farming operation. I embarked on the mission of restoring the farm in 2016 with the help of my beautiful wife Kaylee, family, and close friends. I started with close to a few hundred acres that was left owned within the family. Kaylee and I had always known we wanted to get back to the farm full time, but a few hundred acres of row crop, (and what I mean by row crop is the cultivation of major crops like corn, cotton, wheat, and soybeans) is just not enough to sustain a family, especially with the addition of our baby girl Addie Iva and our little man Atlas Walker. We always knew we wanted to try something different, but was just not quite sure what that was. I've always wanted to visit the Pacific Northwest for some time and lay eyes on the Tulip fields throughout the region.
One day it all came together sitting in my front yard. My daughter has been infatuated with picking flowers since she was able to walk. And as I was soaking up the pure joy and innocence of a little girl ecstatic to pluck anything that resembled a flower in the front yard, it hit me. I immediately thought of the Tulip fields out in Washington and Oregon and wondered if I could bring that here. My natural, initial thoughts were how vastly different our climates and soil types probably were, but I was reminded of a Tulip that my grandmother had planted in her flower bed that came back year after year and that "can't never could". So I decided to dive into it and reach out to some experts. Luckily, the Iverson's at Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in Woodburn, Oregon were more than gracious enough to offer their wisdom and set us off in the right direction. We have had plenty of help along this journey so far and we can not thank those people enough. You all know who you are! Kaylee and I wanted to bring something unique to this area that had not been done. Something that brought people happiness and a space to enjoy, relax and escape from the rigors of today's world. Ultimately, I feel like the average American is more disconnected from the farm than at any time in modern history. We understand not everyone has the opportunity to experience it at their fingertips, which is what really drove us to take on this experiment and open our fields to you all! We really hope you enjoy!