The reward of growing your own food Story and photos by Kristin Moriarty Journal Staff Writer Located just a little past Perry on Juice Plant Road, you will find acre after acre of farmland. Local farmer, Mister Nkrumah “Kru” Howell is the owner/operator of Love Blossom Farms. His family has owned the 420 acres of farmland for generations dating back to his great-great grandparents. “I grew up here until I was a teenager,” Howell said. “My grandparents original home is still on the property, but they have passed away. My parents were raised here and I am a fourth generation black farmer. My grandfather was a pulpwood and conventional farmer. I left when I turned 18 because I was tired of farming and gardening so I joined the Navy. But I got back into farming six years ago. I started back with some people in Atlanta and last year was when I came back home.” Howell’s first season back at his family’s farm he grew green peppers, jalapenos, habanero peppers, egg plants, okra, collards, potatoes, onions, scallions, sweet corn, heirloom watermelons, zucchini, squash and tomatoes. “I like to grow substantial food that sticks to the body for fuel,” Howell said. “Not to mention it’s food that the majority of people eat every day and there are so many different things you can do with them. For example, with the tomatoes you can stew them, they’re great for jarring, you can make sauce and so much more and they will last throughout the season. It’s the same with peppers. I also grow perennials, longterm plants such as the fruit trees pear, nectarine, plum, muscadines, blueberries and blackberries.” Howell shared that there are a lot of benefits to growing your own food or purchasing from a local farmer. “So if you know your farmer, you know your food,” Howell said. “And if you trust your farmer you can trust what you are eating. When I grow I like to know that I am not putting anything harmful on my food. That’s why you will see a lot of mulch in my gardens because it remediates the clay and dirt on the land. It’s also a natural weed suppressor as well as it draws earthworms, which reproduce and produce natural fertilizer. I also have chickens here for eggs and I use their manure for natural fertilizer. So again I know I’m not putting anything harmful like pesticides 12 Spring HOME & GARDEN 2018
Mister Nkrumah “Kru” Howell, owner/operator of Love Blossom Farms prepares a garden for spring planting. Howell is a fourth generation farmer.