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Our Story

The story of Terre à Terre Farm goes way back—to the end of WWII. Home from Europe, my Papa and Nana got married and bought a small farm in Claudville, Virginia. They farmed tobacco with a mule, raised huge gardens, kept animals, and worked multiple jobs. Papa measured tobacco for the county, drove the school bus for Red Bank School, and eventually settled in at the Pinnacles Hydroelectric Plant in Kibler Valley, where he would retire. Nana worked in the mill at Renfro in Mount Airy, NC, and retired from there.

I came along in July of 1985. I must have heard the Live Aid concert and decided this was a pretty decent place. I spent the majority of my young childhood and summer vacations at Nana and Papa's. It was a magical place, full of shade trees, flowers, and shrubs of all sorts. Summer nights were long and hot, with an open window and all sorts of sounds to create fantastical images in a young child's imagination. Being there was almost like being in a parallel universe because life went along just as it had in the 1950s, even though it was the 1990s. Working in the garden, canning tomatoes and snapping beans, watering flowers, and running from black snakes. Andy Griffith and The Beverly Hillbillies played on the TV in the background against the sound of Nana's mixer creaming potatoes for supper. It was the most amazing place to be a kid.

Papa always told me, "One day this will all be yours." As a kid, I thought that was a long way off. As a teenager, I thought there was no way I was going to stay in Claudville because I had my heart set on moving to and working in Atlanta. Little did I know that the universe had other plans for me. One year I just happened to notice one of Nana's Peony plants had over 60 stems with tight buds on it. Sure, I knew it was there and it would bloom and then flop over to the ground. I didn't even realize I could sell them until a conversation with a friend changed my mind. I drove down, cut and bundled them up in 10-stem bunches, stashed them in my refrigerator and made a phone call to a florist. That was the first time I sold a flower! Then it came to me—all of these shrubs, trees, and perennials Nana had planted were things that floral designers were looking for. My wheels started turning; books were purchased, and many late nights were spent reading about propagating and growing woody ornamentals for use in the floral design world.

The response to what I started has been huge! We've had so many wonderful things happen and met many amazing people who have spent time on the phone, in emails with me, or let me on their farm to see how they do things. I never dreamed in a million years I would be here doing this at 39 years old! Remember, I was going to Atlanta! I am so incredibly grateful to the people who have helped get me started and encouraged my wild dream of turning this farm into a self sustaining property and providing me with a way to support my family in a way that aligns with the lifestyle we strive to live. 


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