On a recent bright spring day, I visited Bramberi Farm in Lumpkin County, Georgia. My gracious tour guide was co-owner Ann Seigies. Bramberi Farm is an organic berry farm owned, developed, and operated by Joern and Ann Seigies since 2014. Both brought to the adventure extensive education and experience in sustainable agriculture and horticulture. Ann is a graduate of University of Georgia and Cornell University with degrees in horticulture and has worked in the fields of production orchard, botanical gardens, and community gardens. Joern’s background includes livestock handling, sustainable environmental management, and business. Ann and Joern both worked as development practitioners in developing nations and lived in various sections of the U.S. before settling in our area to cultivate their own farm.
Seeing the extent of the enterprise, I couldn’t help being impressed by the couple’s ambition, energy, and dedication. 1200 raspberry, 125 blueberry, 350 blackberry, and 500 strawberry plants comprise just a portion of their plantation. Add rhubarb, elderberries, Jerusalem artichokes, numerous other crops, flowers, and a collection of farm animals, plus the ordinary tasks of running any business (such as marketing, record-keeping, purchasing, etc.) and think of just two people managing all this alone! Pretty amazing, aren’t they?
As we walked about the grounds, Ann frequently paused to pull weeds or check for and manually eliminate destructive insects on the plants. Farming without chemicals is obviously much more labor-intensive than conventional farming, but the Seigieses must consider it well worth the effort to avoid spraying poisonous pesticides and herbicides on our food.
And the farm was clearly thriving under their care. The berry plants were laden with ripe and ripening fruit, and blossoms promised more to come.
Like many farmers and gardeners, Ann & Joern like experimenting with less-common produce, such as sunchokes, tayberries (cross between raspberry and blackberry), and kiwi berries. Who knows? Maybe someday these and other novelties will be popular in local farmers’ markets.
Ann generously shared with me some of the natural techniques Bramberi Farms employs to cultivate healthy plants bearing delicious and nourishing fruit and I will pass these methods on to you in a future post. Meanwhile, visit the Bramberi Farms website, http://www.bramberifarm.com/, for an entertaining and informative blog, engaging photos of the farm’s plants and animals, berry recipes, and more.
Order your berries online!! through Northeast Georgia Locally Grown.