By Farmer Cass Fraunfelder
Hello, from Farmer Cass, farmer at Finch Creek Farm, in Winder, Georgia. I am thankful to have been given the opportunity to share with you a story about a young man who grew up to eventually become a full-time farmer. It all started when I was a young boy growing up in Southern Wisconsin with my grandpa on his farm. Palmer Anderson was my grandpa and my teacher. There is a very special part of farming that some folks don’t understand unless they have spent a little time on a farm. It is called “the miracle of the seed.” This is about the seed my grandpa planted in me that would eventually grow into another full-time farmer. What I learned from grandpa stayed with me. It is hard work, tough times, bad weather, broken equipment, broken fences, and faith that is strong enough to get over all of that and not look back. I have often said, “if you have little or no faith… farming will be a tough road.”
We started Finch Creek Farm in March 2011. Our first year yielded an excellent crop and only two farmers markets sold our veggies. I was working full-time in automated storage and retrieval systems for a Florida-based grocery chain in Atlanta Distribution. My full-time job was 35 minutes from the farm. I worked second shift so I could farm in the morning. In 2011 and 2012, during the spring and summer, I was working 85-90 hours a week. Between the farm and my full-time job. I knew eventually that something needed to change.
My best friend, my wife Kerin, was encouraging me to think about farming full-time. She supported whatever decision I would make and she loves being the farmer’s wife!
Another very good friend of mine spent many of his childhood years on his grandpa’s farm like I did. Reverend Dr. Thomas W. Elliott, Jr. spent time with his grandpa, Drew Malcolm in Bostwick, GA on a big family cotton farm. Tom has told me several times that his grandpa had planted a seed in him about faith and teaching others to be faithful.
Tom is currently serving as the assistant professor in the practice of practical theology at Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Tom encouraged me to go out farming full-time because he knew the seed was growing in me. Several years ago Tom wrote a song called, “The Miracle of the Seed” on his album God’s Time. I am thankful that I had many supportive people around me when we went out farming full-time. It is truly “the miracle of the seed” and my faith in God that has helped the seed to grow. Go out and plant a seed and watch it grow.
Farmer Cass Fraunfelder is the man behind Finch Creek Farm in Winder, Georgia. He became a full time farmer in 2013. He currently grows year round and supplies 27 restaurants in Atlanta with fresh and specialty produce. He is certified naturally grown, and takes pride in providing fresh, organic vegetables to the community and the farm-to-table restaurants.