Margie is the Swamp farmer that we all wish that we could adopt into our family! We love her and we love all of the amazing, beautiful Certified Organic produce that we are able to get from her throughout the year. We also love that Margie’s whole family is involved in creating the most sustainable and efficiently run farm possible. From Margie’s daughter, Holly, helping to plan out the creative and sometimes tricky strategy of crop rotation to Margie’s super cute grandchildren, Emma and Henry (who Margie deems as her best Instagram marketing team), the whole family plays a role!
Crescent Farm is on the same land that the Certified Organic Parson Produce Farm used to exist on. When Margie moved here in 2011, she actually worked for Parson Produce! She eventually took over the farm in 2013 and is currently in her 4th growing season as Crescent Farm’s fearless leader. It takes 3 years and a lot of time, money, dedication, and effort for a farm that grows produce to become Certified Organic. Luckily, since Parson Produce had already acquired the Organic certification, the 6 acres of beautiful and rich soil was ready to rock when Margie took it over.
In order to maintain the Organic certification, Crescent Farm undergoes regular soil testing from Clemson University Extension and follows strict guidelines for plant care. Only Organic approved natural fertilizer is used, when necessary, with Margie preferring to forgo chemicals completely. There are Certified Organic herbicides and pesticides that farmers are allowed to use on their land, but these can also kill beneficial insects. Margie told us that she has found that they don’t work as well as her “Catch and Squish” method!
Crop rotation is a key element that Crescent Farm enlists to minimize pests and weeds while maximizing nutrient return in the soil. The farm consists of 19 fields that are each a ¼ acre in which thousands of Certified Organic plants are grown during a season. Margie, with help from Holly, meticulously plans out which veggies should be grown on each plot of land based on what was previously planted in that soil. For example, beans and other legumes are nitrogen-fixing crops and will redistribute nitrogen back into the ground. Nitrogen is a vital nutrient that many other crops need to grow, such as tomatoes. So, after a season of beans being grown on one plot, the next season tomatoes will be grown in that same soil and have the nutrients they need to grow without the use of fertilizer. Crop rotation also prevents soil erosion, is a natural form of pest control, and prevents diseases from being able to spread. The amount of care and time that Margie, and her family, put into the farm make us appreciate all of the beautiful veggies she brings us so much more!
Crescent Farm takes their eco-consciousness a step further and tries to reuse as many of their materials as they can. It can be tricky operating a Certified Organic farm because a lot of the biodegradable products available are made from corn. The corn that is used is neither non-GMO nor Certified Organic, so therefore the product cannot be used on Crescent Farm because it would taint the soil as it broke down. Margie and Holly are also always on the lookout too for farming equipment that has been discarded or forgotten about. They then refurbish it themselves and use it on the farm. We got to see the really cool, old tobacco planter that they use to transfer all of their starter plants from their greenhouse into the ground!
All of Crescent Farm’s veggies and herbs are hand-picked and inspected by Margie or one of her two helpers. Have you met Ryan, with the luscious locks of curly hair, that works in our cafe?? He is actually one of Margie’s helpers in addition to a Swamp employee! Fun tidbit of information: Margie’s favorite veggies to pick are leeks and garlic because they are so yummy and her favorite thing to grow is swiss chard because it’s so beautiful! She also loves good craft beer and chocolate in case you are ever wanting to get her a Christmas present!
Visiting Crescent Farm was seriously like visiting a family member’s home. We got to pick and eat carrots right out of the ground and Mary’s son, James, got to play on the tractor! Just to make our hearts turn to mush even more, Margie made cookies for us and had delicious fresh-cut watermelon waiting to be devoured. There really is no better way to get to “know your food” than getting to see where it actually comes from.
We use Crescent’s kale, chard, carrots, and so much more in our cafe and our yummy pizzas to give you a chance to know your farmer and fill your belly! Our trip to Crescent Farm was an absolutely delicious dream!