Published on Monday, June 26, 2017
To say that Jason Anderson is passionate about his Louisiana farm is a total understatement. Driving up to his place, it is clear that he takes pride in the crops he produces.
“I grow vegetables.” Jason beams, walking quickly through a large shelter full of tables and coolers. “It’s fun to grow stuff. I love it. There's just something about it. I sell right here in the back yard.” He says without slowing down.
Although Jason’s dad has been farming since he was little, Jason is the first in the family to give vegetables a try. “I started in 1996 with cows.” Jason explains. “Then when I wanted to farm, Daddy said, 'Look, you're going to have to do something else because corn and soybeans ain't cutting it.' That's when soybeans were $5 and corn was $2. Maybe even a dollar something. So, I tried the vegetables.”
“I had a circus tent right here.” He recalls, motioning to the shelter in front of his house. “It went over pretty well so I continued, and it's grown into a huge business. I get chills thinking about it.”
When it’s open in the summer months, the shelter is full of colorful produce and swamped with people. While everyone is headed to the lake or 4th of July picnics, Jason is selling watermelon, tomatoes and sweet corn.
Knowing he’s making an impact in the community makes the long, hot hours worth it. “Yeah, with row crop you can feed people, but with vegetables, you're literally feeding them stuff that they're going home to eat tonight.” Jason says with excitement.
“You would be surprised how far people drive for fresh vegetables. I get a lot of city people. So when they come here, it's much more than buying something to eat. People don't understand how stuff grows. I bring people out here and they're like, 'Whoa! That's where all that comes from?' 'Yeah, it don't just all come from Wal-Mart. It has to be grown somewhere.’” He adds. “That’s my joy.”
But, Jason’s enthusiasm doesn’t exempt him from challenges of farming. Memories of feeding cattle out of a boat, due to high water are not too distant. Last year, devastating floods hit the area. “The water rose 10 feet in one night. And that's what nobody was ready for. That's why so many people lost so much.” Jason explains. “It was scary.”
Despite the tough times, Jason keeps moving forward. “A farmer, a rancher, a dairyman. They're a special kind of person.” He explains. “They're not crazy, but you can't just sit around. You have got to be able to want it. I'm one of those people, I can't sit still. I've got to be doing something.”
“It takes a lot to make a little, but I'm happy. I enjoy it. I get to wake up here, where I work every day. There’s a hell of a pride and sense of accomplishment in this. I'll see people away from here, and they're like, 'Hey, you're the guy that grows the vegetables!'"
"There's nothing that really compares to watching this stuff grow, knowing that I can grow it and I can support a community of people. The feeling, the pride that I get knowing that I am providing local people with fresh food, it's so good."
That’s why Jason Anderson farms.
Author: Natalina Sents
Categories: Why I Farm, Why I Farm Roadtrip