Earl Produce

file_000-13In Margaret Mitchell’s epic novel, “Gone With the Wind,” there is a memorable vignette where lead character, Scarlett O’Hara comes to grips with the hunger that is raging in the South after the Civil War. The scene was made even more memorable by Vivian Leigh’s portrayal of Scarlett in the movie version.

Scarlett stands in the garden at dusk, holds a turnip upward toward the sky and vows, “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.”

Scarlett and anyone else need never be hungry again if they once taste the delicious turnips from Jim Earl’s farm. They are absolutely delicious and are a staple in the area as gardens come to the end of the growing season. Jim also grows and sells tomatoes, okra, green beans, peppers, squash, cucumber, sweet potatoes, corn, watermelons, cantaloupes, both red and white potatoes and Martin gourds. In summer he raises a certain type of small pomegranate which is used mostly as an air freshener.

Jim grows limber cob corn, one of the most sought after types of corn for eating, canning or freezing.

Jim has followed in the footsteps of his father, Clayton Earl, who also farmed on the family land in Belwood, NC. After graduating from Belwood High School, Jim went into the Marines, returning to Cleveland County in 1959. He spent 40 years at PPG Industries in Lattimore, working in different areas of the production department.  His last assignment at PPG, before retirement, was in the Research and Development Laboratory.

Jim says, “I follow what my dad did by planting with the signs of the Almanac. I have found it pays off to do that. There are certain times that you cannot do that, sometimes the ground may be too wet, but by and large I follow that course.”

Jim says, “I look at my farming as a hobby, it supplements what food you have to buy.”

Jim enjoys playing golf and traveling with his wife and sometimes with another couple—they have most recently been on a trip out west.

“My sister and sisters-in-law gather the garden products for us when we are away,” Jim states.

“I recently exhibited eleven varieties of vegetables in the Cleveland County Fair.  I won five blue ribbons, three red ribbons and two white ones,” Jim says proudly.

“As mentioned before, I believe in planting by the signs of the atmosphere and earth and I already have my 2012 Almanac,” Jim says.

That is a good “sign” for next year’s garden and for those folks who wish to purchase Jim’s produce at the Shelby Farmer’s Market on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. Jim may be reached at 704 692-7761.

  • Earl's Produce
  • Jim Earl
  • PO Box 191
  • Lawndale, NC 28090
  • 704-692-7761 704-538-7765
  • [email protected]

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