Georgia Neighbors Spring 2021

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spring 2021 vol. 26, no. 1


A G R I C U LT U R E + L I F E S T Y L E

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WE ARE ALL FARM BUREAU Georgia Farm Bureau is committed to serving families like yours. With offices in nearly every county in the state, no one knows Georgia like we do. From the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Okefenokee Swamp, from the Chattahoochee River to the Port of Savannah, from historic small-town squares to Georgia’s largest cities — we’re woven into the fabric of this state.

Georgia Farm Bureau is now offering affordable Medicare Supplement plans. Talk to your local agent to learn more!

C O N T Blueberries at McCorkle Nurseries | McDuffie County, Georgia

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Get to know Tom McCall

PURPLE PEOPLE PLEASER Red Oak Lavender Farm enchants visitors

PRODUCTS WE LOVE Get refreshed, renewed and grow something, too

SPRING GREENS Stellar salads featuring locally-sourced ingredients

LOOKING GOOD, DOING GOOD Clothing brand Southern Proper shines light on ag industry

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Couple explores farms using guidebook


Professor Nick Fuhrman stars in Farm Monitor program


Dr. Ivan Allen connects Yoshino cherry trees and community


Try a new twist on shrimp and grits


Explore Georgia’s first officially-branded agritourism highway

Newest Georgia Farm Bureau ad song penned by longtime employee

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E N T S G E O R G I A FA R M B U R E A U Georgia Farm Bureau is the premier voice for agriculture in Georgia. We work earnestly to support a safe and abundant food supply that not only feeds Georgians, but the growing world as well. Georgia Neighbors Magazine is a nod to that genuine sentiment – it’s an opportunity to discover the people, the places and the impact of ag in our great state. Want to subscribe? Become a Georgia Farm Bureau member to receive Georgia Neighbors twice a year. Membership means supporting farmers and agriculture while having access to more than 300,000 discount offers. Visit For content inquiries or comments, please contact Information/Public Relations Director Kenny Burgamy at 478-474-0679, extension 5285, or email

ON THE COVER Daniel Welliver and Blue model Southern Proper at Southern Belle Farms in Henry County, Georgia.


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VIEW FROM THE FIELD Tom McCall, GFB President any of you reading this know me, but I’d like to introduce myself to those of you who may not. My wife, Jane, and I have three children. Our eldest son, Bud, passed away in 2000. Al and his wife, Rachel, have two sons: Winn (4) and Wilkes (2). Katie and her husband, Bristol, live across the pasture from us on the family farm. We attend Eliam Methodist Church. We operate our family grain and livestock farm in southern Elbert County, which is about 35 miles northeast of Athens. I was fortunate enough to attend Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and the University of Georgia, obtaining degrees in Agronomy and Animal Science. At the end of the 2020 General Assembly, I concluded my 26 years of service as a State Representative, 16 of those as Ag Committee chairman. The role of serving the residents of Georgia at the Capitol started with my involvement in Farm Bureau, working as county president, state Young Farmer chair and spending 13 years on the GFB State Board. Please know how grateful we are for your

vote of confidence in allowing me now to serve as your president and return “home.” It is essential to me that my time working for you be used to positively impact the state’s agriculture community. Increasing our organization’s membership is a very important mission that will allow Georgia Farm Bureau’s influence to have a greater reach. Our goal to promote and protect the state’s number one industry through education and policy promotion can be intensified by your participation. Please look at the card attached to page 9 in this publication. You can use that to sign up for membership with Georgia Farm Bureau, and enjoy the many benefits that are available to you and your family. Our focus must be keeping agriculture strong and educating consumers about its importance in our everyday lives by providing safe food, clothing and shelter. Thank you in advance for becoming a member and thank you for allowing me to work for you.

OFFICERS President TOM MCCALL, Elbert Co. 1st Vice President and South Georgia Vice President DANIEL JOHNSON, Pierce Co. Middle Georgia Vice President ROBERT FOUNTAIN JR., Emanuel Co. North Georgia Vice President BERNARD SIMS, Catoosa Co. General Counsel DUKE GROOVER Chief Financial Officer, Corp. Treasurer & GFBMIC Exec. VP DAVID JOLLEY Chief Administrative Officer & Corp. Secretary JON HUFFMASTER Asst. Corp. Secretary & Senior Counsel JEANNA FENNELL Asst. Corp. Treasurer & Sr. Director of Accounting RACHEL MOSELY DIRECTORS FIRST DISTRICT: Bill Bryan, Chattooga Co.; Wesley Hall, Forsyth, Co.; SECOND DISTRICT: Bobby Gunter, Lumpkin Co.; Russ Moon, Madison Co.; THIRD DISTRICT: George Chambers, Carroll Co. Nora Goodman, Paulding Co.; FOURTH DISTRICT: Skeetter McCorkle, McDuffie Co.; Marvin Ruark, Morgan Co.; FIFTH DISTRICT: Leighton Cooley, Crawford Co.; Matt Bottoms, Pike Co.; SIXTH DISTRICT: James Malone, Laurens Co.; James Emory Tate, Jeff Davis Co.; SEVENTH DISTRICT: Gary Bell, Evans Co.; Ben Boyd, Screven Co.; EIGHTH DISTRICT: Scotty Raines, Turner Co.; Don Wood, Wilcox Co.; NINTH DISTRICT: Lucius Adkins, Baker Co.; Paul Shirah, Mitchell Co.; TENTH DISTRICT: David Lee, Bacon Co.; Lamar Vickers, Berrien Co. YOUNG FARMER CHAIRMAN: Will Godowns, Pike Co. WOMEN’S COMMITTEE CHAIR: Heather Cabe, Franklin Co. GEORGIA NEIGHBORS Director: Kenny Burgamy Art Director: Nicollette Boydstun Photographer: Logan Thomas Contributors: Renee Corwine, Jennifer Lemoine, Randy and Susan Wright Consulting Copy Editor: Renee Corwine ADVERTISING POLICY All advertising accepted subject to publisher’s approval. Advertisers must assume liability for content of their advertising. Publisher maintains right to cancel advertising for non-payment or reader complaint about advertiser service or products. Publisher does not accept per-order, political or alcoholic beverage ads, nor does publisher prescreen or guarantee advertiser service or products. Publisher assumes no liability for products or services advertised in the Georgia Farm Bureau Neighbors. For advertising rates and information, contact Wendy McFarland at 334-652-9080 or mcfarlandadvantage@ Georgia Farm Bureau Neighbors was established in 1996. Copyright 2021 by the Georgia Farm Bureau Federation. Printed by Panaprint, Macon, Georgia.


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Red Oak Lavender Farm enchants visitors and lovers of the Mediterranean plant


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or David and Tina Duffey, the idea of growing lavender came from some unexpected inspiration. With a few empty acres on the back of their property in Dahlonega, they’d first considered growing olives. “Then I saw a picture in a magazine of rows of lavender in Provence, France,” said Tina. “I knew a little French because I took it in high school. When I remembered that my grandmother’s favorite color is purple, and that lavender reminded me of her, I knew what we needed to do.” That spark in 2014 has grown into a 3,000-plant operation which includes a store stocked with lavender products, plenty of photo ops among the fields, classes about growing lavender and even a few honey bees and chickens for variety. Primarily, the couple wanted to create a welcoming space to be enjoyed by the community. “It’s about giving back to the community and allowing others to come here and enjoy it,” Tina said. “People sit at our picnic tables and will spend the whole day here.” Much of their success can be attributed to the extensive research the couple conducted before planting began. “Through research, we found out lavender is a Mediterranean plant, and we aren’t in a Mediterranean climate. All of the experts said it wouldn’t grow in Georgia,” she said. “There’s too much rain and humidity here, and the plants need space to allow air to come through. So, we added rock to the soil and amended it to be more alkaline.” Tina joked that with David being a retired engineer for the Georgia Department of Transportation, he “really knows his rocks, and he knew exactly what we needed to add to get that well-drained soil.” Their 15 different varieties of lavender each bloom at slightly different times, thus keeping the farm looking fresh for photos and visits. They do a good business selling bundles of lavender, which are harvested and hung upside down to dry, to folks visiting their farm store – both in person and online.

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Packages of lavender buds are also popular, as are sachets, eye masks, soaps, lotions, room spray and more made with the buds. Culinary lavender is sold to Asheville Tea Company for tea, to Etowah Meadery for honeylavender mead and to several distilleries for use in gin and vodka. Whole stems are packaged and sold for use in fire pits – to keep mosquitoes away. “You really can use all parts of the lavender plant; it’s amazing how many uses it has,” said Tina, adding that there are 453 varieties. In addition to selling their product, Red Oak has capitalized on the agritourism aspect of the farm, with farm tours and classes. “In Georgia, growing lavender is not as commercially viable as it is in Washington. It’s something that if you’re going to do here, you need the agritourism component,” David said. “Come to the farm, visit the chickens and honey bees and stop for photo ops, that’s what makes our farm successful. And when the lavender isn’t blooming, we have an herb garden, sunflowers and dahlias.” The Duffeys said that everything they earn from the farm goes right back into it. With a bulk of their savings invested in the farm, when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, they thought about giving up. Instead, they amped up their online store presence and curb-side pick-up, staying focused on life after the pandemic. “We thought, when people can get out again, they’ll want to come to a place that’s relaxing and beautiful, where they can be out in nature and touch and smell the plants,” Tina said. For Tina, a retired teacher who’s always loved growing flowers, Red Oak Lavender Farm is proof that if you dream it, anything is possible. “If you have a dream, go for it. It will inspire you and other people,” she said. “This farm allows me so much peace while I’m out in nature. When I’m tending the lavender, I see bumblebees and honey bees and hear birds chirping. And at the end of the day I can look back and see what I’ve accomplished, my hand to heart.”


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Looking good, doing good Through its unique ties, clothing brand Southern Proper shines light on Georgia’s ag industry


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Style isn’t a matter of money, but a matter of manners.

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hen Emmie Howard co-founded clothing brand Southern Proper in 2005, she didn’t set out to have an impact on Georgia’s ag industry. But 16 years later, with prominent figures such as former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall sporting her signature ties, what started as a home business has grown into a national brand. “Honestly, I was just putting together two things I’ve always loved: Southern men and fashion,” said Howard. Co-founded with her best friend from college, the pair started by creating neckties and bowties in Howard’s Atlanta-area dining room. Over the years, they added other product categories and the brand grew into a multi-million-dollar business. The ties remained the brand’s niche, as Howard believes ties can be a “window to a gentlemen’s personality,” and she wanted to use that window to showcase Southern icons and reflections of her upbringing in Ripley, Tennessee. “From the riverboats I watched float the Mississippi River to crops like corn and peanuts, using these icons was a cool way to start this brand, and we did it at a time when the culture for Southern food and fashion was coming up,” said Howard, whose family is fifth generation farmers. Featuring everything from peanuts, wheat and cotton to magnolia blossoms, tractors and ducks, Howard saw the ties as a way for Southern gentlemen to reflect their personalities and their interests, while still wearing their Sunday best. “The ties were a great way that my dad, grandfather or brother could express themselves through wearing ties. And they are great conversation starters that reflect part of your lifeblood and personality,” she said. After then Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue was spotted at the State Capitol wearing a Southern Proper tie, the brand became a must-have among legislators, especially those with ties, no pun intended, to the ag industry. “I love Southern Proper because they bring together two of my favorite things: Georgia agriculture and spiffy neckties,” Perdue said. “I’ve heard there was a running joke in the White House about which commodity tie I’m going to be wearing that day. I walked into the West Wing one day last year, and the President’s aide looked at my tie and said to his coworker, ‘Hey I won! It’s his tractor tie today.’” Jeffrey A. Harvey, director of the Public Policy Department at Georgia Farm Bureau, took note of the way Southern Proper’s ties advertised Georgia’s commodity-based agriculture industry, and sought a way to use them to gain more exposure for farmers. “Each year our team chooses a commodity to highlight. Whatever commodity we highlight, we give out Southern Proper ties to Georgia House and Senate ag committee members and the agriculture commissioner,” said Harvey. “Now, any day that I am walking through the State Capitol, I know I will see three or four ties that we’ve given out. It’s like we planted a lot of seeds over the years, and it’s so fun to watch them grow. When those legislators are out talking to people, it’s a reminder to everyone that ag is important.” Calling them “good looking ties,” Harvey said he’s almost certain he has all of the ag-based ties Southern Proper has made. “I love the traditional Georgia peach tie, but my favorite is the red cotton tie, although I have a light blue beef cattle tie that I love, too,” he said with a laugh. The brand’s most popular tie of all time, according to Howard, is the cotton boll tie. She was quick to add that the peanut tie is also a huge favorite, especially here in Georgia. Southern Proper has gone a long way in building support for Georgia’s agriculture industries. “Georgia business will always stand with our agriculture industry, and Southern Proper puts their money where their mouth is,” Perdue said. Through its unique reflection of Southern culture, the brand has built a huge fan base among Southern gentlemen. “These ties are fashionable items that people want to purchase and wear, and from our point of view, it’s such a great promotion of agriculture,” Harvey said. “We’re most appreciative of them, and we value that they keep ag in the forefront of people’s minds in a way that’s nontraditional.”


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Blue, a 3-year-old black Labrador, does his best impersonation of the dog on Southern Proper’s logo. See more at G E O R G I A N E I G H B O R S / s p r i n g 2 02 1


We value that they keep ag in the forefront of people’s minds in a way that’s nontraditional. As agriculture and fashion have evolved over the years, so has Southern Proper. In 2012, when Howard’s original business partner divested the business, Howard found an investor and continued to grow the business. In 2018, the entrepreneurial Howard was ready for something new, so she sold Southern Proper to Alabamabased HomTex. “When I sold, we took the team with us,” Howard said. “I told HomTex I’d commit to transition for a year, and I’m so thankful for them and for how everything has worked out.” Adding familiarity to the transition can be credited to Maury Lyon, vice president of sales at HomTex, who has known Howard for a decade. In 2010, Lyon, who owned clothing company State Traditions, partnered with Southern Proper on a line of State ties. “What HomTex ultimately bought was the great reputation and wonderful brand connection that Southern Proper had built with so many folks in the South,” Lyon said. “HomTex and our ownership were able to use the brand familiarity and add our resources, manufacturing expertise and leadership to help Southern Proper continue to thrive.”

Daniel Welliver at Southern Belle Farms

HomTex plans to build from the original vision, creating something new without deviating from the brand’s appeal. “We are considering alternative directions for the brand, offering more of a male influence and hoping to reach a broader demographic. We plan to bring Southern Proper into its third decade of connections and resonance with folks in the South and expand our geographic footprint,” Lyon said. Now, Howard is president of men’s Southern lifestyle brand Onward Reserve, which sells Southern Proper items in their 12 stores around the Southeast. “One of the things that always made us different is that Southern Proper is more than just a brand. It’s a really cool subcategory of Southern culture and fashion, and I’m proud that we started that. There are a lot of brands out there now, but no one did what we did with neckties and bowties for the well-dressed man — that’s in our name: Southern Proper,” Howard said. As their website says, “Style isn’t a matter of money, but a matter of manners. Style means doing good in the world and dressing your best. Inspired by the gentlemen who were hard working in the field but dressed in their Sunday best for fancy occasions, Southern Proper is classic, courteous, crisp and tied like a well-knotted bowtie.” Howard elaborated: “Being a Southern gentleman is more than just looking good, it’s about doing good. That’s why people like Sonny Perdue and organizations like Georgia Farm Bureau appreciate our brand – our values align.” 16

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THE MAN BEHIND THE SONG Joey Shipp is a music lover. He’s also a Georgia Farm Bureau Farm Risk Manager who has been with the company for nearly 30 years. Recently, Joey had the chance to merge his love for music with the pride he feels in his work when he wrote the lyrics to “We Are All Farm Bureau,” GFB’s newest ad theme song. Listen to the song at

WHAT INSPIRED YOUR LYRICS? WHEN DID YOUR MUSICAL CAREER BEGIN? My first real musical experience came in the fourth grade when I began singing in the school chorus. In my teen years, I sang in the church youth choir. As I entered my 20s, I began to write and record songs and perform at various events, including more than 100 weddings.

WHERE DID YOU GET THE IDEA TO WRITE ‘WE ARE ALL FARM BUREAU?’ The jingle was written almost entirely in my mind on a drive home from Macon to Warner Robins. I thought of the different facets of our organization: How we represent farmers, how we enjoy such a tight-knit work environment and how our members play vital roles in the organization. G E O R G I A N E I G H B O R S / s p r i n g 2 02 1

“From the field and the forest” is a nod to the farm member. “To the office and the home” is a nod to our non-farm members. “In the city and the country” reflects that we are valued in all locations by all demographics. “We are all Farm Bureau” means that once you have been introduced to the organization, it becomes a part of you and you become a part of it.

WHAT DOES GEORGIA FARM BUREAU MEAN TO YOU? Farm Bureau values are consistent with mine, including faith in God and love of family and country. The company has deeply impacted my family’s wellbeing and life experiences, and I am forever grateful for that. 17

GFB Passport safely brings farmers and travelers together to explore Georgia When Randy Wright stumbled across the Georgia Farm Bureau Farm Passport, he never guessed where it would eventually take him and his wife, Susan. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Passport program became the perfect blueprint for retirees Randy and Susan to safely socially-distance while exploring all that Georgia has to offer. They visited 52 farms, met some incredible people and spent many wonderful hours enjoying each other’s company. Learn more about the program, which highlights Certified Farm Markets across the state, at

our adventure y wife, Susan, and I were over at Dickey Farms in Crawford County getting some peaches and I saw the GFB Passport book. I picked one up and glanced through it. Interesting, I thought. When we got home, Susan read through it and suggested this might be something good to do together. I agreed and gave her a Georgia map and asked her to plot out the farms she wanted to go see. Little did I know that a few farms would turn into many. Both being retired, we had no set schedule to keep, so our adventure started in late July 2020 in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. We both knew to take precautions. The first four farms we visited were apple houses located in North Georgia. The folks welcomed us, and we had some great conversations. We also bought some good apples! After we got home that night, we had a long talk about our first trip. Both of us were hooked on seeing as many farms as possible. So, we made plans to take every Thursday to visit several farms, and Susan got busy planning out our routes. Visiting three or four farms at a time, sometimes we did not get back home until 10 at night! By late November, we had been to 52 farms and had a great time at each of them. There were several owners


who I must have talked to for at least an hour. Most of the farms seemed to be doing okay. However, there were several farms in southwest Georgia that seemed to be having difficult times. This was so heartbreaking to us! If we knew about the Passport program earlier in the year, we possibly could have made it to every farm. One important thing we know now is not every farm is open at the same time and some are seasonal. I’m glad Susan called ahead, because several were closing but told us to come anyway. They stayed open just for us! Our adventures took us to North Georgia, Atlanta metro, West Georgia, Southwest Georgia, Southeast Georgia and our home area in Middle Georgia. What a great way to visit our beautiful state! We traveled everything from interstates to dirt roads. In conclusion, Susan and I will never forget our experiences we shared going to these farms. We saw so much good in the people we met and talked to and how friendly they were. Each of their farms had their own uniqueness and a common thread I saw was they are kind, hardworking and genuine. To show our appreciation to them , we made it a point to buy something at each farm. Randy & Susan Wright

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MEET THE REAL ‘RANGER NICK’ Popular Farm Monitor program features UGA professor Nick Fuhrman


“Ranger Nick” is a feature on the Farm Monitor, the only television program dedicated to Georgia farm news and features. Tune into the Farm Monitor to learn more about your food and how it’s grown. Find showtimes at


G E O R G I A N E I G H B O R S / sprin g 20 21

he story of how Nick Fuhrman became “Ranger Nick” really starts with a man called “Ranger Bill.” Growing up in Perry Hall, Maryland, a 7-yearold Nick became fascinated with a park ranger who came to his classroom with an assortment of injured or rehabilitating animals and taught lessons about agriculture and the environment. “It was the coolest thing. I knew right then that I wanted to be that guy,” Nick said. That guy was Ranger Bill. A year later, Ranger Bill took on Nick as a helper. When Nick turned 16, he began officially working with Ranger Bill and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources doing animal presentations. The first in his family to go to college, Nick went to Virginia Tech as a forestry major, but he kept his summer job working with Ranger Bill. Soon, people started calling him “Ranger Nick.” His college experience led to assistant teaching opportunities, which made him realize that teaching could be a way to directly share his love of animals with others. After graduating with a Master’s in Forestry, Nick began to wonder if using animals with visible injuries was a better teaching tool than using healthy animals. It was enough to base a doctoral dissertation on, and so he went on to earn his Doctor of Philosophy in Agricultural Education and Communication from the University of Florida. “For my whole life, I’ve been using animals in education, and I’ve seen the difference that animals can make when they are used as an ambassador of a message, and I’ve seen the commitment people have in wanting to help and understand injured animals,” he said. “I’ve worked with turtles, owls, hawks, snakes, eagles and more. There’s something about when the animal has a special story – people just melt.” Nick has been teaching at the University of Georgia for 12 years now, where he’s a professor in the department of Agriculture Leadership, Education and Communication. He teaches environmental education, program development and statistics. G E O R G I A N E I G H B O R S / s p r i n g 2 02 1

About seven years ago, his department chair asked if he would like to help build a relationship between UGA and Georgia Farm Bureau through some Farm Monitor television segments. He saw it as a way to get his students more involved, as well as spread his love for education. Of course, there was no better title than “Ranger Nick.” “We taped the first one in November 2013,” he said. “We had a blast! It was about owls and building owl boxes. From there, that was it!” More than 75 segments later, Nick said the program has “brought a whole new level of joy to me and my family. We’ll be different places and someone will recognize me from my voice. I’m always amazed that people actually watch it,” he said. “To know that people are watching and learning something, that they are engaged, I’m so humbled by that.” Although he looks back fondly on each of his segments, one favorite quickly came to mind. For the 75th episode, he showed how his students have been working with Extra Special People Inc., an organization that helps folks with special needs. “I met Nick Smith at ESP. At 28, he’s the oldest and smallest man with primordial dwarfism in the world. He has a little farm where he helps take care of animals. It was such a cool segment, and is so in line with where my heart is,” he said. Through the show, Nick tries to change perceptions about agriculture and natural resources. He seeks to demonstrate how interesting and how important they are, and how agriculture is relevant to everyone. “I also wish people knew how sophisticated and technologically advanced farmers are,” he said. “People envision a guy with overalls and a metal bucket milking a cow. They don’t realize that person is actually a business person looking out for their land and the environment, running a business, caring for their family – all these things. They are wiser than they are given credit for. Those are sharp, forward-thinking folks, who are always so willing to tell the public about what they do. I’ve never met a farmer or ag producer who’s not happy and proud of what they do.” 21

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“What my wife especially loves is it gives her back feelings of safety and independence which has given a real boost to her confidence and happiness! Thank You!” –Kent C., California The first thing you’ll notice about the Zinger is its unique look. It doesn’t look like a scooter. Its sleek, lightweight yet durable frame is made with aircraft grade aluminum. It weighs only 47.2 lbs but can handle a passenger that’s up to 275 lbs! It features one-touch folding and unfolding– when

folded it can be wheeled around like a suitcase and fits easily into a backseat or trunk. Then, there are the steering levers. They enable the Zinger to move forward, backward, turn on a dime and even pull right up to a table or desk. With its compact yet powerful motor it can go up to 6 miles an hour and its rechargeable battery can go up to 8 miles on a single charge. With its low center of gravity and inflatable tires it can handle rugged terrain and is virtually tip-proof. Think about it, you can take your Zinger almost anywhere, so you don’t have to let mobility issues rule your life. Why take our word for it. You can try the Zinger out for yourself with our exclusive home trial. Call now, and find out how you can try out a Zinger of your very own.

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The Zinger Chair is a personal electric vehicle and is not a medical device nor a wheelchair. Zinger is not intended for medical purposes to provide mobility to persons restricted to a sitting position. It is not covered by Medicare nor Medicaid. © 2021 firstSTREET for Boomers and Beyond, Inc.


Throughout the ages, there have been many important advances in mobility. Canes, walkers, rollators, and scooters were created to help people with mobility issues get around and retain their independence. Lately, however, there haven’t been any new improvements to these existing products or developments in this field. Until now. Recently, an innovative design engineer who’s developed one of the world’s most popular products created a completely new breakthrough... a personal electric vehicle. It’s called the Zinger, and there is nothing out there quite like it.


EARTH Dr. Ivan Allen sees connection between Yoshino cherry trees and community

r. Ivan Allen, president of Central Georgia Technical College, is the 2021 chairman of the Cherry Blossom Festival in Macon. “As a Macon native, the Cherry Blossom Festival will always be dear to me,” Allen said. “I have fond childhood memories of the yearly visits to the festival with family and friends. As an adult, I’ve been able to re-create those same special festival moments over the years with my children.” Allen has served on the festival’s board of directors for six years, and was selected by the festival’s executive committee and President & CEO Stacy Moore. “Dr. Ivan Allen is the perfect festival chairman for 2021,” Moore said. “He has a regionalism perspective and can help the festival take the same approach for growth in the future.” As president of CGTC, Allen understands how to meet the ever-changing needs of business and industry, including agriculture. “CGTC educates the men and women who play pivotal roles in the agriculture industry,” he said. The industry itself, especially forestry, has strong ties to the festival. According to Moore, the project for the initial mass planting of Yoshino cherry trees was started 40 years ago. The Fickling family donated 10,000 trees and Georgia Power provided the planting services. Each year, the Fickling family donates 10,000 seedlings, which has resulted in 350,000 Yoshinos in Macon. “The trees have a life span of around 30 years. Since most of them are aging out, a reforestation project has begun by the Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful Commission. Each year, they replant 5,000 trees in order to ensure the health of the Yoshino canopy,” Moore said. Thanks to that community effort, the trees continue to serve as reminders of the importance of forestry. “The city is greatly advancing Georgia’s pursuit to remain the number one forestry state in the nation,” Allen said. G E O R G I A N E I G H B O R S / s p r i n g 2 02 1


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“To you, it’s the perfect lift chair. To me, it’s the best sleep chair I’ve ever had.” — J. Fitzgerald, VA


also available in Genuine Italian Leather (and new Chestnut color)

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Pictured: Italian Leather chair chestnut color. Chestnut color also available in DuraluxTM fabric

You can’t always lie down in bed and sleep. Heartburn, cardiac problems, hip or back aches – and dozens of other ailments and worries. Those are the nights you’d give anything for a comfortable chair to sleep in: one that reclines to exactly the right degree, raises your feet and legs just where you want them, supports your head and shoulders properly, and operates at the touch of a button. Our Perfect Sleep Chair® does all that and more. More than a chair or recliner, it’s designed to provide total comfort. Choose your preferred heat and massage settings, for hours of soothing relaxation. Reading or watching TV? Our chair’s recline technology allows you to pause the chair in an infinite number of settings. And best of all, it features a powerful lift mechanism that tilts the entire chair forward, making it easy to stand. You’ll love the other benefits, too. It helps with correct spinal alignmentand promotes back pressure relief, to prevent back and


muscle pain. The overstuffed, oversized biscuit style back and unique seat design will cradle you in comfort. Generously filled, wide armrests provide enhanced arm support when sitting or reclining. It even has a battery backup in case of a power outage. White glove delivery included in shipping charge. Professionals will deliver the chair to the exact spot in your home where you want it, unpack it, inspect it, test it, position it, and even carry the packaging away! You get your choice of Genuine Italian leather, stain and water repellent custom-manufactured DuraLux™ with the classic leather look or plush MicroLux™ microfiber in a variety of colors to fit any decor. New Chestnut color only available in Genuine Italian Leather and long lasting DuraLux™. Call now!

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Because each Perfect Sleep Chair is a custom-made bedding product, we can only accept returns on chairs that are damaged or defective. © 2021 firstSTREET for Boomers and Beyond, Inc.


Footrest may vary by model



With help from our Certified Farm Markets, try this new twist on shrimp and grits created by Holly Chute, executive chef for the Georgia Departments of Agriculture and Economic Development.

G E O R G I A N E I G H B O R S / s p r i n g 2 02 1



pound shrimp, peeled and deveined


cloves Country Gardens Farm garlic, minced


tablespoons peanut oil, divided


tablespoons rice vinegar cup Bruce’s Honey Shack honey


tablespoons chili garlic sauce, to taste cup Little Duck Farms pecans, chopped Salt and pepper, to taste Optional: lime wedges, fresh cilantro and chopped scallions

Combine shrimp, garlic, 2 tablespoons peanut oil, rice vinegar, honey, chili garlic sauce, salt and pepper in a bowl. Marinate about 1 hour in the refrigerator. Heat large wok or cast-iron skillet to high with remaining 3 tablespoons peanut oil. Use tongs to remove shrimp from marinade onto a plate, then slide shrimp into the hot pan. Working quickly, sear shrimp about 30 seconds per side over high heat, until they are just cooked and each side has a thin brown caramelized layer from the marinade. Remove shrimp from wok onto another plate. Pour marinade into pan and reduce until it thickens and becomes syrupy, like a glaze. Add pecans and stir. Taste and season with salt and pepper, and more chili sauce if desired. Remove from the heat and toss the shrimp with the glaze and pecans until coated. To avoid overcooking the shrimp in the hot glaze, transfer immediately to serving dish and garnish with cilantro, lime wedges and chopped scallions, if desired. Serve with rice or grits.

For more recipes, visit 26

G E O R G I A N E I G H B O R S / sprin g 20 21


PREP: 15 mins | COOK: 90 mins | SERVES: 4-6 4

cups water or chicken broth, more as needed


teaspoon salt


cup Rockin’ S Farm stone-ground grits


ounces Country Gardens Farm shitake mushrooms, sliced


tablespoons Southern Grace Farms pecan or olive oil


cup scallions, chopped


cup Mountain Valley Farm goat cheese Salt & pepper, to taste

Bring water or stock to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add salt to saucepan then whisk in grits. Stir grits until they come to a boil. Lower heat to simmer then stir grits periodically to prevent sticking. Cook 45-60 minutes until grits are soft. You may need to add more liquid if grits get too thick, as each brand of grits cooks differently. While grits are cooking, cook mushrooms in pecan or olive oil over medium heat until deep brown and almost crispy. Season with salt and pepper. You may want to do this in two batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. When grits are tender to the bite, stir in scallions, cooked mushrooms and goat cheese. Adjust seasoning. G E O R G I A N E I G H B O R S / s p r i n g 2 02 1


trail 37 E XP E R I E N C E A G O N

Explore more of Trail 37 at

Trail 37, Georgia’s first official agritourism highway, takes travelers on a gorgeous tour of South Georgia’s bountiful ag country. This 157-mile trek stretches east to west from Homerville to Fort Gaines, and features small towns, family farms and country roads. Along the way, you can pick your own peaches, sip muscadine wine, shop locally-made products and sample unique dishes from true farmto-table restaurants. Jump in the car, grab your Farm Passport, roll down the windows and take it all in.

Artwork by Georgia-based artist Jennifer Lemoine with Smitten Invites. 28

G E O R G I A N E I G H B O R S / s prin g 20 21

STILL POND V I N E YA R D Founded in 2003 in Calhoun, Still Pond Vineyard is now one of the largest commercial vineyards in Georgia. They produce 19 different muscadine wines, some fortified and some infused with berry and fruit flavors. During your visit, sample wines, take a tour or stroll along the pond that inspired the winery’s name.

G E O R G I A N E I G H B O R S / s p r i n g 2 02 1


LIVE OAK B E D & B R E A K FA S T If you seek to relax and renew amidst gracious Southern hospitality, visit Live Oak B&B in Adel. The spacious and comfortably furnished lodge sits among 3,800 acres of ancient dogwoods, oaks and pines. Perfect for couples and families, amenities include dining, golf, fishing, bird watching, kayaking and nature trails.


G E O R G I A N E I G H B O R S / sprin g 20 21

SOUTHERN GRACE FA R M S For eight generations, the McMillan family has farmed the lands in Enigma. Admittingly “Southern by the Grace of God,” they grow traditional Southern crops such as cotton and peanuts, as well as peaches, grapes, sunflowers, u-pick berries and more. Visit the country store to shop for Georgia-grown specialty items.

G E O R G I A N E I G H B O R S / s p r i n g 2 02 1


GEORGIA OLIVE FA R M S Five farmers came together in 2009 with a dream to resurrect olive oil production in Georgia. In 2011, Georgia Olive Farms harvested their first commercial crop of olives from their groves near Lakeland. They produce two varieties of pure, first cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil called Arbequina and Chef’s Blend.


G E O R G I A N E I G H B O R S / sprin g 20 21



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