pecans

The Crowe farm has been in the family for five generations. From left, Tommy Crowe, Jacob Crowe and Luke Crowe. Photo by Julia Fechter

Family means everything to the Crowe family as three generations of men continue to maintain their farm on Clotfelter Road, which has been in operation since the early 1900s. They have cultivated everything from cotton and beef cows to hay and blueberries.

Tommy Crowe’s two adult sons represent the fifth generation of farmers tending the land. 

“I love having them there,” Tommy said. “It being a family business, I’d rather have them than anybody else.” 

For the four individuals working on the premises—Tommy, his sons and their grandfather, Luke—that labor is crucial as the family embarks on a new agricultural venture: growing pecans. 

Responsibilities

Long before diagonal rows of saplings stretched over the fields, rows of cotton extended across the land. 

“I was born on this place here, and I worked on it almost all of my life,” said Luke. “I remember we used to plant 100 acres of cotton, and that was a big chore.”

The cotton had to be picked by hand and then taken by wagon to the gin house a mile and a half down the road from the farm. After school, Luke took scales to the fields to weigh the cotton. 

Today, he still helps with the greenhouse and the overall management of the farm today, while Tommy oversees the orchard’s day-to-day operations. 

Tommy’s sons maintain the grounds, and all of them dabble in other areas of the farm’s operation as needed. Tommy’s brother, Jacob, who lives about an hour away, assists with various aspects as needed. 

They all decide together how to use the farm. Over the past couple years, they have grown vegetables and herbs in the greenhouse and an exterior vegetable garden featuring a number of heirloom crops. 

They also successfully added honeybees to their land a couple of months ago, which was ideal given the blueberry trees and the on-site pond. 

“If you can grow honeybees here, you know you’re doing something right,” Jacob said. 

Currently, they are directly selling a special, stringless sweet potato, and those interested can visit their Facebook page, “Crowe Farms.” 

The orchard

Their orchard of pecan trees is currently the only large-scale pecan operation in Oconee County. Many passersby are surprised. 

“They say, ‘I didn’t think pecan trees would grow this far north,’ but in fact, pecan trees are grown as far north as Ohio,” Jacob said. 

He explained that the first phase of pecan has already been planted, and they intend to plant the second phase in 2021, with the first crop of nuts expected in 2026. 

For more on this story, see the Oct. 15 edition of The Oconee Enterprise, on sale now at convenience stores and grocery stores and newspaper boxes throughout Oconee County. To subscribe, call (706) 769-5175 or visit the tab on our website.

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