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The Land Show Episode 167

The Land Show

December 22nd, 2018

Reed Ingram, owner of Sweet Creek Farm Market in Pike Road, talks about their family farm market, restaurant and gift shop that brings local products from the farm to the market. Brodie Croyle shares about the important work of Big Oak Ranch, and how they are giving children in need a family to love them and sharing God’s love with them. Randall Upchurch gives our year end Farmland Report. Brian Watts is in studio to deliver our Timber Talk. Tim Baker talks about locating many different types of duck species in our Outdoor Update.

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Here’s the transcription of the first segment.

Dave Milton: Hey everybody, welcome to The Land Show with Dave and Johnny. It is a beautiful Saturday morning here, I guess we’re getting close to, this is either the first day of winter or close to the first day of winter Johnny B. I’m joined here with Johnny B. Goode, my cohost in Montgomery. How you doing my friend?

Jonathan Goode: I’m good man, and winter officially came in at 4:53 PM yesterday, Friday at 4:53, so yes, we are in the wintertime.

Dave Milton: Hey man, well listen it’s, this a great time of the year for guys like me and you, that may have a little excess weight.

Jonathan Goode: Where are you going with this Dave?

Dave Milton: Well the wintertime, my wife hates this time of the year, she’s more of a summer gal and I kind of like it. I’m like the old bear that likes the wintertime, you know? I just, I like the cool weather, I like to get out. Some people the gray days and the cold depresses, I kind of like it.

Jonathan Goode: I am in my Christmas groove right now though man, we’ve already started the family celebrations and been grazing a little bit, so that may be why you’re talking about the weight.

Dave Milton: I’m nervous. I made a pledge last year to get on the scale January one. My goal is to be under where I was. Now, my original goal was to lose 50 pounds. Now I just want to make sure I didn’t gain any.

Jonathan Goode: Well let’s just see if we can wipe that out at lunch today and we’ll go ahead and take care of that. I’m just glad to have you back in studio today, I thought you might be trying to ease out. We appreciate William Lyon coming in, sitting in with us last week.

Dave Milton: Well I tried to sell William my share of the show for a dollar, but he wouldn’t take it. He wouldn’t take the offer.

Jonathan Goode: Oh mercy, yeah, that’s a lot. Well, I am glad to have you back, and man this year has gone by so fast. Steady coming to an end right here.

Dave Milton: Yeah, it has, and hey, talking about weight again, I had an interesting question. I had somebody, we were talking about a farm and we started talking about bushels. It was a fella and he said, the guy asked me, he said: “What is a bushel?” You know, as far as a measurement. I started to thinking about it, and I’ve just always kind of taken it for granted being around farms what a bushel is, and I’ll just ask you, what’s the reason for this measurement of bushels, or even with, on the timber side, with cords? What does that all mean?

Jonathan Goode: Well, man, you’re throwing a hard question here right out of the gate. I mean they’re a unit of measurement for dry volume, not wet. Like not, I think what is a bushel, it’s about eight gallons of dry-

Dave Milton: It’s about eight gallons.

Jonathan Goode: It’s dry volume, so I think it’s four pecks if I remember back to my-

Dave Milton: I think that’s, I might go on record saying that-

Jonathan Goode: It’s 64 pints, I think, all those units of measurement coming back-

Dave Milton: It comes from England. It all comes from England.

Jonathan Goode: That is the unit of measurement that, people who, farmers that grow corn and soybeans those are the ones that they use, which typically we do think of everything in pounds, but they measure, they use bushels as the way to determine what the yield is.

Dave Milton: Right, and the rest of the world uses pounds, and so there’s a conversion now, which I was reading an interesting article in The Wall Street Journal, you can check that out last week, about some of the finagle factor in worldwide trade, you know with us and China and soybeans and pounds and the conversion rate, and then even historically, because it’s, the pound measurement is a little more accurate way to do it. There’s been a real shift in our lifetime on the timber, you know when I first got in this business, you talk about timber and cords. Cords is a measure of volume like bushels. It’s a volume measurement. There was always a finagle factor. You’d have a guy at the pulpwood yard there with a stick, and he was trying to measure the volume there, and do a little math equation. Sometimes it might have worked out a little bit better for the wood yard than the guy that was bringing the logs, but now it’s tonnage. Now on the timber side it’s tonnage, and the rest of the world with soybeans or corn it’s, I guess its kilograms.

Jonathan Goode: Right.

Dave Milton: So it’s interesting.

Jonathan Goode: All I remember is that a cord is four feet by four feet by eight feet, so if you’re buying firewood, that’s where most everybody thinks about it this time of the year, especially if you’re driving up Highway 280-

Dave Milton: No, it’s not. It’s what’ll fit on your truck Johnny.

Jonathan Goode: That’s right, well that’s what I was going to say, if a guy tells you he’s going to sell you a truck bed full of wood then that’s a cord for $100, you-

Dave Milton: It’s usually a half cord.

Jonathan Goode: Yeah, you’re getting a half a cord or less.

Dave Milton: It’s usually a half cord. Yeah.

Jonathan Goode: So just be aware of that. I’ve told my son many times that we ought to sell firewood on Highway 280. I think they get like $5 a stick up there on Mountain Brook. That’s probably the best place to sell your timber, at $5 a stick up there.

Sweet Creek Farm Market

Dave Milton: Yeah, it’s true. Well you know, talking about farms and bushels, we’ve got a great guest coming on that runs one of the best farm markets in the state of Alabama. Mr. Reed Ingram. Mr. Ingram is an entrepreneur man, I’m telling you what, he got, he’s in the car business, he’s a state house representative. Got one of the greatest farm markets in the state of Alabama. I’m telling you. Glad to have Mr. Ingram.

Reed Ingram: Well I appreciate it, thank you for being here, and Mr. Ingram’s my daddy. I’m just Reed. Entrepreneur I don’t know about, but thank you so much for the kind introduction, but very over the top, but I enjoy what I do. I’ve never been a, I’ve farmed all my life with, we’re a second generation farmer, which is not that many around here. There’s a lot of second generations, but there’s a lot of third and fourth and fifth and whatever, so we haven’t been in farming long, but car business is my third generation and my son is a fourth generation. We know cars more than we know farming, but we’ve got a crew on the farm. We, and at the market as well.

Dave Milton: Wow.

Jonathan Goode: Where is your farm located?

Reed Ingram: We have two farms, one is in Pike Road. It’s off of Meriwether, 85 Meriwether. Then we’ve got another one right contiguous to that across from Meriwether Road. Then, which is a new addition to our market. It’s 11 acres, and then we have 10 acres where the Farm Market sits. Most of the stuff is grown to outsource. We grow a lot of it. We grow all of our pumpkins, most all of our pumpkins.

Dave Milton: Oh wow.

Reed Ingram: We grow our squash and our okra and our cucumber and that kind of stuff you know. Then we outsource a lot in Verbena with a really good farmer, his name is Scott Pitten. Really good guy. Matter of fact, talking to him last night and we’re getting ready for next year, so he’s already ordering the seeds and have everything ready that we want. We like a lot of heirloom stuff and unique stuff that’s good for you, and that you can’t find in the grocery store you know?

Jonathan Goode: Sure.

Dave Milton: Hey, it can taste, it can look good and taste good and be heirloom, and I’ve tried it and it’s delicious.

Jonathan Goode: How long has your Sweet Creek Farm Market been open there?

Reed Ingram: We’ve been open, March will be three years. We started off with 11 employees and when we came out of Labor Day we had 72.

Jonathan Goode: Wow.

Dave Milton: Wow.

Reed Ingram: That was in the market, and working in the field. Now most of the, we don’t have any, we have two guys who work in the field, so they’re college kids. Everybody that we have, except for a couple of our cooks, are either high school or college.

Jonathan Goode: Really? Okay.

Reed Ingram: Most of them it’s their first job and I feel like the God has put us there for, you know, more of a teaching a track of these kids, and teaching a generation of farming. There’s not a child, I say child, they’re all young adults, but there’s not but one that’s allergic to being outside, outdoors and cutting grass, but all of them have cut grass. All of them have picked pumpkins. All of them have planted pumpkins. All of them have weeded the fields, all of them have harvested the crops. Whether they’re male or female they’re all treated equal, we work, and we work on the farm.


Dave Milton: Wow. Well it sounds like it’s a real family affair. You mentioned your wife several times, it sounds like you’re all really in it together, have a passion for it.

Reed Ingram: Yeah. We do.

Dave Milton: Just tell us, the Market’s been open how long now?

Reed Ingram: March it’s been open three years.

Dave Milton: Three years, and I watched it grow because I go up on that highway a lot there on 231 South, just south of Montgomery. Just tell us the genesis of this thing. How did it get started? I mean was it your brain child, or your wife’s, or together? You all prayed about it, or what happened?

Reed Ingram: We did pray about it, and there was a lot of praying about it, and I had come up with this concept and my wife said “Absolutely not. We’re not going to do it.” You know I been in the car business and the van business and the truck conversion business and she said you know “It’s time we just idle down a little bit, you know, we’re getting to the age.” Of course we’re not old, but we feel old now. She said, “No, let’s don’t do it.” So we went out to eat one night with some good friends of ours, and I showed them the concept, had to draw out on a piece of paper and they said “Oh, that’ll never work,” and then when we got in the car after we left the restaurant she said “We’re doing this. Nobody’s going to tell us that it’s not going to work.”

Dave Milton: That was all part of your plan.

Reed Ingram: It was all part of the plan. I don’t know, it wasn’t part of that plan, but I think God put it there, across the path for that reason. So we found the property and probably a year before I started ground, I broke ground, and then it was just kind of fell into place you know?

Jonathan Goode: I can attest to what you’re saying. I grew up working for Reeves Peach Farm from the time I was an early teenager till I graduated from college. Doing what you’re talking about, and picked all the peaches and did all the stuff on the farm, and ran the farmers market. Now, when we had a little fruit stand you’ve got a place where you’re smoking barbecue and serving breakfast, lunch and supper some days, and you all have got a lot of that going on don’t you?

Reed Ingram: Yeah we do breakfast Saturday’s. We do lunch and dinner every day.

Jonathan Goode: Okay.

Reed Ingram: We serve lunch, or serve meals from 10 AM on the weekdays until, well actually until 9 AM, until seven.

Dave Milton: Well I’ll tell you what, on the last trip I was in there and met you for the first time a week and a half ago, and we got some satsumas that you had that were tremendous, and some great tomatoes. Everything I’ve had there has been great. It’s been fresh. You walk in there, some guys playing some music and It was a real cool atmosphere. There was a guy in front of me who let you know that he drove from Prattville to get your camp stew. I told my wife, I said: “When I come back I’m going to get me some of that camp stew.”

Reed Ingram: That was my grandfather’s recipe. I’ve been cooking that camp stew since, probably I was like 17 years old. It’s a recipe for 100 is how it is.

Jonathan Goode: Is it the same one that Jerry Joe uses in his ballgame cookoffs? I’ve had that stew.

Reed Ingram: No, that’s got a lot more road kill in it.

Jonathan Goode: Okay, I got you.

Dave Milton: Yeah, it’s got extra possum.

Reed Ingram: That’s right, it’s got an extra possum or two. Jerry makes a good camp stew.

Jonathan Goode: He does.

Reed Ingram: This is my other side of the family, my other grandfather.

Jonathan Goode: I can attest to that, well listen, I looked on you all’s Facebook page and I need to know if there was a coincidence because Dave didn’t make the show last week, but last Saturday you all had a free pancake giveaway up until 10 AM, and our show airs from nine to 10, and I started putting two and two together that the big guy may be eating some free pancakes down there at your-

Dave Milton: Oh you caught me. You caught me.

Reed Ingram: Yeah, maybe. A lot of that we do on the spur of the moment. Like this weekend we have Santa coming, and then we’ll have breakfast with Mrs. Claus so they’ll be able to integrate and have, eat and be able to integrate with the elves and stuff like that. It’s fun. It’s a fun event. It’s about the kids is what we did.

Jonathan Goode: Well you are in a great location because everybody that’s going or coming from the beach goes down 231, I used to live in Troy, and that traffic right there you’re in between Montgomery and Troy. Sweet Creek Farm Market, Sikes & Kohn is right there. I mean those are destination locations now.

Reed Ingram: Well especially Sikes & Kohn. I don’t know about me yet.

Dave Milton: Well it gives you somewhere, if you’re traveling to Sikes & Kohn’s like I do, and I go a couple times a year and load up, because they got clothes for big men-

Reed Ingram: Especially when they have the big sale, you know?

Dave Milton: Oh, I know.

Reed Ingram: Yeah, it’s coming up soon.

Dave Milton: Well my wife always knows when their shoe sale is, that’s when, but this is a great place to stop in between.

Reed Ingram: I appreciate it.

Dave Milton: Just enjoy everything. I was so surprised when I first went there, I guess a couple years ago, you know just the attention to detail. I always appreciate anybody that starts a business and does it the right way from the beginning, and there’s just a lot of attention to detail in your business that I appreciate. The smells, the looks, the local candles and different things, and books, Stacy Lynn’s book, you know, Stacy been on the show several times. You know, a lot of great books. Just a lot of care in the products that you’re choosing, you can see it. You can see there’s a lot of care in what you’re choosing to put out.

Reed Ingram: Well thank you. Thank you. We’re pretty selective. There’s a lot of people that come in and want to sell a lot of products, but it’s, and there’s a lot of good Alabama products out there, and we try to go Alabama first. With our cheese straws and et cetera, et cetera, and Stacy. It’s just, that’s woven into the fabric of the community and that’s where we want to be, is woven into the fabric.

Dave Milton: Wow.

Jonathan Goode: There’s a great demand for that, and I know that’s part of the big success and then it sounds like your attention to detail. I need to get down there and have some camp stew. I love that this time of year. If folks are wanting to get information, I’m sure you’ve got stuff that folks need for Christmas and that sort of stuff. Stocking stuffers, and you brought in a fantastic looking pound cake today.

Dave Milton: I was talking about losing weight. That’s all for nothing-

Reed Ingram: That’s a butternut pound cake, that is off the chart, and especially if you slice it and put it in the microwave for a second; oh my gosh.

Jonathan Goode: Oh gosh. Well we were talking about weight and measurement earlier, and they’re going to measure us in bushels after we eat this thing.

Dave Milton: We’ll be a couple more bushels.

Reed Ingram: It didn’t have any calories this month.

Jonathan Goode: Awesome, I like that a lot.

Reed Ingram: They don’t count.

Jonathan Goode: Well good deal. If somebody wants to get more information about Sweet Creek Farm Market and where its located, how do they do that?

Reed Ingram: Well you can call 280-FARM, 334-280-FARM. It’s in Pike Road, Alabama, of course, and go to our Facebook page. We don’t do a website, our website’s not up yet. We’d like to be able to, for people to stay in touch because a lot of things, like the pancake breakfast like you’re talking about, it’s kind of a knee-jerk. Because of weather, and being able to know when kids are out of school and stuff like that, like we did a hayride the night before last. Knowing that the weather was going to be nice, so we took them out for a hayride, a free hayride, so stay in touch. The website is not always the quickest way to be able to reach our crowd. So we do social media.

Dave Milton: Hey John, before we get off there, I want to thank Reed for his service in the house of representatives, that’s a, we were talking about before, that’s a lot of work for a little bit of pay. You’re one of the good guys, Joey’s known you a while and Joey, and I know other people that know you, you’re one of the good guys in public service. Wish we had more. I think we got some, we need more, so I appreciate your service and you’re doing a good job.

Reed Ingram: Well thank you so much. I appreciate the kind words, and if anybody ever needs me for any reason, it doesn’t matter if it’s in my district, I’m going to give my cell number out, it’s 399-6819. Call me and if it’s anything statewide that we can do or even on a local issue, I’d be glad to help them.

Jonathan Goode: Yeah, and your farm, if I remember right, you all are open 361 days a year.

Reed Ingram: That’s correct. We close four days. We close Christmas, New Year’s, Easter, and Thanksgiving. We’re open seven days a week.

Jonathan Goode: Awesome. So you’re getting two of your off days this year coming up in the next week or so.

Reed Ingram: Exactly, I know, right? I know.

Jonathan Goode: Well good then. Well thank you so much for being on The Land Show today. One more time, where are you located right there?

Reed Ingram: We’re located 231, on 231 South just south of Montgomery about two miles, and it’s right, you’ll be able to see it on 231, but we access it off of Meriwether Road. So it’s 85 Meriwether Road, Pike Road, Alabama.

Jonathan Goode: Awesome. Well you all make plans to visit Sweet Creek Farm right there, Sweet Creek Farm Market right there on 231. Dave, I really appreciate Mr. Ingram coming in, and this pound cake, we’re going to have to jump on this man. This thing looks amazing. You all go to Sweet Creek Farm Market and check that out. Stay with us, we’re going to take a quick break. We’ll be back for more of The Land Show with Dave and Johnny.

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