Southern Belle Farm begins spring season

By Jason A. Smith
Times Correspondent

It’s about that time again – time for Southern Belle Farm in McDonough to welcome the community for another round of strawberry picking and family fun.

The farm, at 1658 Turner Church Road, is now open for berry-picking for the spring season.

Karson Carter tops a poundcake with whipped cream at Southern Belle Farm Photo by Nick Vassy

Southern Belle is in its 11th year as a popular agritourism attraction in Henry County. Amanda Reeves, corporate relations advocate for the farm, said visitors to the farm are able to learn about agriculture in a variety of ways.

“We teach children where their food comes from and how it is grown -- that their milk doesn’t come from a store, it comes from a cow,” said Reeves. “We literally see 30,000 kids a year, just for field trips. We’re advocates for promoting knowledge and history about farming.”

There is no cost to get into the farm or to pick berries, and an $8 fee for a full slate of activities at the facility. Attractions for the spring season at Southern Belle include a giant tube slide, an animal petting zoo, two large jumping pillows and a kids’ play area.

The farm, added Reeves, also features a Country Market where visitors can get fresh produce, jams, jellies, syrups, local honey, cider and other items. Although recent weather concerns pushed back the original opening date for the spring season, Reeves emphasized that the farm will be open to the public during the month of March for berry-picking, and will be open for activities during Henry County Schools’ Spring Break April 1-9.

Southern Belle originally opened as a dairy farm in 1938. Reeves said that over the years, co-owners Jimmy Carter and his son, Jake, eventually opted to use it as a way to educate the community.

“Over the years, they were approached by many developers wanting to buy their land,” said Reeves. But there’s such a legacy here, and they wanted to preserve it. We have to continue farming in America.”

Reeves said the farm continues to enjoy a great relationship with local residents for everything that goes on at Southern Belle. She noted that numerous supporters, in recent days, have expressed their appreciation and offered prayers for the farm’s staff in response to recent cold temperatures at the farm.

“We have just been so warmly embraced,” said Reeves. “I just think we’ve become a place where families can go to enjoy time together without electronic devices, just to enjoy tradition and build memories.”

Jake Carter represents the fifth generation in his family to farm the land at Southern Belle. When asked about favorite part of having everyone visit the farm every spring, he gladly offered a simple response.

“All the smiling faces of our guests enjoying time together as a family!” said Carter.

McDonough Mayor Billy Copeland gets a taste of the first strawberries of the season at Southern Belle Farm. Photo by Nick Vassy

McDonough Mayor Billy Copeland visited Southern Belle Farm March 17 for the season’s first taste of strawberries straight from the farm. His treat came in the form of freshly-made strawberry shortcake.

“I couldn’t get away from it,” said Copeland, his voice booming with delight at the memory. “They’re the most beautiful strawberries I’ve ever seen.”

Copeland also touted the farm’s pickled peaches, hot pickled okra and other items available at Southern Belle. The mayor called the Carter family “special folks” and commended them for their work on the farm and their contributions to life in Henry County.

“It’s just such a beautiful place,” said Copeland. “It’s absolutely gorgeous out there. I certainly would encourage people to visit. I can’t applaud Jake and his mother, father and wife enough for what they’re doing. It’s a family-operated business, and they do it with such class. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

For more information about Southern Belle Farm and its new spring season, visit www.south, as well as Facebook, Instagram and other social-media outlets.