Preserving a legacy
From the road, it appears as though time stood almost still since the 1800’s.
It’s been 188 years since Joseph Bacon started the farm near Schley and St. Mary’s roads in Hillsborough.
Now, Bacon Farms is in the hands of siblings Ben and Laura Johnson, who want to make sure the legacy carries onward into the next century and beyond.
“I grew up here and really didn’t have too many kids to play with,” Ben Johnson said. “Instead, I worked and enjoyed life on the farm.”
Their parents died four-years apart, in 2007 and 2011. Then Ben took over the farming business.
“I was kind of thrown into it and I won’t be letting go,” said the Orange High School graduate, who went on to earn a degree in drafting and engineering.
It’s always been a working farm, he said, with grain, hay, chickens and cattle. The fertile ground yielded strawberries, produce and, eventually, mums.
“When we didn’t have mums, people that had come here for many years stopped by and kept asking when we were going to get back into mums,” he said.
In June, mums returned to Bacon Farms – about 2,000 of them.
“It took me some time to decide what variety and colors I wanted to plant,” he said. “I feel like I have a diverse offering and that we have some really healthy mums.”
The farm also has grass-fed beef cattle in nearby pastures.
They want to preserve their farm’s purpose and heritage.
“We don’t want to see it become anything else other than a working farm and we are going to do everything possible to keep the farm part of our legacy,” he said.
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