“THE STORY OF FAMILY FARMING UNDERSCORES A LEGACY OF SUSTAINABILITY.”
Amanda Zaluckyj, “The Farmer’s Daughter USA”
THREE SISTERS FARM HONORS A PASSION FOR LOCAL PRODUCE FROM CHILDHOOD TO ADULTHOOD
If you have siblings, you understand the repartee that is generated when you are together and the seamless storytelling in which one begins a story, another interjects and yet another finishes it. Personalities emerge and there is a subtle revelry to the conversation. Listening to Beth Lee, Mary Connor, and Priscilla Coleman of Three Sisters Farm, it is evident that their bond with each other is as strong as their bond with their family’s land.
“People don’t realize there was a time when Bluffton did not even have a grocery store,” said Mary Conner.
“Mom would have to go to Savannah every six months,” added Priscilla Coleman.
“We had vegetables, cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys and goats and lived off the river. We were self-sufficient, but what we didn’t grow we had to get from Savannah,” finished Beth Lee.
This love of and living off the land transcended from childhood to adulthood and in 2008 the sisters decided to “mess around and give [Three Sisters Farm] a little try.”
With their USDA certified organic farm in the Pinckney Colony Community of Bluffton, the sisters grow certified organic vegetables, berries, herbs, flowers, sugarcane, indigo and mushrooms.
“We’re self-sufficient again,” said Connor.
IT’S IMPORTANT FOR US TO HELP EDUCATE THE GENERAL PUBLIC ABOUT FARMING AND PROMOTE LOCAL PRODUCE AND FLOWERS AND SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES.
“With the exception of toilet tissue,” joked Coleman.
“But we have eggs, a garden and again live off of the river,” said Lee.
The sisters agree it is important to support local farmers and grow and eat organic foods.
“It’s important for us to help educate the general public about farming and promote local produce and flowers and sustainable practices,” Coleman said. “For me, organic isn’t just about not using pesticides on what we grow. That is one aspect, but it’s about the health and care of the ecosystem, land, soil and environment.”
Said Connor: “Most people do not realize that by eating organic, you are not putting these chemicals into other ecosystems like our rivers. That’s why we practice no till or low till, too. We are also supporting an industry that is protecting the workers who work these farms.”
The reaping of 2020 has enabled Three Sisters Farm to harvest new beginnings both personally and professionally.
Coleman oversees the cultivation of the flowers and indigo and is looking forward to once again offering a CSA flower subscription and returning to local farmers’ markets, as well as launching a series of workshops that teach people about natural dyes and “educate the public on how to grow your own food.”
The sisters admitted they saw “a disconnect in our younger generation who don’t understand our food system and how to cook whole foods” and expressed a passion to empower people to live, as they do, sustainably, thoughtfully and consuming nutritious foods (visit 3sistersorganicfarm.com for recipes).
Reflecting on the past year, Connor said, “During the pandemic, people saw the importance of supporting local farmers. But we have to support them all the time, not just during a crisis.”
STORY BY BECCA EDWARDS | PHOTOS COURTESY OF THREE SISTERS FARM