by Malinda Dunlap Fillingim
There’s no place better to be than on a North Carolina farm, even on a rainy day. That’s how I felt about my recent visit to the 18-acre Greenlands Organic Farm in Bolivia, right off Midway Road in Brunswick County, NC.
The rain did not damper my appreciation for the petting zoo animals, the wonderful aromas from multiple homemade goods within the farm-store, and the locally hand-made items the store sells on consignment, including knit hats made from the wool of their llama, aptly named, King Llama.
Owners Heather and Henry Burkert bought the land in 2001 after searching for the right property where their dream of a sustainable farm could be born. Heather and Henry used scientific analysis to explore the best way in which to farm the land, utilizing its resources and vamping up the land to maximize productivity. Because they both have agricultural backgrounds and formal education in the agricultural field, they knew building a good foundation was vital to securing a healthy future for the land.
Their hard work has paid off in the emergence of an eclectic farm, one that produces a variety of crops, including fall crops such as kale and collards, all organic. Their daughter oversees a petting zoo comprised of rescued animals, including King Llama. Other unique opportunities on this farm include farm-to-fork candlelit dinners on the large screened back porch of their home, located on the farm. Such dinners bring together people who may come as strangers, but leave as friends after enjoying the farm fresh food served in a relaxed and inviting atmosphere, something Heather views as a part of the farm’s mission, “We want this to be an educational farm, a place where sustainability is the norm, and people develop a sense of community with one another and the land.”
Laughter can be heard during the summer from young campers who come to learn more about farm life through hands-on activities such as milking the goats, making bread, and learning to respect the animals and land. I happened to overhear a camper this past summer announce to his fellow campers that the bread he made was going to be the best bread he ever ate, “My sandwich is going to be the best one ever!” From the way he engulfed his sandwich, I think he was right!
Greenlands Farm and General Store has a welcome mat out for anyone wanting a place to stop and eat a good hearty meal for lunch, buy quality honey produced onsite, or eat ice cream second-to-none. Rum Raisin was being made the day I visited. Picnic tables grace the land outside the farm-store. Child-friendly pony rides can be had for a nominal price. But the peace and tranquility one gets when on a North Carolina farm such as Greenlands is indeed priceless, especially on a rainy day.
For more information about their wonderful homestead farm dinners, or for more information in general, call them at 910-253-7934. You can also connect with them on fb and online.
Malinda Dunlap Fillingim had the good fortune to move to her step-father’s hometown, Walnut Cove, NC when she was in eighth grade. Curious by nature, Malinda asked Mama Dunlap so many questions about her cooking that she finally gave up some of the old recipes she carried in her head. Malinda is an ESL teacher at Cape Fear Community College and lives in Leland.