Valdosta Daily Times

March 23, 2014

U-Pick field closing

Virus ends Bemiss strawberry operation

Stuart Taylor
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — After suffering through a devastating virus, Strawberry Mild Yellow Edge Virus, or SMYEV, in 2013 that decimated their strawberry plants, Southern Grace Farms has decided to close their U-Pick Strawberry Field off Bemiss Road after thirteen years of operation.

“There were several factors in our decision,” said Jennifer McMillan with Southern Grace Farms. “Our website and gift basket business is consistently growing, we’ve added peaches, blueberries, nectarines, and plums at the Enigma location, and we had several years back-to-back where we had terrible weather conditions at the Bemiss location.”

Coupled with the SMYEV virus last year that turned the season into a complete loss, the team at Southern Grace Farms started talking, thinking and praying about closing the Bemiss location completely, eventually deciding to so that they can focus on their U-Pick farm in Enigma.

There, they’ll still grow strawberries, along with all of their other fruits.

Still, 13 years is a long time and McMillan hopes that the customers that came out to their Bemiss location in the past will visit them in Enigma.

“The thing I will miss most will be the field trips. Although we do host field trips at the Enigma location and we’ve had a couple of groups from Lowndes County schedule trips to the Enigma location this year, I know that many won’t be able to travel out of the county and I will miss those groups and teachers.”