In 2018, My brother, James, and sister-in-law, Leigh Ann, bought Tom Sawyer Farm in Roddy, Georgia. My brothers and I were raised in Roddy, and Tom Sawyer’s was our first job. We worked at the peach orchard, and I drove James to work everyday until I graduated and moved to Valdosta for college. He and Leigh Ann talked about buying the peach orchard for several years, but they both put their heart and soul and money down in 2018.
They took a leap of FAITH and worked the farm as their full time jobs. There are no words to describe Leigh Ann’s business sense that just complements James’ instinct to farm and to teach his children and other people’s children to farm. The farm has become totally transformed from what it was when Tom owned it. They have peaches, strawberries, blueberries, and local produce. They have merchandise, and they have CHRISTMAS lights.
Our family moved from Roddy to Yonker when I was nine years old. One must understand that Roddy and Yonker are incorporated communities that exist side by side. They are historical communities in Dodge County, yet they are tiny. What now is Hwy 257 used to be Railway 257. The railroad allowed these two communities to coexist and prosper in the 19th century and early 20th century. Now, the highway runs the former route of the railway, and these two communities are small, rural bumps in the road.
About the time the Greenes moved closer to Yonker in 1987, a neighboring family the Tripps started an elaborate Christmas light display in their yard. They put up “The Yonker Lights” for years, but as the Tripps got older and their children moved away, they decided to stop decorating and having visitors in 2016.
When the farm was purchased, James proposed to Leigh Ann that they purchase the Tripp lights and bring the Christmas lights to the farm. I cannot even fathom the magnitude of work it takes to create a walking display of lights to make Christmas on the Farm happen each year. Last night, we visited with them to spend time before the day the lights on the farm opens for business.
Suddenly, Roddy will be a flurry of visiting people. The Tripp Yonker lights have been transformed into a new creation. James and Leigh Ann have added more displays while keeping the original ones. For this year, they have created a fire pit for families to roast marshmallows and make smores. We loved being the first to enjoy it last night!
My favorite is the farm scenes. The farm scenes are dear to my heart because they took my daddy’s farm equipment and incorporated it into the light display.
When daddy died, my brothers very amicably separated his farm equipment between each other. Douglas took the 1466, and James took the 966.
The old Gleaner combine and Daddy’s Super C found it’s way to the farm too. Douglas hauled the Gleaner without a back end to the farm when we had to remove Daddy’s farm equipment from my grandmother’s place in Roddy after it was sold. Now, it has a glamorous new life in LIGHTS! The Super C is frozen in time while pulling an old John Deere. Pieces of my daddy’s life and legacy live on through his children each day.
We even had our family portraits taken on the bridge, gazebo, and dock he built with his own hands, which now belongs to me. Our ability to share and to focus on passing Jimmy Greene’s legacy on to our children and their children is a testament to upbringing that my mama (Cynthia) and my daddy (Jimmy) gave us.
James and Leigh Ann have taken Daddy’s love of farming and turned it into the magnificent farm with Agra-tourism that blesses so many families. When my family visits the farm, we roam happily and free, making memories that will last a lifetime. I am so proud of my brother and my sister for their tenacity and their hard work. I know that my daddy is just as proud of them and the gift they give to our community. They have put Roddy and the Yonker lights back on the map!
I would like to wish them a prosperous and a fun opening night at Christmas on the Farm! I love you both and the children to the moon and back!! I am so excited to get to see my happy place, covered in lights with a visiting food truck from now until December 27.
Dates: Thursdays – Sundays, Nov 27th – Dec 26th, week of Christmas
Santa: Santa will here every night, socially distanced of course!
Admission: $5/person, Children 2/under free
Parking: All Parking is in the REAR of the farm. Follow the signs.
Concessions: Hot beverages and delicious food will be provided by Touching Lives Ministry. Come hungry and eat with us!