Banner Staff Writer
On June 23 Scottie and Lisa Mayfield hosted Century Farm families from eight counties on the Mayfield Farm. Besides being a time of fellowship among area farmers and a chance to make new friends, the gathering also provided a history lesson as the families were introduced.
Served in the “Barn,” the country-style buffet included barbecued ribs and chicken, green beans and potatoes, squash casserole and coleslaw. Dessert — of course at the Mayfield Farm — was ice cream, served with a choice of fresh strawberries, giant blackberries, chocolate syrup and whipped cream.
The Barn is original to the property and was restored by the Mayfield family when it was on the “endangered” list. The roof was reinforced, keeping the original beams. The flooring in the loft was used to add partitions and reclaimed wood was used to floor the area. Discarded windows from a country club were put into place in the gables of the barn for light and a fantastic view.
During the dessert course, Mayfield introduced representatives from the Land Trust of Tennessee project, who explained the conservation easement for family farms.
A sense of historical pride in their properties was noticeable as the establishment of the farms was reviewed with the naming of generations of owners — some boasted seven generations on the land.
Some farms are in line to be designated as Century Farms, such as the Moore Farm in Charleston. Situated in the Cherokee “Trail of Tears” area, the farm has such famous landmarks as Rattlesnake Springs. On the property, also, was the home of the Curry sisters, Mary and Dollie, who played a major role in the religious history of the area — they began the Bellefonte Holiness Industrial School. The Beniah post office was located there also, which opened May 5, 1898, with Mary C. Henck as postmistress. The property is rich with historical significance in several areas.
John and Maxine Moore were in the process of Century Farm designation when Mrs. Moore was struck down with a serious illness. She has been recuperating from the illness for the last five years, but they were able to attend the Century Farm dinner.
On the seventh-generation Moore farm, before her illness, Maxine could be found directing traffic for trucks to unload or load, ushering a load of fertilizer, cooking up pancakes for the Saturday breakfast, letting her fingers walk the calculator or tracking down family members or workers on the cellphone when the cows bellowed for attention.
As former chairman of the Farm Bureau Women, she had a wide view of farming in Tennessee and Bradley County. The Moore children, Mathew, Mary Margaret and John Mark, all grew up on a farm schedule — cows milked at 4 a.m. and so forth. At least one of them will carry on the family business.
There used to be about 100 dairy farmers in Bradley County and now the number is maybe 25. The Moore Farm will be the seventh farm in the county to be designated a “Century Farm.”
Moore said they feel it’s important to keep agriculture alive in the county and help farming at the grass roots.