In the news again

I'll try to get back to storytelling in this blog soon. But for now the articles just keep coming in. The latest is from the Mount Pleasant Daily Tribune. There are a few factual errors. Don't believe everything you read.

Farm is example of sustainable lifestyle

By ASHLEY TOMPKINS - Tribune City Editor
Saturday, October 27, 2007 4:26 PM CDT

Greer’s latest venture into agritourism includes cabins, like the one above, for weekend or week stays. Guests who stay in the cabins, which overlook a lake, have free range of the farm during their visits, including culinary lessons from Eva Greer. TRIBUNE photo by Ashley Tompkins

Life rolls by at a slower pace on the Greer Farm. Nestled by soaring pine trees and hardwoods and open pastures, the farm - located near Daingerfield - is an oasis of sorts from the fast-paced urban life. Sid Greer, who calls the farm home with his wife Eva, says caring for the land is a sacred obligation.

“Farming is in the roots of our family,” Greer says.

His grandfathers farmed land in Russia, Poland and Texas and now Greer’s diversified farming operation ranges from grass-fed full blood French Maine-Anjou cattle to a fruit and berry farm to timber.

“Our philosophy is to make the land provide a good living for us versus just letting it grow up in brush and we only pay taxes on it,” Greer explains. “It is not easy and requires some good luck and a lot of hard long days.”

Greer practices what he calls sustainable agriculture techniques n a method of farming that attempts to ensure profitability from operations while preserving the environment.

He says the practice is a step away from organic farming.

“Sustainable agriculture is more a philosophy or way of life than a strict set of rules,” he says.

Greer’s life hasn’t always been set at a, country pace. He left Europe and the corporate world in 1998 and moved to Daingerfield and the home that once belonged to his parents.

Now Greer is opening his home, and sharing his 550-acre farm with the public.

His move into agritourism is one he looks forward to. The tourism branch is a unique, but growing sector.

“Our plan is to have log cabins and other accommodations on our lake and the farm to accommodate up to 20 guests by year end,” Greer says. “Sure, we’ll have people from the Dallas Metroplex come and stay, but it’s also a chance for guests from Mount Pleasant or Daingerfield who want a night or weekend away and to be surrounded by nature.”

Already, the farm features a hide-a-way loft built in a barn and most recently, Greer has added several log cabins overlooking a lake, complete with paddle boats and canoes. There’s also a bunkhouse he rents out.

He says farmstays are a way to introduce farm life to those unfamiliar, or just to offer a break from a fast-paced life. Families have their pick of relaxing, swimming, fishing, strolling down trails and bird watching.

For those wanting to be more hands on, guests can pick their own fresh blackberries and blueberries from the vine. The blackberries ripen in late May with the blueberries ready in early June.

The Greer’s began their berry operations in 2005 when their son Karl joined them on the farm. More than 3,500 blueberry and 1,000 blackberry bushes, along with fig and plum trees, were planted.

Karl, who will soon enter medical school, will leave the operation, but Greer and his wife plan to continue. They’ve already found a niche for the berries and have joined the Dallas Farmers Market.

“I’m surprised at the large number of people from Dallas who come in for the berries and who want to stay at the apartment or in a cabin,” Eva Greer says.

Greer says the success of his farmstays rely much on his wife’s culinary skills and lessons. Eva Greer, an experienced chef who opens her home now for catered parties, plans to offer culinary lessons for the old and young.

“What we offer is that we have a managed forest with walking bird trails and an Old McDonald’s farmhouse,” Greer jokes. “People come and stay the weekend, or even during the week, and see what happens on a farm.”

The farm boasts a varied species of bird, butterflies and moths, thanks mostly to the farm’s unique retail nursery operation. The couple does not stock large numbers of plant, but instead focuses on a varied selection of unique plants, many native to Texas.

Families at the farm have free roam, Greer says. The couple’s second farm, Rocky Branch, is home to the French Maine-Anjou cattle, and is open, too.

Rent for the loft apartment and cabins range from $80 a weeknight to $135 for a two-night weekend.

“When I left the corporate world and moved from Europe to Daingerfield I wrote down several things (that) are posted on my desk and I look at them every day n slow down, savor life, keep life simple, love God and our neighbor, maintain a quiet time every day and give back some of your time to your community,” Greer says. “We work hard on our farm as a family, but I think we still are appreciating a life that few can enjoy.”