We're excited to connect with small businesses owned by members of the Darlington Community through our Darlington Connects series. Today we’re thrilled to highlight small business owner and former faculty member Elisabeth Lawson. Elisabeth and her husband, Mitch, are owners of Rise N' Shine Farm and the Between the Rivers Farmers Market.
Tell us about Rise N' Shine Farm and the Between the Rivers Farmers Market.
At Rise N' Shine Farm we grow about 40 acres of certified organic produce and pastured eggs. We have been based out of Rome since early 2005 and things grew from there. We are mostly a box subscription farm (community supported agriculture farm) and we have close to 500 box customers in the Atlanta, Dalton, Cartersville, and the Greater Rome area. We are now offering a new box idea that we’re calling the Local Farm Box. Basically, we have partnered with other local farms and producers whose products we respect and we’re offering those products in our boxes in addition to our stuff. So, it's like a farmers market in a box! We grow year-round and people may join the box program at any time and drop out at any time. The main season (the largest selection of the year) starts this week, but there is still time to sign up. People pick up their boxes from a couple of places in downtown Rome, or if they live in Atlanta, it can be home delivered.
Between the Rivers Farmers Market is the only Rome farmers market that is producer-only, meaning that everyone who comes to the market grows, or makes, the products they are selling. The market also places priority on naturally grown produce and animal products. For example, none of the farms that come to market currently spray pesticides or chemicals on their fields! The market also has some artisan products, live music, coffee from Swift and Finch, and we try to have a rotating chef preparing an easy to eat, on-site breakfast item. It is a great place to come get breakfast and coffee on Saturday morning and shop for your food. This year, the market will be in the Bridgepoint Plaza from 8:30-11:30 a.m. on the first and third Saturdays of the month starting Saturday, May 1.
What is your favorite thing about your businesses?
I love getting to know the community and hearing peoples’ stories connected to food memories. I especially love hearing stories that people will share at the market recalling the scents or the taste of certain locally grown products that you just can't buy in the grocery store. For example, food can recall memories of loved ones that have passed on, and the food and the atmosphere provides a space to recall those experiences and share them with others. It's nostalgic, healing, and a wonderful bonding experience.
Do you have any suggestions for students or alumni that are interested in working in farming?
Yes! Shadow a farmer. Intern. Sign up for a full-time job. Find someone you respect and actually try and work in the field for multiple seasons to see what it is really like. It's long, hard work, but totally rewarding with the right state of mind and the right people behind you cheering you on! I would be happy to talk with anyone interested in farming.
Do you ever come across any Darlington connections with businesses?
The Darlington Community has been a huge part of the success of the market. Darlington families care about supporting local, specifically local food and farms. We’ve had Upper School students volunteer at the market for their service hours, teachers help with the market, and several Darlington parents serve on the board.
If you own a small business or restaurant owner and would like to be included in a spotlight and website, please email email@example.com with your business information.