Farmer Cory Mosser

Cory Mosser started farming as an afterthought. After graduating from college, he hiked from Maine to Georgia on the Appalachian Trail and broke bread with several friendly farmers along the way. Upon his return, he was hooked and convinced that the secret ingredient to reinvigorate our communities was the sharing of food- produced and eaten locally!

Over the years, Mosser garnered many lessons of the whole food system. From managing a restaurant that sourced regularly from local farmers to managing Farmers Fresh Food Network, a co-op of sustainable growers in West Georgia and East Alabama and a stint at Destiny Organics, a wholesale distributor located at the State Farmers’ Market in Forest Park, Georgia.  All the knowledge he gained was put into practice in Savannah at Harvest Lake Farm, a project begun by Farmer D at Hampton Island Preserve.  He grew citrus, sugar cane, rice and even olives.

After two years at Harvest Lake, the opportunity to return to Atlanta was realized in the management of  an organic farm outside of Atlanta where he presently resides.

In July, Mosser welcomed his third daughter to the world, which completed his family’s all-female cast of 2 dogs, a cat, 30 chickens, and several thousand honeybees.  He is considering adding some billy goats next year just for the company.

What prepared you to be a farmer?I bumped my head a lot, and tried to learn lessons along the way. Being a parent has taught me patience, hiking the Appalachian Trail taught me resilience; a degree in history taught me context, and being married has taught me not to take myself so seriously…

What is a unique feature and how many acres do you farm? The farm currently consists of 16 cultivated acres that are certified USDA Organic. The most interesting aspect of this farm is that it is a true heritage farm- it has been in the same family since 1809. There are agricultural records that go back to pre-Civil War, so I can go back and look when the first planting of corn was done 150 years ago. That’s quite a tool to have as a farmer.

Tell us about your main crops and how you chose the varieties.  If you have livestock, tell us about your feed and how they live on your farm. We try to highlight the tradition of the plantation by growing heirloom and open-pollinated varieties whenever possible. Our 3-acre orchard contains Blackberries, Figs, Plums, Paw-paws, Persimmons, Pears and Blueberries. One notable crop is our heirloom Elephant Garlic- It was found growing wild near a long abandoned homestead on the property and we were able to cultivate it this past year. Some of the heads are the size of a tennis ball. It’s Fantastic!

How much of food goes to farmers markets and or restaurants? About 80%

What challenges do you have as a farmer?  I could write a book on this. Time is the big one. Learning to prioritize dozens of independent projects all occurring simultaneously within a small window of time takes a tremendous amount of organization, skill, and even more luck. Operating a truly diversified farm spread out over several square miles is kind of like juggling bars of soap in the rain- if it rains…

Where do you see farming in the future? On a global scale, the developing world will continue to adopt environmentally damaging methods of industrial farming as private businesses buy up huge chunks of land in Africa, South America and Asia. Farms of several thousand acres will be the norm.  Stateside the prospects are a little better, but there is the real danger of the local farm movement being co-opted just as the term ‘organic’ has been. The future viability of small independently-run farms rests solely on the ability of consumers to demand and differentiate the real thing from marketing-hype. Not that it would necessarily be a terrible thing, but I see in the not-too-distant future a Wal-Mart sponsored local farmer.

Where would be your ideal location for your last supper, what would be your meal & music and who would join you ? 
Mountains, nothing fancy over coals paired with creek-chilled beer, crickets and frogs with some banjo accompaniment, close friends and family with guest appearances by John Muir, Thomas Jefferson, Wendell Berry, and Paolo Conte.


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