Berry Academy.

first_img Customers can buy ready-picked berries at Georgia strawberry farms but often opt for lower prices by picking their own. Photo: Faith Peppers Bucking a trend that has hundreds of acres of Georgia farmland moving from cultivation to subdivisions each day, Abe Banks took part of his 21 acres that was zoned for housing and turned it into a pick-your-own strawberry farm.The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that over the past five years, Georgia lost about 500 acres a day of farmland to home and business development. Banks worked with his Houston County neighbors to change land-use agreements so he and his family could grow strawberries. Those neighbors are now some of their best customers.And the Bankses should have plenty of customers this year.Strawberry Crop Good For ripe, sweet strawberries in Georgia, just look on the World Wide Web or ask at your county Extension office for the strawberry farm nearest to you. But for Abe Banks, growing strawberries is about more than making money. Banks has been tempted to sell the land. Developers could fit about 20 houses where he has his 40 rows of strawberries. But he won’t sell. The 2-acre field reminds him of the Fayetteville, Ga., farm where he grew up.”All the lessons you learn on a farm are the type of things you’ve got to have to get ahead in life,” he said.Banks teaches basic life skills to his 5-year-old daughter Sara, like learning to follow directions while looking for ripe strawberries to pick. “Red, head to toe?” she asked. “Show me,” he coached. “Red, head to toe. Let’s find another one.”Unique Berry FarmBanks bought 12 acres of the land at an auction. Later he added 9.5 acres more. Now surrounded almost entirely by houses, he has an unlikely spot for 37,500 strawberry plants to call home.”The Bankses’ farm is really unique,” Krewer said. “It’s a type of reverse urbanization.”Like many of today’s Georgia farmers, the Bankses have other jobs, too. He is an engineering manager at Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins. His wife Janet is an operating-room nurse at a Macon hospital.To find the strawberry farm nearest you, check the Web site at or contact your county Extension Service office. Photo: FaithPeppers “The crop is looking good,” said Gerard Krewer, a University of Georgia Extension horticulturist. “The season is just starting in north Georgia, and it’s been under way in south Georgia for several weeks.”Georgia’s climate usually makes for a long season for good berries. “If it stays cool, they can last in north Georgia until July 4,” Krewer said. “In south Georgia, it usually winds down in early to mid-June. This is the peak season, so now is the time to go pick.”Berry pickers will see attactive prices for the vine-ripened fruit. Prices average $6 to 7 per gallon across the state.”Strawberries are an expensive crop to grow,” Krewer said. “But growers can get a pretty good return on their investment.” Strawberries cost about $5,000 per acre to plant, but can gross over $15,000 per acre if nature cooperates. Georgia’s 50 growers usually bring in about $3 million per year.More Than Making Money Life’s lessons are fun and sweet in the strawberry-patch “school.” Photo: Joe Coursonlast_img read more

Logue, Schmidt among Boone feature wins

first_imgBOONE, Iowa (June 4) – John Logue put his ride back in victory lane following the Xtreme Motor Sports IMCA Modified feature for the second time in a row Saturday at Boone Speedway while Jay Schmidt scored another victory in the IMCA Sunoco Stock Car ranks.Logue started seventh and had his familiar number 69 in the lead by lap eight of the 20-lap Modi­fied feature. He never relinquished that lead on his way to the checkers and the win.  He had big time company behind him fighting it out tooth and nail for position.It was Jimmy Gustin, the 11th place starter, winning the battle to take the runner-up spot.  Point leader Mike VanGenderen finished third from his 12th place starting spot.  Russ Dickerson came from 18th to finish fourth and Kyle Brown rounded out the top five.Schmidt captured his second win of the season in the Stock Car class. He wasted no time in get­ting to the front, grabbing the lead by lap two from his sixth starting spot. He stretched his lead, looking comfortable out front, until a caution at lap 15 of the 18-lap race bunched the field.It was Donavon Smith then close at hand in second for the restart. However, Schmidt kept his poise and the lead the rest of the way to the checkers. Smith held the runner-up spot over Matt West, Tyler Pickett and Wayne Gifford.The 18-lap Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMod feature saw a new face visiting victory lane this season. Chad Ryerson started sixth and took the lead at lap six, never to relinquish it the remainder of the race for the win. Last week’s winner, Randy Roberts came home in second after starting 10th. Brandon Williams was third, fourth went to Johnathon Logue and Thor Anderson completed the top five.The 12-lap IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stock feature went to David Rieks.  Rieks was chased most of the distance by Ross Marshall who fell just short for a runner-up finish. Tenth place starter Dustin Graham finished third, fourth went to Seth Butler and Jordan Peters finished fifth.last_img read more

TENNIS : Syracuse looks to maintain intensity during long layoff

first_img Comments Published on March 6, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Kevin: [email protected] As of Monday night, Emily Harman still hadn’t decided whether she was going home for Spring Break.Syracuse has won eight of its last nine matches to position itself for that elusive NCAA tournament bid, and Harman and her teammates don’t want Spring Break to curtail the momentum.‘None of us want to drop the ball,’ Harman said. ‘We’re placing a high priority on this season.’The No. 44 Orange (10-4, 5-1 Big East) has a unique scheduling arrangement this year, with a 19-day break between matches in the middle of the season. The break corresponds with SU’s Spring Break, giving players a chance to go home if they choose to. In years past, head coach Luke Jensen planned Spring Break road trips, but Jensen wasn’t able to find a trip that warranted taking away his players’ break.It ended up working out perfectly. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textJensen thinks the break is just what the Orange needs after finishing up an arduous portion of its schedule. Many players have been battling injuries, and the opportunity for some rest will gear everyone up for the late-season NCAA push, Jensen said.‘We’re beat up physically and drained emotionally,’ Jensen said. ‘When we had matches during Spring Break that was so much stress. This will be a nice little pause.’Jensen feels the team has traveled plenty already. The Orange opened the season with trips to South Florida and Texas Christian, and the team played seven of its first eight matches on the road before a four-match homestand. SU has two remaining road matches on the schedule along with the Big East tournament in Tampa, Fla.The extended time away from the court gives the Orange a chance to start early on preparations for its next two opponents, Binghamton and Boston University. Syracuse dropped last year’s match against BU 6-1 and narrowly escaped Binghamton 4-3.This year, Jensen said the extra time off gives the Orange a competitive advantage.‘We have over two weeks to zero in on those two teams,’ Jensen said. ‘They have business to take care of before they think about us. We can focus on them for the rest of the month, and we get to rest our mind and body.’The chance for rest doesn’t mean the team will be off from tennis completely, though. The coaching staff works with each player to devise a training plan that involves practicing, running and workouts.After Syracuse rose quickly up the rankings to as high as No. 39 in the country after a program-defining victory against Yale on Feb. 26, Jensen said he doesn’t need to worry about the players staying disciplined during break.‘We’ve come too far to drop the ball at this point,’ Jensen said. ‘We all want to win, and everyone knows what needs to be done over break to stay focused. I have so much confidence in them.’Freshman Amanda Rodgers is off to a torrid start in singles play, winning 13 of her first 14 matches. She is still looking for the right fit in doubles, though, going 4-5 overall while pairing with four different partners.Rodgers could go home to Florida, but she’s going to stay in Syracuse to work on her doubles play to gear up for the stretch run. She said she feels a mental edge over the opposition at this point, and she doesn’t want to let it slip away.‘Staying at Syracuse, I’m trying to train a lot every day,’ Rodgers said. ‘It’s a time to refocus, rest and get ready for the rest of the season.’Harman refers to the coaching staff as the team’s ‘pilot’ at this point. She said the clear communication and sense of community throughout the team will keep next week’s break from posing any problems.Rodgers said the players know what is expected, and nobody wants to let their teammates down. So when Syracuse returns to the court for its next match in 16 days, it expects to pick up right where it left off on its rise up the rankings.‘The great thing about this team is that we are driven,’ Rodgers said. ‘We all know that we can’t let our guard down.’[email protected]center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more