On a cool September morning, DaySpring Farms is in transition – the corn harvest is winding down, and the sweet potato and peas harvest will soon be amping up.
“But all year round, we’re milling,” says Nathan Brett, co-owner of DaySpring with his father, Murray Brett. “Our niche market is holding onto stuff that will store for a little while and we can sell over the course of a year.”
Experimenting with market gardening in previous years, the father-and-son team has since switched to commodity crops. “We’re predominantly a two-man operation, so we have to think smart about what we get into,” says Nathan.
With 87 acres just outside of Danielsville, Georgia, Dayspring has “more acreage than a regular market garden, but less than most commodity farmers,” says Murray Brett, Nathan’s father. DaySpring saw early on in their business that there was an acreage threshold, even in organic commodity farming, to making a profit. Caught in the middle, DaySpring did a side step, getting into value-added commodity production and storage crops.
“We have the benefit of having one, if not the only, certified cleaning operation in the state,” says Nathan. Providing cleaning and milling on the same property allows DaySpring to make a larger profit percentage off of what they grow.
DaySpring sells their grains both wholesale and direct to consumer. Sarah Dodge, baker and owner of Atlanta-based Bread is Good, uses DaySpring bread flour and cornmeal in her products. She believes one thing sets DaySpring apart: “flavor, flavor, flavor!”
“I do my best to use as many local Georgia grains as I can for flavor, nutrition, and most of all digestibility,” says Sarah. “Good grains take time and patience, and Nathan and Murray are putting so much into making their grains shine”.
DaySpring sits on the southern edge of where hard red winter wheat will vernalize and produce grain, making this Georgia-grown wheat even more unique. And with DaySpring’s grits and polenta production growing, Murray Brett adds, “with this flavor profile, our products speak for themselves”.
During the Georgia Organics Athens 2020 conference, DaySpring will be hosting a Friday-morning farm tour. Depending on the winter, the February fields will either be in cover crop, or thick green fields of wheat in the early stages of filing out.
Nathan knows he’s found value in farm tours he’s attended in the past, seeing farm operations that allowed him to “take away their philosophy and methodology to make certain aspects of my operation better”.
Can’t make the farm tour? Don’t worry – DaySpring Farms will also be providing wheat and corn donations to the conference food menu. One way or another, you’ll want to try these locally-grown Georgia grains.