The Forland Family Farm: Generational Growers in Baldwin County

Michelle Forland is a Baldwin County Farmer through and through. She has amazing dedication and drive to produce healthy and local food for our area. A special concern of hers is to provide women and children fresh vegetables and fruit for health and longevity. She is willing to try to grow anything and her success has already been realized. As a young woman, she is not afraid to roll up her sleeves and do the work necessary to nurture delicate food crops. Vegetable farming is primarily picked by hand, so hands-on is an everyday experience. 

Weather complications in farming are as old as time. Her positive attitude toward our recent wet weather is astounding. Even though the wet weather has made farming tough for the last couple of months, she recognizes its benefits. This rainy weather has actually been good for supporting lush growth of our fruit trees and helping young trees jump much higher than ordinary for future fruit tree production.

A long-time local grower. Michelle’s ancestors came to Baldwin County to farm many years ago (see Figure A). The first Forland farm was purchased in 1904  by Tom and Kristina Forland, who came to America from Forland, Norway. They purchased 100 acres and began farming row crops such as cotton. The next generation of Forland farmers were Osmund and Annie Forland, who also grew cotton, red potatoes and sweet potatoes. Osmund’s son and son's wife, John and Florence, continued farming the land and added livestock, chicken, guinea and pecan trees. The "dipping vat" is still on their farm as an historical reference. It is the site where livestock were dipped to rid them of ticks (see Figure B). 

The next generation to farm the family land were Michelle’s grandparents, Oscar and Jean Forland. Oscar is pictured in Figure C with his pecan shaker and vacuum. The machine was built to shake the tree and vacuum up the pecans! How else would you pick them up? I say…bend over and harvest!

The Forland Farm has been divided up to children and grandchildren over the years. John and Alecia Forland, Michelle’s parents, still continue to farm. Today, Michelle and her family produce many food crops. Turnips, collards, sweet corn, peas, watermelon, kale, squash, zucchini, strawberries, peaches, plums and okra are among the many crops that are produced in each vegetable and fruit’s season. Currently Michelle has started broccoli, cauliflower and brussell sprouts for some of her Fall crops. Michelle also operates a produce stand in Loxley, Alabama 

Plan to stop by her booth at the Coastal Alabama Farmers and Fishermen's Market to support this awesome generational farm rooted in agriculture from the past and the future.

Figure A Figure B Figure C