“How ‘ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm,/ After they’ve seen Paree?”
That’s the question posed in a popular World War I-era song, reflecting America’s shift from rural to urban life. Just a few years after the 1919 publication of that song, Tim Stowe’s grandparents, Christy and Emma Stowe, bucked the trend and started their own family farm.
“Down on the farm” is just where Tim and Gwen Stowe of Gastonia, N.C., want to be, continuing the venture Tim’s grandparents began in 1926.
Members of the Erskine College Class of 1977, the Stowes own and operate Stowe Dairy Farms, a third-generation working heritage farm, which has moved from dairy production to raising grass-fed beef cattle.
As if that weren’t enough to keep them busy, they’ve recently turned part of their land into a Christmas tree farm, with this past Christmas marking the fourth season of that endeavor.
They also provide educational experiences for children and adults who have little or no connection with life on a farm. Stowe Dairy Farms is one of the producers featured on a Website called “NC Choices,” an initative of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems.
“As educators, we enjoy having visitors of all ages and sharing with them activities unique to our early 1900s farm,” the Stowes announce in their profile.
The Stowes sell seasonal items such as mixed green wreaths and hangers, Christmas tree supplies and stands, stained-glass ornaments, and ornaments for children to make. All year round, they offer grass-fed beef, fresh brown eggs, and sorghum syrups.
“Last season, 2010, the first choose-and-cut tree was cut on our farm on Thanksgiving weekend,” Gwen Stowe said. This season, the Stowes opened their Christmas tree farm Nov. 25, with trees from the farm including Leyland cypress, red cedar, and Carolina sapphire, as well as Fraser firs from the North Carolina mountains.
More information about the Stowes’ farm can be found at www.stowedairyfarms.com.