White Oak Pastures' sprawling 2500 acres are a sight to behold in southwest Georgia. The farm has been in the Harris family since 1866, and while they're constantly evolving with the industry, they keep their strong family roots firmly in place. Jodi Harris Benoit and her sister, Jenni, are the fifth generation to live and work on the farm, with the 6th generation already growing up there- both sisters had babies in the past year. Jodi manages all things tourism, including their new country store, farm tours, and lodging. "The tourism part kind of happened naturally after I came on full-time in 2014," Jodi explains. "Guests wanted to start doing tours, and Dad was too busy running the farm." Jodi began guiding the tours, and eventually they made the decision to add lodging as well. "We were sending visitors off-site to hotels, and realized it would be so much better to have lodging here on the farm. People feel more like they're really getting the experience of life on the farm."
Home to ten different species, White Oaks' animals are pasture-raised and grass-fed. The farm has both a red meat and a poultry abattoir where the meat processing takes place. From there, the farm ships product out to grocery store chains as well as directly to customers. White Oak operates strong values- providing quality meats that are better for the environment, the animals, and the people who eat consume the products. Using the multi-species rotational grazing practices of their forefathers, this farm is honoring tradition and making a positive impact at the same time.
Jodi is particularly proud of their new and improved general store. "It's been about 40 years since you could stop and buy a loaf of bread in Bluffton, "she says," and we're working hard on our country store to help change that. The residents are excited. We love seeing this little town grow."
The storefront itself brings you back to simpler times with its rustic décor and welcoming ambiance. Inside you'll find fresh vegetables, leather jewelry, and beef tallow soap and candles all sourced directly from White Oak. You can order a fresh biscuit with farm eggs and bacon right at the counter and pick it up from the food truck right outside. White Oak also offers a wide variety of pet foods and supplies, all made right on the farm. There are rows upon rows of local jams, jellies, honeys, sauces, spices, and more lining the walls, all adding up to a deliciously pleasant shopping experience. And don’t worry if you can't make it down to Bluffton in time for Thanksgiving- their online store happens to be the fastest-growing part of the business.
Sipping hot coffee at one of the wooden tables in the general store, Jodi Harris Benoit has the relaxed and welcoming demeanor that can only come from a person who is exactly where she's meant to be. Visiting White Oak Pastures brings you a feeling of appreciation for hard work and family ties- and the power of sharing a meal. To anyone thinking of serving a White Oak turkey this holiday season, Jodi sends this message- "I hope everyone enjoys their pastured turkey – a lot of love and work go into them, and we want that to brighten your family's table."
Learn more about the farm and online ordering at www.whiteoakpastures.com.