As I was researching material for this story, I looked up the meaning of LOVE. There is so much information available on the subject….. Google offers page after page of material sharing definitions of love, images portraying love, movies and songs about love and even advice on how to find love. However, the one thing I didn't find was a love story about a 135-year-old peach and pecan farm in Zenith, Georgia. So, I decided we should write one, and what I found was more love than I could begin to share in one sitting, so we pared it down to a couple pretty cool stories. We hope you enjoy...
You may remember Maria and Jose' from a FAMILY Friday we shared late last year. We spoke of their jobs here at the Farm, and how long they have worked for the Pearson family. What we didn't tell you at that time was that they met because of the Farm and not because they were working here. Back in the late 90's, Maria's sister came to work at Pearson Farm for peach season. That summer she met the man who would become her future husband. At their wedding later that year, Maria met Jose', who just happened to be the brother of the groom. There was immediate chemistry. They spent as much time together as possible during Jose's brief visit to Mexico and talked for hours on the phone once he returned to Pearson Farm. During these calls, they made plans for Maria to come and work at the Farm that upcoming peach season. It was such a fun summer. Not only was she getting to spend a lot of time with Jose', but her whole family was together working in peaches. As the season drew to an end, Jose' told Maria, "I don't think you need to go back to Mexico. You need to stay here with me.” He then went and spoke with her mother and older brother, asking their permission to marry Maria. Today, 18 years later, they have 2 beautiful children, and continue to be important members of the Pearson Farm FAMILY. Maria manages Mary's Kitchen and Jose' is Mr. Al's right-hand man (when you've been here 30+ years what other job would you have? ). It makes our heart smile knowing that our Farm helped bring these 2-wonderful people together and that we continue to be a part of their story.
Kimberly and Fernando met and married in their hometown in Mexico after several months of a sweet courtship. Soon after their wedding, Kimberly' dad left Mexico in search of work in the United States. Before leaving, he started the immigration process for Kimberly and her brothers in hopes that they would be able to come here for work as well. Not long after the birth of their son, Kimberly was offered an opportunity for work in California. She hated leaving Fernando and her baby but knew she must take advantage of this chance to provide a better life for her family. So, with her husband's blessing she left to work for a season. Someone close to her family later told her about a farm in Georgia that utilized the H2A program for seasonal help. She hoped that this farm still needed workers and possibly she could get her husband a job there. So, the next year she came to Pearson Farm to work in peaches. Following her cousin's advice, she knew her first task was to find Israel, the Farm manager. When she saw him, she said, “Israel, I need your help! I want my husband Fernando to come here to work so my family can be together. Can you help us?” Israel had a spot for the two of them the very next peach season. Fernando and Kimberly were able to work together and blessed to make enough money to buy a home. Today, they are living and working on the Farm and have just given birth to their second son. Even though the Farm didn't introduce them, it has allowed them to be together and work, providing a bright future for the ones they love.
As these stories and others like them unfolded, I began to realize that the true love story is the Farm. There's no way Mr. Al and Lawton could work the hours they do, invest the money they do, or take care of all the people they do unless they LOVED this red dirt of Zenithland. Their love for this Farm and the people who work here is truly immeasurable. A love like this isn't born from romance, but does send their heart a flutter. It runs every bit as deep and can elicit the strongest emotions of joy and heart break that any romance can bring. This kind of LOVE is enduring, long suffering, and forever. It fills every orchard, dirt road, and building on this Farm. Their love and respect for this land and these trees is contagious. The Farm has provided a vehicle for young love between local folks and even those from faraway lands. It has afforded opportunities for selfless love exemplified by generations of the Pearson family who own this Farm as well as the local men and women who work here, along with those who leave their homes and families coming to the Farm looking for a better life and future for those they love. It is so much more than acres, and trees, and tractors. Pearson Farm is alive and growing and loving on its FAMILY every day!
HAPPY VALENTINES DAY from our FAMILY to yours!!