Roy Jones raises produce on the land his family has owned since the early 1800s. The Ellis family arrived from Wales in the 1700s. They traveled south along the Appalachian Mountains, some of them settling along the way, until James Ellis and his wife arrived at the base of Sand Mountain between Valley Head and Sulphur Springs.
The farm is still a family operation with wife Bonnie, daughter Rebecca, and Roy’s father John all lending a hand. The 800-acre farm and has seen a diverse array of animal husbandry and agriculture including sheep, cattle, corn, wheat, timber, and sorghum cane. In 2006, the farm’s focus shifted from animal husbandry and timber to specialize in produce.
The Jones farm endeavors to stay “earth friendly” while producing food. The farm focuses on working in harmony with nature to control harmful pests and disease. “One of the ways we’ve incorporated biologics is to use helper bumblebees to deliver natural fungus to our berry blooms to fight off harmful pathogens,” said Jones. This process eliminates the need for more fuel to be used in tractors to deliver the treatment. Bees do what comes natural to them pollinating and carrying what is on them from their hives to the plants.
“We are also looking into attracting Humming Birds to our farm to help manage the Spotted Wing Drosophila,” said Jones. This insect is a member of the small fruit fly genus. They attack various types of fruit.
The farm produces strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, watermelon, peaches, pumpkins, and potted mums. They sell direct to customer and will deliver an order of ten or more one-gallon buckets. “We commonly take orders to businesses where the employees have gotten together to place a large order,” said Jones. “We recognize the working person finds it difficult to come to our farm or roadside fruit-stand during business hours.”
They are currently in their fourth week of harvesting strawberries with approximately three weeks left in the season. Jones can be found at both the north and south ends of Fort Payne selling produce. “It’s not to late to load up your freezer with strawberries,” said Jones.
Strawberries can be picked up at the farm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:00 a.m. -11:30 a.m. and at the north end of Fort Payne across from Stone’s Barber Shop at 2206 Gault Ave. N. from 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. From 2:30/3:00 p.m. (depending on availability) They are located on the south end near the Fort Payne Welcome Center, and sometimes they are there as late as 6:00 p.m.
Jones farm is located at 1203 County Road 731 Valley Head. Phone 256-630-2200. Found on Facebook @ Jones Farm and http://www.jonesfruitfarm.com/
Roy’s Motto: “Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness.” – Letter from Thomas Jefferson to George Washington (1787)
— Marla Ballard’s Spotlight on Business appears in the Times-Journal weekend edition.