A little bit about us!
Hello everyone. Thank you for showing interest in our small farm! We wanted to take the very first blog post to introduce ourselves so you know who we are!
We are the Chadwick’s and we are the privileged owners, farmers, caretakers and gardeners of Golden Forest Farm. We started this small adventure in 2012 in Simpsonville South Carolina on about 2 acres. Between county restrictions and cramped property lines we learned very quickly we needed more room and less restrictions!
My name is Monica and I love to create and make all sorts of things.
My husband’s name is Chuck. He has what I call a “golden green thumb”. If it weren’t for him we’d all starve. He is the mastermind behind the farm!
We have two Children! Charlie is 11 and Jaden is 8.
Charlie loves music and making people laugh. Jaden loves horses, drawing and reading. We homeschool, which on most days can be rough, if we’re being honest, but I wouldn’t trade the opportunity for anything. I’m soaking up the time I have with them because one day they won’t want to harass me all day. We love hiking, biking, kayaking, fishing, and being outdoors!
WHY WE FARM:
We want to know where our food comes from. Don’t you? We want to know what is used to grow our food. This is important! We want our food to have taste because we all know that once you’ve had a homegrown tomato you can’t ever go back. You know I’m right! We are quickly learning this is true with all veggies. When something is left to ripen on the plant and then picked the day of to eat, the taste is amazing. Plus you get so much more nutrients when eating truly fresh veggies!
We started growing our own food along with keeping goats, chickens and rabbits. We had to be re-zoned back to the properties original zoning in order to have “farm animals”. This is Charlie with one of our very first boy goats named Mystro. Baby goats are adorable but that’s about as far as I’ll go about them.
Chicken are amazing in so many ways and we will get back to them in a later post. They are and probably always will be a part of our farm! We started out with a small flock from my mom and quickly learned we needed a permit for our chicken coop. WHAT? Yes, because we cemented a few posts in the ground, it required a permit.
Rabbits are amazing too and they will have a future place in our story again very soon. Look at this adorable baby rabbit!
The very first garden we planted we layed paper down for a weed barrier on an area of about 50’x50’ and covered it with local compost. Strategically, we placed the seeds and hoped for the best only to wake up to the entire thing being WASHED away by a heavy rain. Some might have taken that as a sign perhaps... Run now... but my husband took that as a challenge and covered and planted the entire area again. To be honest, it was by far one of the best gardens we’ve had. Probably because so much work went into it!
Everyone has something that supports the farm, right? At least starting off anyways. Well, my husband set up a company that consults on, sets up and maintains aquariums of all kinds and sizes. He started this business at the beach while he attended Coastal Carolina for his Marine Biology degree. This is what supports our farm currently. One day we hope the farm will support the farm! That’s all farmers main goal, right?!
I share this because we had an aquarium store that we paid a ton of rent for and we thought we’d be smart and purchase some storage buildings and make them into a store on the front of our property. We had the space and we’d own them out right. Right about this time we had also given thought to this could be a great farm store for our future endeavor!
First things first, you always have to ask for permission to do things on your property that you pay for! Right?!
So, I called the zoning department in Greenville County to be sure this was ok and they told me since they were not permanent structures, we are “ok”.
We had a huge pad graded, leveled, and crush and run poured for our future store front! The excitement was overwhelming! We purchased two “storage buildings” from Fisher Barns in Abbeville, SC (keep this in mind) that were 14’x36’ to set end to end to make a very long building. They got delivered. Aren’t they beautiful?!
We quickly learned that this wouldn’t be allowed. They were “too big”. They “couldn’t be at the front of the house”. “If they are moved to the back they can’t take up more then 20% of the back yard”. They “need a permit”. We “need to be rezoned”, again for business use. You name it, the zoning office said it. We figured out that if we were to keep them the way they were with out being rezoned our taxes wouldn’t go up. Once we were re-zoned we would be taxed business property taxed and zoned commercial. There are pluses and minuses to all that. At that point we knew we needed to find a place that we didn’t have to have permits to have chickens or storage buildings.
And so began our house hunt. We searched everywhere. When I say that I mean it. All the way from Burnsville, NC to Elberton, GA. I have so many stories to tell about that but I think we all have house hunting nightmares so I will spare you all the details. Here are a few of the major ones. We had properties that the owners were trying to scam us for tons of money with our involving legal documentation, we had properties sold out from under us, we had properties that we won a bid on and they hadn’t paid the county taxes so it went back up for bid and we didn’t win it... The stories are endless. It was let down after let down. It shouldn’t be so hard to find a house.
We tried to take a few days a week to house hunt. I would make lists of properties to look at. We spent hours each night looking through listing after listing. We didn’t really know where we wanted to be at the time. We were relatively open...
After searching everywhere in the Upstate I had one last list for the mid west side of South Carolina. I think at this point we were almost ready to give up. I’m pretty sure we had agreed at this point that if we didn’t find something we’d stop looking for a while. We were on a slight timeline for several things. I remember this day very well because it was blazing hot outside and we had no AC in our car. We went to look at this 10 acre property in Due West, SC. Land only. It was nice but needed so much initial attention and we just didn’t have the time. It wasn’t a “no” but I had one more option to look at. It was still 47 minutes away from where we were and we almost didn’t go. We were hot and tired. But the fact that this next property had a house and a barn were two MAJOR pluses! So we continued on to Abbeville, SC. Where our buildings were originally from!!!! Never would’ve thought they’d end up back home.
We LOVED the area. The property was in the Sumter National Forest. Who wouldn’t love the area??? We felt like the road leading to the property would never end. It just kept going and going. Up and down hill after hill. We kept losing phone signal and I was so afraid I was gonna get lost. I pulled into the gate and I’m pretty sure we both new then, this was the one. Long story short (a post of another blog), it completely worked out with ease. AMAZING!
A small farm with a barn, small shed, buildings for storage, a small house, the entire property perimeter fenced and cross fenced and a little over 4.5 acres. Right across the street from hiking trails, HTV trails, horse riding trails and best of all, lakes within minutes from us. It was just the place we needed!
HOW WE CHOSE OUR NAME:
When the sun sets here in the forest it turns the forest golden. Very simple but yet completely fitting.
ALSO, did you know that Abbeville has some of the first gold mines in SC? Some of these decommisioned gold mines can still be seen in the forest while hiking the trails of Parson’s Mountain. McCormick, which is our neighboring county, has a working gold mine. People still find gold while panning in the creeks today!
Well, this isn’t everything by far... I could share things all day, but l’ll save some of our other life’s adventures for another day!
I hope you enjoyed getting to know us a little better. There is so much more we will be sharing with you over time!
We greatly appreciate your support!
Monica, Chuck, Charlie and Jaden Chadwick
Golden Forest Farm