Meet 6th generation peanut farmer and conservation specialist, Casey Cox.
I'm a sucker for a good farm visit. I'm so lucky that I get to travel around the country on press tours of various food production sites and farms to learn more about our food. A few years ago I headed down to Southern Virginia (it was basically North Carolina it was so far south) where I went to visit a peanut farm. I basically bolted off of the bus once I saw the acres and acres of cotton fields which where in crop rotation with the peanuts at the time. Anything cool plant wise, I'm there.
I saw Casey featured recently in a peanut product feature and I really wanted to have her on the blog to share her story as a farmer committed to sustaining natural resources.
"Building a kinship with this group of farmers has transformed my perspective of food."
1. Tell us about yourself and your business.
I am a sixth generation farmer in southwest Georgia. We grow sweet corn, peanuts, field corn, soybeans, and timber. I spent my childhood in the woods, on the farm, and in the Flint River. I moved back to the farm after receiving a degree in Natural Resource Conservation from the University of Florida. My long-term plan is to manage the family farm and expand on the innovations of the generations before me. While I learn the business and technology angles of the farm, I currently serve as the Executive Director of the Flint River Soil and Water Conservation District and Georgia Association of Conservation Districts. Stewardship is a guiding principle of my life, and I could not be more grateful to be in several roles to advance conservation on our family farm and throughout the region.
2. If you could define your food philosophy in one sentence it would be….
I strive to channel my grandmother's flair for classic southern food with a modern, healthy twist.
3. What are your 3 must have foods in your kitchen?
Peanut butter (every day!), orange blossom honey from my Florida cousins, and fresh sweet corn from the farm when it's in season.
4. It’s your birthday. What are you eating?
My birthday tradition has always been to have either my Grandma Peggy's homemade ice cream recipe or a blackberry cobbler made with wild blackberries from the woods (or better yet - both!).
5. What do you do when you feel 'stuck'?
I go outside. A stroll in the woods or quiet time on the river bank puts everything in perspective.
6. Food you can’t like no matter how hard you try?
Pickles and olives.
7. What are your go-to resources for all things food (websites/magazines/groceries etc)?
My grandmother and mother worked together to publish a cookbook filled with our family favorites - definitely my main go-to when it comes to food. I also peruse Pinterest and various food blogs and cookbooks for new ideas.
I drive a ridiculously long distance to buy groceries at Publix because we do not have many grocery stores in our rural area. I raid our farm for seasonal crops when at all possible (fresh sweet corn and boiled peanuts truly cannot be beat)!
8. Food fad you wish would die a horrible death?
Inauthentic "farm to table" claims and food labeling that is not rooted in science.
9. Must have kitchen tool?
My blender for breakfast smoothies!
10. What’s the one thing you learned this year that changed the way you think about food?
Over the last year, I have had the opportunity to participate in a leadership program with peanut farmers from across the United States. We all share peanut production in common, but we also represent a vast diversity of agricultural production. Despite these differences in backgrounds, climates, and crops, we all share a passion for what we do. I have learned so much from these other farmers. Perhaps the most compelling lesson is the level of respect and commitment to safe, high-quality food production that each of us possesses almost inherently. Building a kinship with this group of farmers has transformed my perspective of food. I see them - and the farmers across the country that I do not know - in all of the US grown food in our grocery stores.
DO YOU KNOW A WOMAN IN THE FOOD WORLD WHO SHOULD BE PART OF THIS INTERVIEW SERIES? LET ME KNOW!
CHECK OUR PREVIOUS WOMEN IN FOOD INTERVIEWS HERE:
- Bonnie the award winning author and dietitian.
- Liz who has a book about foods and fertility that just came out.
- Lia who lived in Central America, came home and created something amazing.
Dietitian Nutritionist and cookbook author sharing flavor-forward recipes and simplified science-driven wellness.