For someone whose career depends so heavily on social media, that’s a very bad word. On an average day as a food & wine writer, I can spend up to 14 hours tweeting, pinning, Instagramming, Facebooking, SnapChating, Tumbling, YouTubing, G+’ing or on any other social media platform de jour. My laptop, tablet, and smartphone are crucial to my success and are truly my BFFs. They are my lifeline. My connection to “the real world”.
While preparing for my adventure to White Oak Pastures, I’m sure you can imagine my horror and complete sense of anxiety upon learning there would be no internet in the cabins and very little cell phone service.
Huh? No internet? Do places like this still exist? How would I communicate? How would I reach the outside world? HOW would I go to sleep without the comforting lull of my Twitter and Facebook notifications sounding regularly?
Insert panic attack here.
I believe my call with Jenni, Marketing Manager of White Oak Pastures, went a little something like this.
Jenni: We’re excited for you to come out and visit us! We’ve planned a tour of the farm, meals at our restaurant, an awesome cabin…oh and by the way, there is no internet service in the cabins, only in the restaurant, and cell phone reception sometimes isn’t great.
Me: (Insert crickets chirping here. I briefly saw my life pass before my eyes and couldn’t utter a sound). I think I choked out an “Ok.”
For three days, I, Melissa Pelkey-Hass, the queen of Social Media…
…was going to be unplugged.
Meeting the Family
White Oak Pastures is a 150 year old multi-generational family farm that cooperates with nature to produce artisan products. We work hard to ensure that all of our production practices are Fair, Sustainable, and Humane. We never fail to conduct our business in an honorable manner, for the sake of our animals, our land, and our people who produce and consume our goods.
Since my sweet boy had to work, I enlisted fellow blogger Shana Lee, author of Shana Was Here, to accompany me on this great adventure.
We loaded the hatchback and began our three hour drive to the farm. It was a gorgeous day, so the drive was pleasant. It was nice to be outside, away from the office and not staring at a computer screen.
Shana is a great travel companion and we chatted about everything under the sun, especially about where we were having lunch as we were both starving. We decided on a small Caribbean joint along the way for some authentic Jerk Chicken. Authentic it definitely was and it quickly reminded me how little tolerance I have for extreme heat these days in my food! It. Was. HOT!!! I found myself swallowing with as little chewing as possible until I could no longer feel my tongue. Then it was all good!
We arrived at White Oak Pastures shortly after lunch and met the AMAZING Jenni Harris. Jenni’s family has owned and operated White Oak Pastures since 1866. Every second we spent with Jenni throughout the trip was educational and fun. With every detail and fact she provided about the farm, you could hear the genuine love, devotion and pride in her voice to the farm and to her family. While there we also met Jenni’s sister Jodi who also works on the farm as well as the incomparable Chad Hunter.
As we arrived later in the day, Jenni gave us directions to our cabin located on the farm, and tickets for dinner at their restaurant. With that, Shana and I set out to find our home away from home for the next two days. Little did we know exactly what we would find 🙂
Little Cabin on the Farm – Discovering Beulah Bell
After turning onto the driveway, what we found was Beulah Bell; the absolute cutest, most adorable cabin I’ve seen!
How is THAT for SERIOUS cuteness?!?!
The front porch was screened in, there was an overhead fan, a small table and there were two rocking chairs, which of course immediately won my heart. Shana and I both knew it would be the perfect place to enjoy the bottles of wine we brought along. There was also a grill and picnic table.
The inside of the cabin was so warm and inviting. There were two very comfortable beds, a dresser, refrigerator, microwave, a Keurig coffee maker with coffees and various creamers and sugars, dishware, wine glasses, and a bathroom with a shower.
We were pretty tired after settling in to the cabin and the long drive to the farm. We decided to head to the restaurant and pick up dinner to bring back to the cabin and settle in for the evening.
We are an open-aired restaurant located on a farm that primarily feeds our 100+ employees (from butchers and organic farmers to office managers) who work on site Monday through Saturday. We feature a daily special along with regular daily menu items. We also offer a wide variety of items for sale in our storefront ranging from homemade preserves to pickled items and seasonal sausage.
The menu was fantastic and we enjoyed this awesome cheese plate, burgers and quesadillas. Their menu comes predominantly from their farm raised beef, chicken & various meats and vegetables.
It was divinely delicious!
After dinner, Shana and I spent hours rocking on the porch, enjoying our wine and having a great conversation. As I sat on the porch listening to Shana, I realized this was the first real conversation I had in years where I actively listened. I wasn’t engrossed in Facebook, or feeling the need to Tweet every hour. I wasn’t involved in any social media at all. Nor was I glued mindlessly to a television set. I was truly enjoying a conversation with another person, actively listening to her, genuinely caring about her words, and truly enjoying the beauty and art of communication.
I didn’t realize until then that this had been missing from my life. I also realized at that very moment, I hadn’t thought once about my cell phone. It was 2:00 am and I hadn’t missed it one single bit.
I, Melissa Pelkey-Hass, queen of social media was unplugged. And I liked it.
Breakfast at Beulah
We finally made it bed around 2:30 am. We had a long day ahead of us, meeting Jenni at 9am for a grand tour of the farm.
When we woke, we made our coffee, and found this luscious quiche and farm fresh eggs in the fridge for breakfast! Let me tell you, that quiche…wow. Chad Hunter makes the quiches for the cabins from scratch and he is a WIZ. It’s better than mine, and for those who know me, know I do NOT say that often. It was flavorful, creamy and all around spectacular. Chad KNOWS quiche.
We headed back out to the porch and rocking chairs to enjoy our breakfast, and soon realized we were not alone. We had company!
…a LOT of company!!! Right in our front Yard!
…and they brought friends!
…and had breakfast with us 🙂 Right there, literally only a few feet away.
I sat back in the rocker and realized something magical was happening. I could hardly wait for the day’s experience on the farm. Like Jiminy Cricket said, “The most fantastic, magical things can happen and it all starts with a wish!”
I was unplugged and I had found serenity.
Our White Oak Pastures adventure has just begun! Make sure to follow the rest of our story through our three part series:
- Part Two: A Day on the Farm, August 5
- Part Three: Taking the Long Way Home, August 10
*We would like to say a VERY special, tremendous thank you to Jenni, Jodi, Chad and everyone at White Oak Pastures for an amazing, incredible adventure. I can’t wait to share the rest of this story! While our experience at White Oak was complimentary, all thoughts, opinions, drooling, recommendations and raving about this experience is entirely our own.
More About White Oak Pastures
To learn more about White Oak Pastures, visit their website here http://www.whiteoakpastures.com/
You have an open invitation to the farm…
We love having guests on the farm and at our processing plants. We invite you and your family, school, church group, or other organization to come and visit us. Please call in advance to be sure that someone can be available to show you what we do.
White Oak Pastures is not Disney World, but we are proud of the way we raise our livestock and produce our food. We would like for you to understand the process.
We are generally open 7 days a week anytime during daylight hours, but we can guarantee we’ll be onsite at the following times:
Monday – Friday: 8AM to 5PM
Saturday: 9AM to 6PM
Sunday: 11AM to 5PM
White Oak Pastures
22775 Highway 27
Bluffton, Georgia 39824
Call Us: (229) 641-2081
White Oak Pastures, Inc.
P.O. Box 98
Bluffton, Georgia 39824