In the spotlight
WHERE: 5177 Floyd Street, Covington
PHONE: (678) 712-6577
HOURS: Tuesday to Saturday 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.; closed Sunday and Monday
Noring Farms owners Andrew and Christina Norman started out with jobs that were the farthest from farming and selling produce. She was a mortgage banker and he was a fine wine director.
"When the economy crashed, obviously mortgage banking was out of the question, so I basically laid myself off," Christina said. "Fine wine wasn't being bought, so Andrew was laid off too. That's when we started growing heirloom tomatoes in our backyard."
Within five years, their backyard farm flourished as they sought more land. From there, their business grew and grew and before long, Noring Farms began to take shape.
The farm is now up to 10 acres, located off Highway 36, and contains more than 1,200 tomato plants and 65 different varieties.
They made contact with several clients that Andrew had served in his previous job and were able to start selling their tomatoes to a couple of restaurants.
The business celebrated its grand opening last Saturday, and it received a large reception. Christina said most of their stock was depleted after the opening. As of Tuesday, they were still restocking their shelves.
"It was a huge success," she said. "We're busy trying to catch up on filling the coolers ... we ran out of milk too ... We were wiped out of a lot of stuff. It was a very successful day."
The farm specializes in heirloom and old-school varietal fruits and vegetables, which are grown from seeds that haven't been genetically altered for mass production.
"Some of these seeds date back to hundreds and hundreds of years," She said. "We're growing purple asparagus, which you never see ... and there are hundreds and hundreds of types of tomatoes, all in different shapes, sizes and colors. There are just so many."
Along with their own stock of produce, the business is also in cooperation with other farms in the surrounding area, selling goods from Burge Plantation, Tewksbury Farms, Snapola Farms and Johnston Dairy. They hope to join with other farms in the area as the business continues to grow. They will be working with Alcovy Berry Farms, Green Livin' Farms and others as the summer season approaches.
The Normans hope to make the business a one-stop-shop for the county's residents, eventually selling grass-fed beef and free-range chickens.
"The idea is also to support Newton County farms," she said. "It gives Newton County a chance to eat the food that is grown here."
In addition to their heirloom produce, Noring Farms also boasts fresh-baked bread and eggs from their farm and serve food made in their kitchen and prepared with the same produce they carry within the store. Some of these dishes include tomato pie ("it's like lasagna without the noodles"), barbecue chicken and shepard's pie. They also cure their own meat.
"If there's a night you don't feel like cooking, you could come here and pick up meals that have already been cooked and stored in the cooler," she said. "Basically, we do a little bit of everything."