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Articles: Berry Nectar and Nausea; Meet the McMillans (Click one of these or scroll down for articles)

Blackberries are a long time natural remedy for nausea, diarrhea, and other stomach problems. If you are suffering from chemotherapy side effects, morning sickness, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), or any other illness causing stomach problems, we recommend that you try our Blackberry Cider or Blackberry Nectar.  Both the blackberry cider and nectar are made from our blackberries into blackberry juice.  We get alot of feedback from customers reporting that the cider and nectar (blackberry only) help with nausea and diarrhea.  If you would like to read testimonials, click here.  If you would like to buy a bottle to try we have a 12oz Blackberry Nectar and a 16oz Blackberry Cider in our country store that are both perfect trial sizes.


  POLISHED PICKERS: Ansley and Amanda Thomas fill their buckets with strawberries at Southern Grace Farms near Valdosta, Ga. The farm's owners used to grow tobacco in the field, but with demand dropping, they now use the berries to boost their income.

Berry Nectar May Help Relieve Nausea From Chemotherapy

By Jaime Peck--found in the Lowndes County Observer (retyped with permission from writer)
  ENIGMA--Blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries are making quite a splash in the natural medicine circuit, especially in Lowndes County and surrounding areas.
     These types of berries contain cancer-fighting antioxidants, which are substances thought to have cancer-preventing properties.  Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries also contain ellagic acid, an antioxidant that acts as a scavenger to help make potential cancer-causing chemicals inactive, and resveratrol, another cancer-fighting substance.  Many free radicals, or agents thought to cause cancer and advanced aging, are destroyed by antioxidants. Oxygen damage to cells may often lead to premature aging and cardiovascular disease (The Fruit Growers News, Feb. 2001)
     In addition, blackberry juice, or "nectar", has been said to help combat the nausea associated with chemotherapy treatments, according to Jennifer McMillan, sales and marketing director for Southern Grace Farms in Enigma.  The non-alcoholic drink sold retail and wholesale locally is also effective in the treatment for watery diarrhea, weak stomachs, inflamed throat and laryngitis (www.vitabit.com)
     "Some doctors recommend blackberry wine to their patients receiving chemotherapy," McMillan said.  "That's why we started [looking into] it.  We started looking it up, and now some residents around here order it by the case [to help with] their nausea."
    The nectar comes in blackberry, blueberry, and strawberry flavors sold at South Georgia Pecan Company in Valdosta, Vivian's Gift Shop in Nashville, and the Berry Barn in Enigma.  The Berry Barn offers free chilled samples of the nectars.
     McMillan said the nectar is sweet, like juice. Patients can drink the nectar [as is] or mix it with lemonade, tea, daiquiris, smoothies, or slushies.  "It's really good frozen," McMillan said.
     The nectar is currently sold in 12 stores across Georgia.  McMillan said people like the product because it is Georgia Grown and Georgia-made.  The blueberries are grown in Baxley, and the blackberries and strawberries are grown on the McMillan's berry farms in Lowndes and Berrien Counties.  The berries are shipped off to North Georgia, where they are processed like cider-- cooked, strained of their juices and added to vitamin C, sugar and water.
     There is no nutritional differenced between fresh and p0rocessed berries, according to the Berry Works News, Fall 2000. Cooking, freezing, and drying all have no effect on the photochemical properties the berries contain.
     For blackberry, strawberry or blueberry nectar ordering information, go to the Southern Grace Farms website at www.southerngracefarms.com or call the farm office at (229)533-8585.
We are collecting testimonials from customers who drink the nectar for medicinal purposes and would love to hear your story! Email it to jennATsoutherngracefarmsDOTcom.

Seven Generations on the Farm--Meet the McMillan Family

(Found in "Leader" Issue 1, from Aggeorgia Farm Credit.  Written by Mary Riley--retyped with permission from writer.   (The full article with pictures can be found at: www.awww.aggeorgia.comggeorgia.com
     The McMillan family is rooted in history with a vision for the future.  As the seventh generation to farm the lands of Berrien County brothers Steve and Tim McMillan want to see their children continue the tradition of the McMillan family farm.  To stay on the land the family has diversified their traditional row crop farm to include you-pick strawberries and blackberries.  The family has also expanded into retail sales through a country store located on highway 82 in Enigma.
    Steve and Laura have three children.  Jennifer, the oldest, is a graduate of Valdosta State University and helps out on the farm with the retail and wholesale business.  Melissa has a position with the Tift County Sheriff's Office as a deputy and is continuing to work on her Master's Degree in Criminal Justice.  Thirteen-year-old Stephen is a middle school student at Tift Area Academy.  Laura works on the farm, at the family's peanut buying facility, called Berrien Peanut Company, and with the country store and the you-pick operation.
    Tim and Margaret McMillan have three boys. Jesse is a freshman at ABAC, Tyson is in middle school at Tift Academy and Daniel is in the first grade.  Margaret is a high school English teacher.
     Seven generations ago the McMillan family left Scotland and their herd of sheep bound for a foreign land.  They arrived in the colony of Georgia in 1774 and settled in what was to become known over a hundred years later as Berrien County.  Steve recalls hearing family stories that have been passed down through the generations about those early years, how the family dug wolf pits to eradicate the wolves that preyed on the sheep herd.  By the 1800's the family had begun to raise cattle and cotton as a cash crop.  Most of the farming in those early years was subsistence farming--they grew almost everything they needed to live.
      Steve and Tim's great grandfather, Jesse McMillan, grew cotton and some peanuts, which were used mostly to feed his hogs.  He grew a lot of corn, which was used to feed the horses and mules that provided power to plow and harvest.  There was also at the time a turpentine operation on the farm.  The grandfather of the McMillan clan grew mostly tobacco and peanuts with some cotton and still a lot of corn to feed the farm animals.  Corn has been a mainstay crop for the McMillan's through the years and present generation still grows some acres of the crop.
     Steve and Tim's father, Rossie and their Uncle Allen both farmed the land and their father still farms several acres of peanuts on his own and helps his sons out when needed. Both Steve and Tim agree that their father is a source of great farming advice. 
     Timber has been an important crop to the McMillan family since their great-grandfather's time and has been a source of retirement funds for several generations.
     When their grandfather expanded the farm with the purchase of some farmland in 1945 it was for the purpose of getting a tractor that came with the land; tractors were in very short supply because of WWII and the only way to get one at the time was to buy the land that the tractor came with.
     The McMillan family has always helped each other out on the farm--brother helping brother and father lending a hand to sons.  In 1995 Tim and Steve decided to pool their resources and incorporate.  Thus was born Southern Grace Farms.  Today the farm produces tobacco, peanuts, cotton, corn, you-pick strawberries and blackberries.  several years ago the family decided to expand their operation by diversifying into a you-pick operation.
      The idea of starting a you-pick strawberry and blackberry operation came about because of the tobacco cuts.  Tobacco has always been a major source of income for the farm and with the loss of tobacco income there was a need to expand into another area that would make money.  About 6 years ago there was one other you-pick field in a 40-mile radius of Southern Grace Farms so the family jumped on the opportunity to grow strawberries for the expanding and popular niche farming.  Today there are six you-pick operations in the area, which has given the farm some competition.  In response the family expanded by starting a strawberry field in Lowndes County 5 years ago.  This operation is located about one mile south of Moody Field and has been very successful.  The strawberry season begins in mid-March and generally goes through the end of May.  Blackberries are available from mid May through mid July.  For more information on the U-Pick operation, the McMillan family welcomes phone call inquiries at (229)533-8585.
     Laura is excited about the educational opportunities that the fruit operation offers.  Several Berrien County School System third grade classes have come out to the farm on field trips and several private schools and church pre-K groups have visited for a hands-on learning experience in farming.
     The family also has a country store called The Berry Barn, located on HWY82 in Enigma that is open during the strawberry and blackberry seasons from 9-6; the rest of the year it is open from 10-5.  The store developed indirectly from the U-Pick operation as an outlet for the fruit that wasn't picked by customers.  Rather than see the fruit go to waste, it is hand-picked and shipped to a processor who makes strawberry and blackberry jams and jellies which are sold in the family's country store.  The store also offers strawberry and blackberry nectar and cider made from the farm's fruit.  Laura says the cider is sweeter than the nectar and makes a good mixer for punch and adds a delightful flavor to tea.
     Jennifer is working on expanding the market for ciders and nectars.  Twenty stores throughout Georgia and three in North Florida now carry Southern Grace Farms fruit nectars.  Jennifer says they are also trying to expand the market by offering the products for fundraisers and for other niche markets in the state.
     The family sells strawberries commercially on a limited bases.  The Berrien County School System has purchased fresh fruit for the student lunches and the family has sold some fruit to local grocery stores. 
     Another way the family has diversified their farm is with their peanut company.  This is the 17th year of operation for Berrien Peanut Company, which was the first buying point in Berrien County.  The facility is an in and out buying point with no storage facilities.  During harvest, peanuts are brought in by the local farmers, graded and checked for moisture, cleaned and dried if necessary.  From here the peanuts are shipped to a sheller.
     Steve says that for years the prices that farmers receive have not kept up with the cost of production therefore to stay on the farm, you must diversify.  The McMillan family has certainly done that with their ventures into the peanut company, the U-pick fields, and the country store and wholesale market for their fruit products.  The family has been on this land for generations and they plan to still be here for generations to come.
Other Articles
Farmer Sees Future for Tobacco
Strawberry Production Increasing in Southeast


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