Lindy Mayberry Sellers, 42 of Stanfield, moved to North Carolina with her family in 2005 and a year later purchased an old 1915 farmhouse. During 2006, she started making jams and jellies as a hobby and Sweet Harvest Homestead was born from there. Now, Lindy sells her homemade soaps, jams, jellies, relishes, breads and more. She recently published From Farm to Market: Stories of Farmers & Artisans in the Carolina Piedmont which was recently listed as #1 in the Kindle green business category!
Q. What made you decide to purchase farm land and a historic home?
A. Because we are a homeschooling family, I wanted nature to be part of our classroom. I wanted our children to be able to roam free on land that belonged to them, to have secret hiding places, a creek filled with frogs and crawdads and big trees to climb on. A place where they had to use their imaginations to play(like we did as children) and learn responsibility by having animals to take care of.
When we found 12 acres with an old 1915’s farmhouse in Stanfield, I knew we had found HOME! Our little white farmhouse turned 100 this year and I was fortunate to get to know the last of the 10 children born in that little house (Mrs. Virginia Smith McGee). While I lived there, I felt a kinship with the mother who bore her babies in our front room and cooked in the same kitchen that I prepared our meals in. We have since built a newer home on the property, but a new family now lives in that wonderful old place and they keep it filled with love, light and laughter just as it should be.
Q. How was Sweet Harvest Homestead born?
A. We named our place because although we were raising vegetables and fruits, we were also raising children and to us, they were the Sweetest Harvest of all.
Q. What all do you grow on your farm?
A. On and off we grow tomatoes, watermelons, grapes, weeds, herbs, flowers, potatoes, garlic, elderberry and did I mention a lot of weeds? We eat most of what we grow (if we can get to it before the deer and turtles) and don’t sell any of it to the public.
Q. When did you start grinding your own wheat and making bread?
A. In 2001 after a good friend of mine told me about the nutritional benefits of grinding your own wheat.
Q. What is your family's favorite bread?
A. Without a doubt, cinnamon bread.
Q. What jams, jellies, and relishes do you make?
A. We use locally sourced fruits and vegetables for all of our canned goods. Vanilla Bean infused Strawberry Jam, Blueberry Jam, Muscadine, Jelly, Reliant Grape Jelly, Scuppernong Cinnamon and Noble Grape Jelly, Apple Onion Relish, Squash Relish, Apple Butter & Peach Butter.
Q. How were you drawn to making soap?
A. I was at an event at the Ramsey House in Knoxville, TN where I met a lady who was demonstrating soap making. I was intrigued by the process and the fragrances. I bought a bar and took it home to use. My skin looked and felt so good after using it that I knew I had to learn how to do this myself.
Q. What is your favorite blend?
A. Definitely the cantaloupe. It is made with goat milk and the addition of cocoa butter helps to soften the skin and gives the soap an added touch of cocoa fragrance. True cocoa butter mixed with the cantaloupe scent is absolutely intoxicating!
Q. Where can our readers find your products locally?
A. I am at the Locust Farmers Market, May thru October. You can find me at the Stanfield Craft Show November 14th and 15th, the Matthews Women Club Victorian Tea Boutique December 3,4,5 & 6th as well as the Children’s Christmas Shop at the YMCA in Albemarle December 5th from 9:30-12:30.
Q. What is a must-try item?
A. Any of the handcrafted soaps.
Q. What types of how-to videos do you make?
A. I have several that are free on my website, www.sweetharvesthomestead.com, that show how to make strawberry jam, elderberry syrup, wilted lettuce salad, and apple onion relish as well has a homemade cleaner out of essential oils and a good old fashioned southern biscuit recipe! They are listed under the How-to videos tab.
Q. Tell us about your new book.
A. I am really excited about this! It is called From Farm to Market: Stories of Farmers & Artisans in the Carolina Piedmont. I spent the summer driving a couple thousand miles and hundreds of hours conducting interviews with folks who sell at Farmers Markets in the Carolina Piedmont.
Q. How did you get the idea?
A. I have been involved with farmers markets both as a vendor and consumer since I was 18, since that time I have gotten to know some wonderful people and heard some fascinating stories of how and why they became farmers & artisans. I figured it was time that others heard their stories too, so I wrote a book. It is filled with endearing stories, beautiful photographs and a sprinkling of recipes. I hope it will become a regional keepsake!
Q. What has stuck with you the most through your travels?
A. How happy the people are who spend a lot of time outdoors with their hands in the dirt and the sun gently shining on their back.
Q. Is there anyone from Charlotte in the book?
A. Yes! Lin & Mike of Bar Chocolate in Charlotte. Of course, they are not farmers but they do sell their chocolate at the Farmers Market Uptown. Kate Suko is a weaver who lives in Charlotte and Nancy Duffie who is a basket maker. Mary Tarlton who is very popular and owns Windcrest Farms is in the book along with Dan and Meg Kypena of Middle Ground Farms. Both have a large following and live in Monroe.
Oh! The recently named “Best Chef in Charlotte” by Creative Loafing Magazine is in the book. Donnie Simmons. He grew up eating out of the garden and at the time of the interview, worked at a farm to table restaurant in Monroe. DFC Trading Company. He lives in Mint Hill.
You can get more information at:
And buy her book here! www.amazon.com