Meet Drew Echols! Drew is a fifth generation farmer at his family's farm: Jaemor Farms in northern Hall County. Drew and wife Shelly have two children; a daughter, Chloe (16), and a son, Cohen (11).
Drew says his official title at Jaemor is general manager but you can catch him planting crops one day, working in the market another day or even working the gate at the sunflower patch in the summer.
The Echols family at Jaemor have been harvesting crops for 107 years, according to their website.
"The family began farming cotton and a few peach trees in 1912. After a few years of growing this 'king' row crop, they switched their focus to those few peach trees and began selling peaches on the side of Old Cornelia Highway, a road that runs parallel with what is I-985/Highway 365 today... The rest is history," the website said.
Jimmy Echols, who purchased the farm from his parents in the early 1960s, kept the original peach shed on the property that faces Old Cornelia Highway. The farm today is 600 acres and many family members work at the farm throughout the year and seasonally.
We want to thank Drew for recently spending time with us and telling us more about his life and love of Hall County.
Question: Does Jaemor have anything set up for the Holiday season?
Answer: “We’re just kinda wrapping up from Halloween and just cleaning up all the crops we’ve had all summer long. On the retail side of things, we’re doing a ton of gift boxes and fruit boxes. A lot of people now are doing the gift baskets and filling them up with the jams and jellies and that kind of stuff. You can actually order these online now, which is pretty cool. We ship out of our store and take the orders where you can pick it up or get it shipped from our Commerce store. So it’s a really busy time of the year, but also it’s very fun and gets me into the holiday season.”
Q: What is your title at Jaemor?
A: “They call me the general manager, I don’t know what that means. I do a mixture of things from dressing up and go talk to a big group or that means be the janitor. Whichever one they need me to be, I’ll do.”
Q: How big is the farm?
A: “A little over 600 acres. To break it down it's about 400 acres of production with fruits and vegetables. So a lot of hands-on work goes on there, all of it is handpicked and hand planted.”
Q: What is your favorite part of Hall County?
A: “It’s hard to say favorite because I have two favorites, the people. These people are unlike anywhere I’ve ever seen, they are so giving and just open up their resources to help out one another. This is also one of the most beautiful parts of the world and I’ve traveled a lot and I really mean that I’m always excited to be in Gainesville. I think sometimes we take that for granted because you just see it every day. Talk to anyone that's not around here and they will say the same thing when they visit.”
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Hall County, and what do you love there?
A: “Really any Mexican restaurant in Hall County I’m a fan of. Also, I like the Atlanta Highway Seafood Market and Poor Richards. So we have a lot of diversity and that’s also something I like about Hall County.”
Q: What was the first movie you remember seeing in the theatre?
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: “I want a clothing line, I’m a farmer that likes clothes and I don’t know why. At some point in my life, I want to have a little clothing line. Maybe so good working clothes, good comfortable button-up shirts are hard to find or forgotten. Need to be able to move around in them and you won’t sweat you to death, but also can keep you warm.”
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?
A: “I want to go the Northwestern states to see some of that fruit production that’s going up there. My wife hates it, but when we go traveling we always go see the farms.”
Q: If you could go to lunch with anyone alive or dead who would it be?
A: “My Great Grandad, he passed away unfortunately and his name was George Echols. I used to hang out with him a lot when I was a kid and I wasn't old to talk business with him so I’d like to do that now.”
Q: What is your favorite music/ three bands you would like to see dead or alive?
A: “I like all kinds of music, I like rap music, I like country music, I like rock music. I really like Mumford and Sons and Imagine Dragons also I want to go see a concert at Red Rocks, that would be on my bucket list to see a concert there.”
Q: What three words mean HOME to you?
A: “Family, farming, faith.”