“My dad’s family were farmers who migrated to Elberta from upstate New York because they thought the area would be better for my great grandmother’s allergies. They were dirt poor and started farming grass by going with what worked that year. Grass started outperforming anything else. They gave all of their attention to that and became the largest turf farmers in the nation. They went from having no shoes to having a jet in the back yard and an office on a top floor in Palm Beach. In a meeting there with his six brothers and two sisters, dad asked everyone where was the fun. Is it on top? They said no, it was the climb, the journey. That is the day my dad pulled out of the company and said, ‘My kids aren’t going to start here. They are going to start back there.’ That changed the course of our lives. We had food on the table, but I had to work for everything else I wanted.
My dad owned multiple companies when I was coming out of high school in 2008. That economic downfall was hard for an entrepreneur. He kept telling me to join the companies, but I didn’t see a place for myself. All I saw was my dad not sleeping. It is bad enough with one company when the economy goes down, but he had 13 and they are all screaming. I loved business, but I didn’t want that. I wanted to get something that no one could take away from me and would not be a gamble. I went to Alabama, got married and had a baby before I was 20. I loved health and wellness and became a physician’s assistant. I specialized in internal medicine because that was the hardest. I am always striving and can’t settle in any stage of my life.
I worked at Mobile Infirmary for three years in downtown and loved it. I am at Thomas Hospital now working one week on and one week off. During the off week, I have returned to business. My parents are 65 and asked me about my interest in running their golf course, The Preserve. I have been there from the start, laying sod with my 15 cousins and driving lawnmowers in the early morning there long before I drove a car. Adding my flair there seems like a natural thing to do. If the bridge is built we are the closest golf course to Orange Beach and we become a destination. We are on 200 acres and a beautiful hidden gem, but we don’t want to be hidden. We added The Veranda at the Preserve for weddings and events.
We are also opening a satellite winery and working with a man who has made muscadine wine since the beginning of Elberta. I grew up picking muscadines and eating them until I was sick. One of the grapes is Southern Fox. Mowing the fairways, I saw fox run all of the time so Southern Fox is going to be our house wine. It is also the name of our new music festival, Southern Fox Fest on March 23. It is at the emergence of Spring on the days you want to be outside because your spirit feels the seasons change. Our fall music festival is last week in November. The two festivals will be two different vibes and music. Spring will be young and hippy and spring break and fall will be a rock and roll, country, chili throw down. We put Harvest Festival, our first music festival last year, together in 16 days with local music from Mobile to Pensacola. It was a crash course in working with band members. Calling about cars breaking down and getting pulled over.
We are also working on a self-love summit and a soul camp for women on May 4. I envision yoga at sunrise on the greens, juicing, meditation, and speakers about empowerment and collaboration. I have been listening to what people want. When people light up, I run towards it. I want to give them what they want and fill in what is missing. If you don’t see what you want to do with your life, that is okay. Create it. That is what I am trying to do with my life. Whatever is deep down and calling you, that is for you. It is okay if other people don’t understand it. My roots have always been family, Elberta, and standing on the platform of God. I am where I am today because my family prayed over the generations. I want to pass that down.”