Help Save a Farm
Indigo Farms’ family and community roots run deep in Brunswick County, and signing a petition could help save this local treasure.
In the far southeast corner of Brunswick County on Hickman Road, near the South Carolina border, Indigo Farms is indeed a true local treasure. Designated a Century Farm, one of the few remaining in the county, this land has been enriched by the sweat, love, tears and careful farming methods of Bellamy family members since 1766.
“Our family has been farming this land for more than six generations,” Sallie Bellamy Lun says.
In addition to feeding their family and the community, over the years the Bellamys have balanced their farming needs with local ecology and have become a community activity center and living library of local history.
Even the farm’s name attests to its role in local history. The name references nearby Indigo Branch or Run, an access waterway that runs from Waccamaw River to the Atlantic Ocean. It also references the indigo plants (used in blue dyes) grown here commercially in Colonial times. The farm still cultivates some indigo and explains indigo’s role in local history on Farm Heritage Days.
Over the past 30 years, surrounding farms have transformed into housing developments and golf courses, a phenomenon common all over Brunswick County. Indigo Farms has adapted by not only in expanding its crop offerings to serve these neighbors, but also by expanding its role in explaining local history to the new neighbors.
Blueberry and strawberry picking, a pumpkin patch and other harvest activities have provided many a family with a connection to the land as well as filling the family larder with fresh, wholesome food. Generations of Brunswick and Horry county school children have traipsed Indigo’s fields to learn the true context of farm to fork, marveling over half-ton sows and laughing at the antics of chickens and geese racing about at the pond near the blueberry bushes.
Sam Bellamy notes that Indigo’s Farm Heritage Days contain a strong component of local history. “Visitors learn Brunswick County history from exhibitors and enjoy watching demonstrations of old-fashioned methods of farming, cooking, etc.,” he says.
Chef Joseph Bonaparte, executive director of the International Culinary Institute at Myrtle Beach, says Indigo Farms is an important part of his education process too. He takes students out to the farm to meet the Bellamy family and walk the farm with them to see the active connection between farming and what they use in the kitchen.
“Indigo is one of the farms we have invited to be a part of our weekly farm market too,” Bonaparte says. “They are a certified organic producer and offer knowledge about the products as well as wonderful items for our students and local residents to purchase each Thursday from 1 to 6 pm.”
Unfortunately, one of the nine proposals to extend Carolina Bays Parkway to make Highway 57 (Hickman Road) into a limited access, four- and six-lane highway, threatens the farm, local wetlands and the Bellamy family’s way of life.
Although there are other options, several of which destroy very few homes and wetlands between Myrtle Beach and Shallotte, one would turn wetlands, the fields, the family’s homes and the Hickman Road market building into asphalt. Lun, her parents, Sam and Sarah Bellamy, and her grandparents would be without homes, but worst of all according to Lun is the loss of a way of life and the farm’s role in local ecology.
“It’s the soil,” Lun says. “We can move our homes, but you can’t pick up the soil and move it.”
Balancing the need for more infrastructure against livelihoods and lifestyles is always difficult. However, in this case, there are eight other choices of paths for the wider, limited-access road and its network of interchanges that do not threaten farms, livelihoods or homes.