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Leap of Faith

EURE – Because of their age, there are numerous things that Michael Savage and Daniel Haggitt will have to wait to legally do until they reach their 21st birthday.

Operating a business isn’t on the waiting list.

Savage and Haggitt officially opened their produce stand – Savage Patch Farms – here Saturday morning in front of a large gathering of well-wishers. The business is located on an empty lot located adjacent to Tar Heel BBQ, near the intersection of US 13 and US 158.

But it isn’t the first time that Savage (age 20) and 18-year-old Haggitt have operated a produce stand.

At the grand opening of Savage Patch Farms, shoppers busied themselves selecting from an assortment of produce. Staff Photo by Cal Bryant

“I started doing this when I was 15, selling produce in the front yard at my granddaddy’s (Bobby Savage) home,” said Savage, referencing the area of Gates County in the vicinity of the old Doris and Rogers Restaurant. “The reason I started it was my granddaddy and his dad always grew watermelons back in the 50’s and 60’s. I remember when I was little I acted like I was helping granddaddy by rolling watermelons onto the hay in the back of a trailer. I guess that’s what started my passion to sell produce.”

He started by selling watermelons, and then it evolved to adding his homegrown sweet corn to his front yard produce stand.

“It’s just branched out from there,” Savage said. “It was more like a hobby to begin with, but here we are today at a larger produce stand with more and more items to sell.”

Haggitt, currently a senior at Gates County High School, began working with Savage two years ago.

“Now, this year, I’ve gotten more into the business and we are full partners,” Haggitt said. “We work well together and have big plans for this produce stand.”

At this early stage of the produce season, Savage Patch Farms offers items grown from warmer locales…..to include tomatoes, squash, cabbage, and cucumbers; along with locally grown strawberries. The stand also features fresh apples, along with a wide assortment of jams, marmalades, and apple butter; and apple and cherry cider.

One of the popular items on sale at the April 6 grand opening was milk, fresh from Homestead Creamery that comes in old-fashioned glass jars that can be returned for a $1 credit.

The new business also offers fresh eggs along with goat soap, homemade locally by Broken Road Farms. Hanging baskets, full of colorful flowers, are also for sale.

Savage said the move to the Tar Heel location was made for safety.

“The parking is so much better here,” he stressed. “Plus it’s next to a great barbecue restaurant. We are leasing the property from Mr. and Mrs. Hedgepeth.”

“We’ve been trying to get a produce stand to open up here for several years,” stated Ricky Hedgepeth. “We welcome Michael and Daniel as our next door business neighbors and wish them well in their business.”

For the spring, Savage Patch Farms will be open Thursdays through Mondays beginning at 9 a.m. Once the locally grown produce is ready for sale – around mid to late May and will include tomatoes, snaps, butterbeans, sweet corn and watermelons – the business will be open seven days a week with longer hours.

“We hope to go on into the fall with pumpkins and hay, and maybe into the late fall/early winter with Christmas trees and other holiday greenery,” Savage noted.

As to how the name Savage Patch evolved, Michael said it is traced to his family.

“When my aunt and my dad were growing up, everyone called them cabbage head and carrot top,” he laughed. “It seemed everybody in my family had a nickname, including my grandma who was known as cole slaw. Then when the local Highway Patrol troopers use to sit and observe traffic down my way, they called it the cabbage patch. Plus, everything you grow in the way of produce is grown in a patch. So I just put my last name in front and came up with Savage Patch.”

“We tried to come up with a new business name for our new location, but decided to stick with what we had,” Haggitt admitted. “What we have is a catchy name that everybody already knows, so why change it.”

The only change now is the location. Savage Patch Farms will continue to offer fresh produce and other items to its long list of satisfied customers.

For more information about their business, contact Savage at 252-506-5274; Haggitt at 252-287-3499; or send an email to savagepatchfarmshwy13@gmail.com.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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