AGL Session 2 kicked off with a non-traditional river boat tour from Bull River Cruises. We learned about the various factors that affect river health and those that make their living on the water. We were able to see shrimping boats as well as some prominent yacht clubs and repair stations.
We toured the Georgia Ports Authority and learned about the importance of Georgia’s ports in Savannah and Brunswick to agriculture in Georgia. The deepening of the port in Savannah is expected to greatly increase exports, which is a great competitive advantage for the State.
We also visited the First African Baptist Church in Savannah. It is the first African American Baptist Church in North America and it was founded by slaves. We learned a great deal of history. It was even a stop on the Underground Railroad.
We visited East Coast Terminal, which is an independent shipper of primarily wood chips and wood pellets. Turkey is their main receiver of these Georgia Goods.
I am reminded all the time that growth begins where our comfort zone ends. I tried my very first oyster at Bernie’s on River Street. It wasn’t offensive, probably because it was drenched in horseradish and cocktail sauce, but I probably won’t be ordering any more. Check one item off my bucket list that I didn’t even know existed!
Meanwhile, back at home Wyatt was having a blast with Justin. He stayed at his Grandma and Pa’s house and got to play in the sink for bath time.
We visited the Vidalia Onion Museum where classmate Kevin Cronic tried out the kids’ onion sorter simulator.
We visited several onion packing houses and learned about cooling, packing, and warehousing onions before final shipment. Because it is not Vidalia onion season, most packing houses import Peruvian sweet onions—never labeled as Vidalias, of course—to create a steady supply of sweet onions for grocers and food processors. These are at Herndon Farms.
There are a lot of gaps here, mostly because I didn’t take as many pictures and I usually do. We learned about Ogeechee River Keepers, the Herty Advanced Materials Development Center, coastal fisheries from Georgia Department of Natural Resources Coastal Resources Division, coastal hazards preparation from Tybee Island local officials, challenges facing the Georgia wild shrimping industry at Lazaretta Packing, visited Briggs and Stratton in Statesboro and met with development authority officials, visited local schools to learn about educational challenges, visited Safe Haven—a domestic violence shelter, and several other Vidalia onion operations including Stanley Farms (including a wonderful dinner and fellowship at the Stanley family lodge), Vidalia Valley, and Bland Farms.
It was truly a great information-packed week. I can’t wait for Session 3 in the Macon/Atlanta areas!