Sardis Farm Swap Flourishes

Published 10:02 pm Friday, June 7, 2024

By Haley Mitchell Godwin

Nestled amidst the rolling hills and pastoral landscapes of Sardis, a new tradition is taking root, bringing together neighbors, farmers and artisans alike in a celebration of rural life and commerce. The Sardis Farm Swap, born from a simple conversation among friends Paige and Hannah McVay and Brendon and Jessica Missildine, has blossomed into a vibrant monthly event, drawing visitors from near and far to partake in its offerings and rustic charm.

“We were just talking about the farm swaps we had been to and how far we had to drive,” said Hannah McVay who owns McVay Farms with her husband Paige. “And then we thought well, hey, why can’t we do a farm swap? We needed something local and it kind of just took off.”

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Paige and Hannah McVay embarked on their small-scale poultry venture about two years ago. Their hatchery offers several breeds of chickens including Easter Eggers, Silkies and banty Cochins, Columbian Brahma’s, Sapphire Gem, Columbian Wyandotte, Americana’s,Silver Laced Wyandotte, Gold Laced Wyandotte, Buff Orpington, Jubilee Orpingtons and Salmon Faverolle. The McVays have also recently ventured into bee farming.

Seeking camaraderie and market opportunities at farm swaps, the McVays began visiting various sales. Yet, the distance proved prohibitive, prompting them to consider a more local solution.

“It was one of those lightbulb moments,” recalls Hannah McVay. “We realized there was a need for something local, a gathering place for folks to buy, sell, and trade farm goods and handmade treasures.”

Brendan and Jessica Missildine, proprietors of Sardis Lumber Company, have expertise in woodworking which dovetailed perfectly with the McVays’ vision. With Brendan crafting in-demand chicken coops and other items like deer and cow feeders, shooting stands, greenhouses, planter boxes, porch swings and bed swings, picnic tables and more, the quartet saw an opportunity to cultivate something special for the community and beyond.”

According to Brendon they wanted to create a space where people could connect, share and support one another and the farm swap felt like a natural extension of that ethos.

“We started the farm swapt to support all the small farms and businesses in the county,” Missildine said. “It’s a place you can come to get a handmade quilt, locally grown produce, a front porch swing, handmade candles and more. The farm swap is a great place for people looking to start their own small farms and to get there first chickens or goats. it is very nice to see everyone in the community and all the kids playing and enjoying the animals.”

The inaugural Sardis Farm Swap took place in March of this year, and since then, it has flourished with each passing month. From 8 a.m. until noon on the second Saturday of every month, vendors and visitors converge on the Sardis Lumber Company grounds, transforming the space into a bustling marketplace of rural delights. Deanna L. Schulz, proprietor of Dirt Poor Farm in nearby Goshen, attests to its allure.

“There is always so much good energy in the air,” Schulz said. “It’s a gathering of kindred spirits and I enjoy hearing laughter when I step out of my truck. There are lots of small town people like me trying to bring back a little of the past with family farms and trading with neighbors. There is an amazing community feel and I love to buy local from the little mom and pop farms selling their items that they have worked so hard to produce. They inspire me to continue my journey with farming.”

For Paige and Hannah McVay, the journey has only just begun.

“We want this to be a neighborly and continuously growing event that gives people in the area an option when it comes to selling their wares and buying farm items and other unique things,” Hannah said. “We are so happy that the word is getting out and we can’t wait to see the farm swap continue to grow and we welcome everyone to come and sell or trade or to shop.”

Some of the items for sale so far have included farm animals, homemade quilts, puppies,candles, sublimation shirts and cups, baked goods, eggs, honey, fruits and vegetables, apple butter, craft items and more. Anyone interested in being a vendor can simply show up and begin setting up as early as 7 am. Vendors are charged $5.00 each. Animals MUST be caged or leashed and have access to water.