Our Story: A History of Thompson Farm and Nursery
Thompson Farm and Nursery is a celebration of our past with a focus on our future. We will instill an appreciation of the agriculture experience through hands-on activities and educational instruction. We will offer an understanding of the importance of farming: past, present, and future.
Farm of the Year! Family
2011 South Carolina Farm of the Year — winner in the Small Farm competition. Thanks to all of you who support Thompson Farm and believe in what we do to educate others about the importance of farms in our lives.
In early 1845, Julious and Amanda Thompson began their life at Thompson Farm in Bucksville, SC. Together they had 15 children – 12 boys and three girls. Many of the children lived the majority of their lives on or near the family farm.
During this time, there were no major roads for transportation. The family traveled by wagon or along the local rivers of the Independent Republic of Horry.
Most farms and plantations were able to produce most of the things they needed for survival, including tools and food for the family. Thompson Farm thrived due to the variety of items they were able to produce. Julious was able to trade and barter for any necessities they could not grow or make. The items made and produced on the farm included all food staples used by the family, tobacco, potatoes, cotton, livestock, cypress shingles, cured meat, brick, and tar.
Julious and Amanda’s son, Fred, eventually inherited the home. Fred was born in 1895. He had three children with his first wife, Ina. After her death, Fred married his second wife, Edna, in 1925. They also had three children: Sidney, Etah, and Charles.
Fred and Edna continued to operate the farm until their deaths. At that time, Thompson Farm was inherited by three of Fred’s children: Fred Jr., Sidney, and Charles.
Currently, a part of the original farm is owned by the family of Fred Jr., with the balance owned by Sidney Thompson and his family. Sidney’s family includes three children: Rick, Scott, and Kristi. His wife, Norma, died early in 2011.
The house was originally constructed in early 1825 by Cornelius Sarvis, a South Carolina legislator. At that time, the one-story house consisted of one bedroom, a kitchen, and a modest breakfast area. The second story containing three additional bedrooms was not added until the mid-1850s. This portion was built using lumber from the Trinity Methodist Church in Port Harrelson. In the main house, electricity was added in 1938, followed by running water and a bathroom in 1941.
The original barn, built in 1910, is still located on the property. The barn is the oldest in Horry County, and it was the largest in the county when it was constructed.
Sidney and his family continue to use the house as a second home and as a place to hold large family gatherings throughout the year to honor the history of the Thompson homeplace.
Thompson Farm and Nursery: Where Traditions Continue to Grow
Based on the successful operation of the greenhouses and the changing economic outlook, Thompson Farm looked back to the principles the farm had always held. Using those principles, in 2009 Thompson Farm and Nursery opened to the general public by adding farm tours for groups and other marketing events. Tour groups include public schools in the area. Students visit Daisy’s Planting Shed where we offer classes that meet South Carolina educational standards and teach students about planting, insects, and life cycles of farm animals.
Thompson Farm and Nursery is currently operated by a fourth generation on over 200 acres. The crops include tomatoes, bell peppers, strawberries, onions, corn, oats, and potatoes. The greenhouses continue to supply a wide variety of plant material to local homeowners’ associations as well as other nurseries in the area. A third greenhouse was added in 2008 for the purpose of growing produce hydroponically. By offering such a diverse selection of products, the farm is able to remain profitable and offer a unique experience to children and adults.
Throughout its history, Thompson Farm has adapted to keep up with technology and the changing demands of the consumer. During economic uncertainty, to which farming is not invulnerable, the family has diversified to include public education and followed the ideology of the importance of locally grown vegetables and other plants.