Samson’s Farm going strong in the hills of Hoover’s Valley

DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR

KINGSLAND — Bobby Galyon knows how to grow great vegetables. And, he says, it all starts with the soil.

“If the soil’s not healthy, then your vegetables won’t be healthy,” Galyon said outside Kingland Massage Depot, where he sells his produce 3:30-5 p.m. Wednesdays. Galyon smiled, but he doesn’t quite have the “farmer” look. Yet, that’s exactly what he is, though he admitted he’s rather new to it.

Galyon and his wife, Sandra, began thinking about growing produce for the market about a year ago when they were gardening on their Kingsland plot outside their home. Bobby, a former soldier and a minister, realized they had something special growing in their garden. At first, the couple thought they would simply sell some of the excess produce at local farmers’ markets, but, soon, people began asking for more. And they began selling vegetables they meant to can for themselves.

“We really didn’t have enough room to grow much more,” Bobby said. But friends of the family reached out and offered a little extra space in Hoover’s Valley. They accepted. And soon, the landowner adjacent to that piece offered to lease them a little more space.

Now, Samson’s Farm sprawls over (well, maybe not quite “sprawls”) two nice-sized plots.

“It’s a lot of work,” Bobby said. “Farming is a lot of work. It’s a lot like the ministry. If you’re not called to the ministry, you’re not going to last. If you don’t love farming, you’re not going to last.”

Radishes from Samson's Farm.
Radishes from Samson’s Farm.

The name Samson comes from the middle name of their young son, Asher. But friend Amy Lescoe-Hall, who owns the Kingsland Massage Depot, pointed out it also has a biblical reference. Then she added that Bobby is also a bodybuilder, so there’s even more connection with the name.

Whatever the name, Bobby knows the only way to meek out a living on the land is by growing the best vegetables he can and getting them in the hands of buyers as soon as possible after harvesting them. He and Sandra grow their produce with organic methods, always remembering the health of the soil is a key ingredient.

“We focus on sustainability,” Bobby said.

On Tuesday, the day before the Wednesday market in Kingsland, Bobby hits the fields. He begins harvesting vegetables in the morning before rushing them back to his Kingsland home for washing and cooling. For the Burnet Farmers’ Market on Saturday, he starts harvesting Thursday because he knows he’ll need more produce.

The Galyons know fresh is best when it comes to vegetables. Unlike most grocery store produce, which could spend time in a warehouse and days in a truck before arriving at the final destination, the Galyons get their vegetables to market within a few days.

But, Bobby pointed out, his produce is generally a bit more expensive than that found in stores.

“It costs about the same as the organics you find in the store,” he added.

The difference, however, is the taste.

Bobby knows once a person takes a bite of fresh, organically grown, locally produced vegetables, they’ll understand.

He’ll even entice them a bit by giving a sample.

“I know when they get it home and try it, they’ll come back,” he said. “They do. And they all say, ‘That taste so much better than what I get in the store.'”

Bobby even offers advice on preserving and preparing vegetables. And if you know you want something, but you’re not sure you can make it early to the markets, call him, and he will try to set some aside for you.

To know where he’s going to be and what he’s bringing, people can check the Sansom’s Farm, LLC Facebook page. He updates it regularly.

“We focus on fresh, and we focus on quality,” Bobby said. “That’s what we want. That’s what people want.”

daniel@thepicayune.com