16 S G M A G A Z I N E | FA L L 2 0 1 8 From sunup to sundown, Shelia Calhoun Rice can be found working on the family farm. When asked about her job title, she laughed and said, “Whatever needs to be done, that’s my job title.” A fourth-generation farmer, Calhoun who works alongside her parents, Gerald and Joyce Calhoun, and brother Brad Calhoun, said that during the busy season an average day is between 14 to 15 hours. “We are the first here and the last to leave,” she said, “but that’s what you do when you own your own business, especially in farming.” After graduating from college with a degree in business, Rice’s plans didn’t include returning home to work on the family farm. “I really didn’t think I would go back,” she said. “I worked in banking for a while and then I was drawn back home.” With approximately 300 acres located in Turner and Crisp counties, Calhoun Produce was incorporated in 1992 when the current packing house was built. In 1996, peas were added to the farm’s crop inventory that had consisted mostly of butter beans. “Now our main crops are butter beans and u-pick strawberries,” Rice said. “We grow, shell, and pack the butter beans fresh here on the farm.” Calhoun Produce proudly displays the Georgia Grown label on its peas and butter beans that are available for purchase at the farm’s retail store in Ashburn and the Cordele Farmers Market, as well as stores throughout Georgia. “Our peas and butter beans are for the fresh market,” said Rice, who is a member of the Georgia Grown board. “They are picked, graded, shelled and packaged in one day, and they can be on your dinner plate that night.” With an ideal location off Interstate 75, Calhoun Produce is a favorite stop for travelers going to and from Florida. “We get a lot of people off the interstate. They plan their trips so they can stop and get their peas and butter beans and other produce,” Rice said. “Many of them have been doing this for years.” Sheila Calhoun Rice: Carrying on a Family Tradition