The Real McClellans, a free-range farming family

by Alex Constantinou
Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Staff photo by Benton Sampson

Jody McClellan and family take a break from selling their harvest at the Wrightsville Beach Farmers’ Market on Monday, July 1, 2013. 

Jodi and Delbert McClellan have been running McClellan Farms in Delco, N.C., for the last three years. Farming a variety of produce, as well as free-range eggs, McClellan Farms has been a staple at the Wrightsville Beach Farmers’ Market since its first harvest. 

Jodi McClellan calls her farm a “family farm.” Her five sons, Landon, 19; Jacob, 16; Seth, 13; Max, 11; and Graham, 5; are all actively involved in the family business. Not only do they work together, the boys also learn together. McClellan has home-schooled her sons since they were old enough to start school. Placing strong emphasis on the importance of family, McClellan believes “if we don’t teach our kids at home, the world will teach them for us.” 

“Organically grown kids, I like to say,” she said as she straightened rows of tomatoes. 

Delbert McClellan, Jodi’s husband, comes from a North Carolina farming background. His grandparents owned a chicken farm that was the main producer of the state’s chicken in the 1950s. Great uncle Eugene McClellan, 81, remembers peddling eggs in downtown Wilmington when gas was 19 cents per gallon. Originally, McClellan Farms started raising free-range chickens with the sole intention of selling free-range eggs. Raising chickens free-range, meaning the animals are not kept in cages and are free to move around, is no easy feat. McClellan says it is “... very difficult to sell, mostly because of predators ... which sometimes includes the neighbor’s dog.”  

Over time, the McClellans also began growing various types of produce, all organically, using only manure and compost as fertilizers. The McClellan boys are in charge of growing and tending to the vegetables grown on the farm.

Concerning the Wrightsville Beach Farmers’ Market, currently the only farmers’ market where McClellan Farms products are sold, Jodi McClellan said she loves the market. She said she receives a lot of support from visitors to her booth, namely those on vacation in Wrightsville Beach who want wholesome foods. She has also found that visitors to the farmers’ market seem to enjoy the family nature of her booth, where there is bound to be at least one of her sons helping run the family business. 

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