From Fortune 500 to the Farm: "It's Just Something that Calls to Me"

You may think of farm living as a much slower, easier way of life. But ask Andy and Phyllis Thompson of Swamp Fox Farms in Holly Ridge, and you'll find their life is anything but easy. As TWILA's Tammi Arender shows us, they wouldn't trade it for anything.

By Tammi Arender, This Week in Louisiana Agriculture

It’s easy to think of farm living as a much slower, easy way of life.

For Andy and Phyllis Thompson of Swamp Fox Farms in Holly Ridge, there’s a certain truth to that.  Althouth their life is anything but easy, they wouldn't trade it for anything.  Andy Thompson's alarm clock now is a crowing rooster and a reminder of the life he’s left behind.

“I was a healthcare consultant,” Andy said.  “CEO of a hospital.  A Fortune 500 company.”

Instead of managing employees, he's managing goats, ducks and, of course, Diablo the rooster.

“I wanted to create something that would be here after I'm gone,” he said.

Creating the life is something he and his wife Phyllis do together.  Phyllis is still a Spanish teacher, but now can add ferrier to her resume.

“We’re trying to get back to the natural things to move away from technology,” Phyllis said. 

Although the goats at Swamp Fox Farms aren't dairy goats, she and her daughter Sarah and her grandson, Adron, are already preparing for the day when they do have their own fresh goat's milk by making their own scented soaps. Today is honey and grapefruit.

“I don't want to say it's a calling but it's just something that calls to me,” she said.  “I want to be close to the land to these animals.”

“Was this my dream when I was a kid?” Andy mused.  “No, I was going to be governor.”

Andy no longer dreams of running for office and a a new dream was hatched. One where Andy and Phyllis can grow.

He and Phyllis allow the laws of nature to dictate their day-to-day activities. From bottle feeding baby goat Sophie, to growing watermelons and okra, there’s a lot to do.  There's an incubator for more ducks because duck eggs are a delicacy, which they provide to several Monroe-area restaurants.

They also have about 30,000 bees for the honey they’re thinking about combining with the dairy products.  The newest venture is a mayhaw orchard. It’s a lot, but the Thompsons knew running a farm would be hard work and long hours, but the reward, they said, is better than any corporate salary.

“My worst day here is better than my best day any job I've ever had,” Andy said.

Swamp Fox Farm’s products can be found at the farmers market on Tower Drive in Monroe on Saturdays from 9-1, and they are on Facebook.