When Thom Shockley was boy, he and his brother Ted would work on Mable and William’s (Thom’s grandparents) farm on Seaside Road. Mable and William had a small vegetable stand based on the honor system—they put out the produce, folks would take what they needed and leave money in a small can. In the summers, Thom and his brother would work in the fields, gathering the vegetables and stocking the stand. It was these summer days that planted the seed of farming in Thom Shockley’s heart.
For the last twenty years, Thom has been farming, and in that time, has created one of Northampton County’s most vibrant farms, as visually appealing as it is productive. This journey has not been undertaken alone. Thom and his wife Pattie met just when he was beginning to farm, and they have been operating this farm ever since. As Pattie told me, this operation has been built on a lot of hard work, and buckets of sweat, but “We love it, and would never ever change it.”
Shockley Farms is truly a family affair, as their daughter Allison is the number one farm hand, “We love the idea of Allison growing up on a farm and knowing the value of hard work and working together as a family. She enjoys
picking sweet corn and harvesting pumpkins! It’s also nice to know where your food comes from and that it’s always fresh,” Pattie told me.
Working this kind of farm is not just about planting seeds, but for the Shockley’s, is part of an artistic life. The connection to the soil, water and earth that comes from long hours of work provides nourishment for other passions—Pattie is a great painter, and Allison is a wonderful dancer and actress here at Arts Enter. I have worked with Allison on several shows at the Palace Theater, and nobody has as much talent, yet works as hard as she does. Miss Amy (Watkins) and I consider her our Prima Ballerina, as each season, her Pointe gets stronger and stronger.
Shockley Farms currently has fresh sweet corn, red skin potatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, watermelon, and cucumbers. The sweet corn is picked fresh every day and they are hoping to have it through August. Cantaloupes are still growing in the field but should be ready very soon. Like Mable and William, the vegetable stand is self-serve and still run by the honor system. Customers like me still love
the idea of being able to pick out our own veggies, and then put our money in a silver lock box with a hole cut in the top. According to Pattie, “This system has worked well for us, and I keep the stand stocked by coming out every 30 to 40 minutes to bring out fresh produce.”
Shockley Farms is open seven days a week, and is located at 23184 Seaside Road right here in Cape Charles.