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Blooms of Wisdom

Mrs. Ernestine Young stands elegantly near a rose bush as she gazes into the camera, recalling the love story that brought her back to Mississippi. Moments afterwards, her extended family will begin arriving at their 20 acre farm for their annual family reunion on a warm June day.

Text adapted from Jarquita Brown’s article as seen in the Daily Yonder: “Young Family Farm: Built on 20 Acres of Land and 55 Years of Marriage”

Ernestine and Dorfus are from Tallahatchie County, Mississippi, one county to the east. They met as teenagers and married in 1964 – 55 years ago.

Soon after exchanging vows, they moved to St. Louis, Missouri. After four years there, they moved to Minnesota, eventually winding up in Apple Valley, east of Minneapolis, where they lived for 21 years before returning to Mississippi.

“This was a cotton field when we bought this property,” said Dorfus. “After we purchased it, we let it lay here for about 17 years.” They moved onto the property in 2000.

Ms. Ernestine was already an experienced gardener when the couple moved to their farm. She grew up tending a garden, and she also grew fruits and vegetables while living in St. Louis and Apple Valley.
“It’s a process,” she said.

Ms. Ernestine now raises beets, cabbage, onions, rutabagas, spinach, and turnips. She has a tunnel house to extend the growing season.

In the orchard, she has apple, peach, plum, redbud, and other trees, along with blackberry, blueberry, elderberry, and mulberry bushes.

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