(George T. Hoffman and children- 1967)
A few short years ago, I found myself where many Americans find themselves daily. I sat at my desk and devoted myself to my work and studies yet always found distractions and second guesses in my thoughts. I was part of society, I was part of the system, I was exactly where my 13 years of post high school education had told me I should be. Day in and day out as well as most nights and weekend, I designed and conducted experiments that lead to important scientific discoveries about human melanoma. It was gratifying work for sure, however, like most of us in the corporate world, I was frustrated by the shady politics that accompany a faltering economy. I wanted out. In September, 2011 the out came by the way of a massive wildfire that consumed 1700 homes in Texas, including my own. Ironically, amongst the ashes of our home were both of my work computers and the two back-up external hard drives containing thousands of hours of unpublished data and the bulk of my scientific career. As I found myself contemplating the next step in life, my mother offered up a suggestion.. “Come home.” Come home to the family homestead 1600 miles away in Lincolnton, NC and start over with a clean slate. So that is exactly what I did. Upon my arrival in October, 2011 I was surprised at the dilapidated condition of many of the buildings and most of the farm equipment and tractors. My aging mother had maintained the homestead by herself since the passing of my pawpaw in 1998 but clearly the deterioration of the farm was outpacing her ability to repair it. With her other two sons wrapped up in their own careers, it became clear to me that there was going to be a gap in the succession of this family homestead that was settled more than 150 years ago. In the United States, this is the case for thousands of family farms every year as large corporate highly subsidized farming operations starve out small family farms in the marketplace. As a child, I spent many summers on the farm and fondly remember working and playing with my grandparents. I wanted to ensure that the family farm survived so that my children would also be given the same opportunity to have those memories and thus began the establishment of Hoffman Heritage & Heirlooms.