Our place Redbay Farm is not in Red Bay, Alabama. It’s not in California. It’s not in Ireland. We don’t own horses. Our place is in Swansboro, North Carolina. So why the name Redbay?
Our forest is called Redbay Farm is named after the Redbay tree, Persea borbonia. We have a nice specimen in the back yard of La Casita that is currently flowering…the Redbay is an important honey tree. The tree is also an important food source for deer and turkeys.
According to Wikpedia the Redbay is slowly dying out…” due to an invasion of redbay ambrosia beetle in the Southern United States the tree is slowly dying out. The beetle was discovered in 2002 near Savannah, Georgia and it carries a laurel wilt fungal disease that is responsible for killing Redbays. However, foresters agree the species will likely not go extinct in the southeastern U.S. since it appears to rejuvenate to some degree on its own. Additionally, there appears to be an invitro programs that have been successful in one study area in Georgia”
I picked the name Redbay for my tree farm because I love the smell of the leaves and wood. Mostly I chose the name because the die out is emblematic of the similar fate of small forest and farms. Small forests like mine comprise about half of privately owned forests. These forests are slowly being fragmented, developed and are repeatedly cut over. In fact La Casita is built part of the 78 acre forest that was for sale back in the 1980’s. At that time we were only able to afford to buy 28 acres of the forest. Subsequently we were fortunate to be able to purchase an adjoining 10 acres in 1990 and then another separate 7 acre parcel in the mid 90’s.
La Casita was originally going to be our temporary home while we built ‘the home of our dreams’ on Redbay Farm or on Lone Cypress (our little 7 acre creek front lot currently for sale since we have no intention of ever building on it…contact our realtor Mary Rawls if interested). However, suburban convenience and our purchase of next door Redbay Cottage in late 2012 scuttled those plans. We became somewhat accidental vacation home owners and now I am a vacation home manager.
Since we purchased the forest in 1987 my goal has been to preserve our forest and demonstrate that such forests can be economically sustainable. We cut the forest in 1994. Today our forest is over 20 years old and we have no intention of cutting it again in the near future. Why? That question leads to La Casita.
La Casita has become the mechanism I was looking for to provide regular income that is needed to sustain private forest land. Redbay Farm and La Casita are in a symbiotic relationship. Redbay Farm absorbs about 270 tons of CO₂ per year offsetting all of our and our guests carbon footprints. Even if we sell the 7 acre Lone Cypress parcel we’ll still be able to offer our guests a carbon neutral trip. We are fortunate that La Casita provides the revenue to pay the taxes, insurance and maintenance costs for itself as well as the overhead for all of of the parcels of property that comprise Redbay Farm. As long as La Casita is making a profit the roar of the chipping mill, chainsaws and logging equipment won’t be disturbing our neighbors. Although I understand the economics, It is so sad to see a forest be clear cut so that wood pellets can be sent to the stoves and ovens of Europe.
So, on a very circuitous route we have established La Casita which is the only vacation home I am aware of in Swansboro where you can spend a carbon neutral vacation thanks to a little tree farm that is named after the Redbay tree. When you stay with us you are demonstrating your devotion to the value of privately owned forests and a commitment to maintaining environmental quality. Those perks are on top of just getting to stay in a unique little ‘near sea’ vacation house where you can watch wildlife, feed our goats see the fat hens waddling about the pasture and fall asleep as you listen to the frogs sing you a lullaby…all after a day at the beach or on the water which is only minutes from the house.
We hope to see you soon at La Castita…part of Redbay Farm (a humble little tree farm named after a humble little tree).
By the way. If you are interested in purchasing dried leaves of the Persea Borbonia (Redbay Tree) for culinary purposes please let me know. Its a cinch to dry a batch in my dehydrator. The price is $4.00 an ounce plus shipping and handling. The leaves will be personally selected by me on my tree farm…Redbay Farm.