To celebrate the upcoming Mother’s Day, we decided to do something a bit different, so we chatted with the mother of Farmer Lee, Bob Jr., and their sister, Terri—and the mother of Culinary Vegetable Institute Chef Jamie Simpson. Plus, we’ll also share info about a special Mother’s Day gift box that will allow you to create 2021 memories to remember.
“The year,” she recalls, “was 1969. It was getting close to Mother’s Day and there was a lot of giggling and clinking of change but, when I came into the room, it got strangely quiet! Lee, Bobby, and Terri were clearly up to something—and Dad’s change bowl looked strangely less than I remembered.
A couple of days later, the kids were playing in the front yard, but I didn’t see Lee, so I asked Bobby and Terri where he was. They sheepishly evaded the question, but both looked down the road—and there was Lee with a four-foot-tall dogwood tree, balled in burlap and plunked into the basket of his bike. He was peeking around the branches and grinning broadly! What a sight! He had sneaked away and gone to The Gebelle Nursery just down the road to buy the tree. Proudly, they presented it and yelled “Happy Mother’s Day!”
We made a ceremony of planting it on the south side of the house where we lived on River Road. When we moved to the Scheid Road farm, we decided to move the tree but first called Barnes Nursery. They strongly advised against a move, fearing it would kill the tree. It is still standing today at its original site.
This picture was taken by Mr. Bob one spring evening back in 2017. A trek out to see how the Mother’s Day tree is doing has become an annual event for me. Thanks, Lee, Terri, and Bobby!
Jamie always enjoyed helping out in the kitchen, ever since he could walk. When he was visiting his grandmother in Charlotte, North Carolina, he would stand on a stool so that he could reach high enough to crack eggs or to knead cookie or biscuit dough.
When a special occasion was coming up—such as Mother’s Day—he and his best friend Tony would present me with a menu they’d created, and I could choose what I wanted Jamie to make for me. The menu might include a Pop Tart, French toast, and sausage gravy over biscuits. These menus and breakfasts were always special to me because he and Tony would handle this all by themselves and I never needed to lift a finger.
Although I’ve always loved to cook, my meals were semi-homemade so it’s amazing to see the direction that Jamie has taken. Even as a young boy, he was always very artistic and would win awards for his art throughout school. I didn’t necessarily expect him to focus on creating art on a plate—but I’m sure glad that he did.
Jamie has always had an adventurous palate. When he was just five years old, I took Jamie and his sister to their uncle’s wedding in Florida. We went out to dinner afterwards at a highly recommended seafood shack. Jamie looked at the menu and then selected alligator tail—which made me realize how this kid was not typical!
When he was 16 years old, he began working for Sticky Fingers BBQ and, on day one, he had to slice 50 pounds of onions. That didn’t deter him from going back—and, as his mother, I’ll say this: that takes true grit.
Mother’s Day Gift Box
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about these memories from Barb Jones and Dana Simpson as much as we did while writing about them! If you’re looking for a Mother’s Day gift to remember, we invite you to look at what Jamie and Lee have put together, a box including viola marmalade, black hibiscus tea, edible flower shortbread cookie dry mix, lotion scented with farm herbs and flowers, and more.
Enjoy! Happy Mother’s Day from all of us to all of you.