Alice West instilled work ethics in her family, who continue to follow her lead today
GROVE, OKLA. – Many of Alice West’s hundreds of descendants are carrying her strong work ethic into all lines of work.
“Granny (Alice West) always grew a great garden and she passed that on to my dad,” said Jeremy West, one of the hundreds of grandchildren.
Alice West’s work ethic was legendary in Delaware County, Okla. Between planting mammoth-size gardens and canning produce, she raised a brood of 13 children in the Whitewater area.
Jeremy is a fourth-generation Delaware County resident.
He is son of Kelly and Darlene West and the brother of Josh West, who is the Majority Leader of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
Jeremy and his wife, coincidentally named Kelly, and their four children, Wayland (9), Alice Belle (8), Hope (6) and Hettie (2), own and run Whitewater Hollow Farms. The family-owned farm is located south of Grove.
Jeremy and Kelly begin farming and raising cattle around 2009 in the Honey Creek area. In 2017, the family sold their homestead and moved to the Whitewater area.
“We started putting together several ‘had-been farms’ in the Whitewater area into one 700-plus acre farm we run now,” Jeremy said.
Whitewater Hollow Farms is just a stone’s throw from his granny’s homestead.
Although the farm was not inherited, Jeremy said what was inherited was “lots of love” and that is priceless.
“Our parents gave us all we needed – lots of love and expectations – and a few suggestions along the way,” Jeremy said.
Jeremy and Kelly’s children take part in all aspects of the strawberry farm.
“For several years, we’ve visited farms across the country and researched strawberry farming in preparation for this endeavor,” Jeremy said. “There is so much that goes into growing a strawberry.
“Honestly, we should have taken up degrees in horticulture.”
Jeremy’s dad, Kelly, handed the couple his practical knowledge on strawberries and has been right along side-by-side from building infrastructure all the way to planting and picking, he said.
In addition to Jeremy and Kelly, the elder West and Jeremy’s son, along with cousins and number of local teenagers work part time harvesting strawberries.
Kelly, his dad, had been known to out pick the others, Jeremy said.
“Planting is a whole family ‘event,’” Jeremy added.
During planting season, wife Kelly’s parents were planting while Jeremy’s mom watches the children.
“My mom is the most loving and selfless of us all,” Jeremy said. “She makes sure the grandbabies are all taken care of while the madness of strawberry season is happening.”
Whitewater Hollow Farms offer several varieties that differ in taste, size, color and texture. They have a following from Wichita, Kan., Checotah, Tahlequah, Tulsa, Claremore, Northwest Arkansas, Bartlesville, Stillwell, Oklahoma City and Southeast Missouri.
“We even a couple visitors from south of the Red River,” Jeremy said. “We provided strawberries for Anderson (Missouri) Strawberry Festival.”
Now that strawberry season has ended, the family will grow Dixondale candy onions, heirloom tomatoes, bell peppers, banana peppers, cucumbers, zucchini and yellow summer squash.
“This fall we will have green beans and pumpkins,” Jeremy said.
In the spring of 2022, Whitewater Hollow Farms will also grow raspberries and boysenberry or blackberries, he said.
“It takes a tremendous amount of time and is more work than we could have ever anticipated but we see ourselves continuing farming for years to come,” Jeremy said.
“It fits our life; it’s how we want to raise our kids,” Jeremy said.