By Sam Burnham, Curator
What I'm about to tell you is based on a true story. I'm embellishing it to prove a point. The facts of the story aren't changed. I'm just unleashing the potential in the scenario.
Let's assume for a minute that a couple is visiting Italy's beautiful Amalfi Coast.This couple has connections in Berrien County and therefore are in possession of some of the finest roast pecans in the world. Our couple is lodged in an Aibnb belonging to some citrus farmers in the Amalfi Coast area who therefore have in their possession some of the finest limoncello in the world. They leave a bottle of the nectar and a few lemons the size of your fist as a gift to their renters. As a thank you gift the couple leaves some fine roasted pecans and then a standing swap is proposed. Pecans for limoncello, strictly for personal consumption. Somehow the pecans make it through but the limoncello never sees its destination. (You're not fooling anyone, drunk customs officials.)
Now, for the parable, let's assume that a pecan farmer in south Georgia and a citrus farmer on the Tyrrhenian coast of Italy realize this trade can make both of them some cash if their swap creates enough sales in each other's countries. Direct import/export. Limoncello available in farm stands in Adel, Nashville, Hahira and roasted Georgia pecans available in Salerno and Positano. The products could be shipped from Savannah to Naples or flown air cargo out of Atlanta or Jacksonville.
This sounds like small money until you think there are, again, hundreds of these towns that can produce agricultural and manufactured goods that could be shipped to hundreds of locations overseas. But the rural areas need better connections to potential customer-partners overseas as well as better shipping options. We get enough people with small operations utilizing the expanded Port of Savannah or even a possible robust air cargo option in Tifton, Albany, Valdosta...it could become a big deal. But we have to look at connections, regulations, and logistics that are working against this possibility.
It's a crazy idea, one that is admittedly a stretch but it is an idea.
I'll be back soon with a report from a great weekend road trip and some details about cool things happening in South Georgia right now.
Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire