Have You Met the Dodge County Sweet Potato Man? | Arts & Culture
Terry Martin, 74, is a pretty normal man with normal hobbies like "most men" he said. He has been married to the love of his life for almost 28 years. Retired from selling insurance, the Oklahoma-native, just enjoys his life - the simplicity of life. But, he is not really typical - he has probably the most familiar face around. You've seen him. He is the sweet potato man in Dodge County.
Think about it ... You have seen him with his truck, his trailer and his canopy set up at the Eastman-Dodge County Chamber of Commerce, and for the last several years, he has set up on the side road right before the turn at Wal-Mart.
Now you remember - the Mississippi Sweet Potato man.
Except he is not from Mississippi.
He is not originally from Eastman either.
He is from Oklahoma.
His trip which landed him in Georgia started in 1985 on a 30-foot boat.
"I left Oklahoma on my boat and sailed into Panama City, Florida. I lived on my boat, and was working with an insurance company who had an office in Panama and one in Dothan, Alabama, and I would spend time in between both."
Terry continued, "While I was in Dothan I met Joyce, she was the manager of a mobile home park, and well, the rest is history."
They lived in Florida for a while longer, and when Terry retired, they moved to Georgia in 1995, because "she has family here." He is the dad of two and step-dad of three.
The Martins live "on a small farm on the Chester Highway," where Terry does some gardening, enjoys fishing and the outdoors.
For ten years, Terry has sold sweet potatoes. "I have been doing this for about ten years."
He said, "Everyone in the south loves sweet potatoes ... I used to drive to Mississippi to get them, but now I just go over to the Cordele Farmer's Market ... they go get them."
His trailer carries about a thousand pounds of sweet potatoes.
He normally sets up for about five to six hours a day, and "It is not too bad. I do have my regular customers, and new ones too. And I stay busy, but sometimes, it is hard, when I sit here and no one comes by."
Terry pulled out his Bible, "I read." His favorite verse is Hebrews 13:5.
This week, he has apples from Elijay that are delicious, but Terry said, the sweet potato is his favorite.When asked how he likes his sweet potato, Terry said, "Baked, of course."
(Photos and story from the Tri-County Monitor. Used With Permission)(c)