About Ottawa Farms
Ottawa Farms is located in Bloomingdale, Chatham County, Georgia — known as the Coastal Empire. The region’s climate and unique soil provide the perfect conditions for crop growing. The region is home to the world famous Vidalia Onions, as well as peaches, peanuts, and cotton.
Three Generations of Farming
The Waller family has owned and operated this farm since the late 1800’s. Owner Pete Waller is the third generation to actually participate in farming this 700 acre farm.
Since our inception over a century ago, we’ve maintained the philosophy that Ottawa Farms is more than a farm. Before going green was a popular pastime, we have always tried to be good stewards of the land. We open our doors at the farm to groups and events, such as church socials, senior citizen outings, civic group events and more.
Meet the Wallers!
According to a narrative from the farm’s marketing director …
“In the 1800’s and early 1900’s there was a railroad that ran through this farm. Pete Waller’s family owned land on each side of the railroad. There was a trading post/depot called “Ottawa Depot”. The local farmers would bring their produce and load it on the train to carry it to the market in Savannah to sell.
There was also a passenger train that you could board to go to Savannah and it was call “Bo Weevil”. The depot burned down around 1928 and wasn’t rebuilt because Model A’s and T’s were coming out and people didn’t use train as transportation much anymore. So the farm was named Ottawa Farms!
Pete’s grandfather was a railroad engineer and also farmed. He owned property which was this farm and the property across the street. He died in a train wreck and left this farm to Pete’s father and his aunt inherited the land across the road which is now Grainger’s property.
Pete’s father was only 10 when the accident happened so Pete’s grandmother and the 4 children worked the farm to survive. They raised vegetables and sold them at the market in Savannah and roadside market at the farm. We have pick-your-own produce still!
At 16 years of age Pete’s father started saw milling and turpentine business on the farm, along with vegetables. He actually built the old farm house that’s still here. It’s where Pete was born and raised and his son Bart Waller also grew up here and lived in the house. He used the lumber from his sawmill to build the house and he was only 20 years old. Back then turpentine was a huge business and he also started cattle farming (which Pete still does).
Pete said there were no fences so the 500+ cattle roamed from Pooler to Statesboro and all surrounding areas. They also owned 40 mules that was used for the vegetable farming. The vegetables were taken to the Old City Market in downtown Savannah and they had a stall rented year round where they sold the turpentine and vegetables.
Pete’s father died in his 40’s and his mother Maybelle Waller (known and loved by everyone in Bloomingdale) kept the vegetable business and became a nurse at age 42. She retired in her 80’s from Telfair Women’s Hospital in Savannah. She was a pediatric nurse. Their original bedroom furniture is still in the house.”
Memberships & Affiliations
Georgia Strawberry Growers Association
Coastal Georgia Resource and Development Council
Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association
Georgia Cattlemen’s Association
Chatham County Farm Bureau Board Member