DERBY — Hundreds made their way to Triple L Farms on Saturday to offer well-wishes to Jim Lambeth on his retirement from farming.
The 71-year-old has been working the land on the family farm in northeastern Richmond County his entire life.
The retirement party was part of the annual Derby Day, started by his wife Marcia in 2006.
Meghann Lambeth, county tourism director and daughter of Jim and Marcia, described her mother as “a visionary” for creating the event before pop-up markets were popular and food trucks were hard to find.
Despite social media reminders throughout the month of June, the retirement aspect was kept secret from Lambeth until the day of.
Lambeth was also presented with a congratulatory letter from Gov. Roy Cooper.
“The Lambeth family has a long history in the farming community going back five generations,” Cooper said in the letter. “The legacy which has been passed down is one of hard work and dedication, not only to farming, but to supporting the community.
“I sincerely appreciate the time and effort you have given to fulfilling this tradition of service to the people of Richmond County and to our state. Your contributions have changed lives in many positive ways.”
Earlier this year, Lambeth was reappointed by Cooper to the N.C. Board of Agriculture.
Several family members from Browns Summit in Guilford County came down for the event.
Underneath the shed sat two antique Oliver tractors, owned by Barry Mabe, who bought them from Lambeth’s grandfather, H.R. Currie.
With Lambeth stepping back from farming, James Parsons of Parsons Produce in neighboring Montgomery County is leasing a lot of the lands.
Food trucks for the event included Max’s Millstone BBQ and Kenzie’s Sweets. Marcia Lambeth also sliced up fresh tomatoes and the store gave out free ice cream, including homemade peach ice cream donated by the Berry Patch in nearby Ellerbe.
Several first responder agencies — Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, Derby Volunteer Fire Department and Ellerbe Rescue — were also honored at Derby Day, which included a flyover by Dr. Larry Gebler and David Lamb, and music from a bluegrass band inside the store.
See more photos below.
Note: This story has been updated to include information about the tractors. 5:21 p.m. 7-6-23.