By Karin Beuerlein
A Hockaday Handcrafted Broom stands by itself.
That’s the motto of Jack Martin’s broom-making business, family-owned for nearly 100 years. Martin’s grandfather taught him the techniques, and he inherited the original winding table, broom press and threading tools built by his great-grandfather – but locating a source for the rare broomcorn plant proved to be quite an undertaking.
After a three-year search, he finally found the seed – in Mexico.
Today, Martin plants several acres of broomcorn on the family farm in McNairy County, a modest amount considering that each house broom requires 250 plants.
“That’s because each plant produces only one tassel,” says Martin, adding that he tells folks that a sturdy Hockaday broom takes five months and 45 minutes to make.
“Five months to grow and prepare the corn; 45 minutes to tie on the handle.”