My name is Bobby Brothers.
I am a third generation farmer, following in the footsteps of my father and grandfather, on a farm in Elizabeth City, NC that has been in my family since the early 1940’s.
I am what have often been referred to as a “truck-crop” farmer, farming on a smaller scale than other larger farms/farmers.
I offer CSAs (in Elizabeth City, NC & Portsmouth , VA), sell my produce at the Portsmouth Olde Towne Farmers Market in Portsmouth, VA (every Sat. from late April-end of Dec.) and also sell wholesale to a few local restaurants in Elizabeth City, NC, the OBX, NC and local VA area.
I have farmed on and off over the past 40 years here, taking over after my Dad passed away 10 years ago in May.
My wife and I have struggled and worked very hard over the past 5 years to try to restore our family farm to what it has the capability to be and make it more functional for more efficient day-to-day operations while trying to get on our feet and keep our heads above water at the same time.
Although I could not be more grateful for this opportunity that I have been given and love the job that I do more than anything, it has become very costly to try to fix or rebuild the old machinery and equipment that is unoperational, dysfunctional, dilapidated or in total disrepair that was left to me. As soon as I am able to get one thing operating, something else always seems to break down in its place.
We have three greenhouses on our farm. Only one of them is currently covered and useable. The other two were hit at two different times by two separate tornadoes over the past three years.
Having three operational, functional greenhouses would make us much more sustainable and efficient and also allow us to extend our growing season through the winter and provide us with a much needed winter income.
In addition to the greenhouses, we also need to build a barn or large shelter area for the (approximately 40) guinea hogs that we are raising and also a shelter for the already aged equipment that I am currently working with and clear up unnecessary debris from our farm.
Future plans that we are hopeful for will include refurbishing the roadside market that is already located on our property (but not currently in use) or establishing a new one on the road front, possibly including a small petting zoo with picnic tables and play area for birthday parties, etc., a pumpkin patch for fall 2015 and establishing a pick-your-own strawberry field to open in the spring of 2016. We would also like to expand our asparagus crops, establish more bee hives and offer more CSA memberships. Eventually even adding a gristmill to grind more fresh wheat and corn on a larger scale than we are able to do now.
We would also like to convert our farming practices from conventional to organic and will be heading more in that direction starting this year which is much more costly. All of these upgrades would not only be an asset to us but to our community as well.
In addition to my family that I provide for, I am also responsible for my Mother who has advanced staged Alzheimer’s and lives on the farm with us next door to us in her home that she has lived in since 1986 and is still somewhat “familiar” to her. I am her guardian and full-time caregiver. I receive very little to no help at all caring for her. I am also responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of her home and property as well as my own and the farm itself.
Between caring for my mother full time, all of the hardships that we have faced over the past years and trying to repair equipment and keep it “up and running”, the stress is taking a toll on me and has affected my health.
I am currently asking for any contributions that you may wish to make towards our farm so that we can get started ordering our seeds for our current growing season as we are struggling this winter and to start rebuilding our farm to a more functional state.
Between trying to do day-to-day chores, farm, care for our pigs, provide for my family and care for my mother and do constant maintenance to the equipment that I have to work with, I am stretched daily as far as I or anyone could possibly be.
I have never asked for any help and don’t intend to after this but strongly feel that we need the help to keep our small, family owned farm going and to be more efficient, productive and more sustainable and something our local community as well as our extended Portsmouth community and others can visit and enjoy.
There are not too many small family farms (“homesteads”) like ours that are still in operation and I truly feel that knowing where your food comes from and true "farm-to-fork" farming is important today and to our future generations to come.
Please help us keep our family’s farming tradition alive and thriving! Not only is farming our livelihood, it is also a lifestyle and passion.
I thank you for your time and possible consideration. All contributions in any amount are greatly appreciated! Contributions can also be mailed to our farm at Brothers Farm Market 1154 Perkins Lane Elizabeth City, NC 27909. Please also share our message!
Thank you to those who have made contributions and for the progress we have been able to make so far! We are hopeful that we are able to achieve much more for a brighter future on our farm!
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