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Browntown Farms

On The Farm - Agritourism.Life



“Who’s Your Farmer?”


Back in November, I had the honor of meeting Herbert Brown. Herb was part of a panel discussion relating to the momentum and movement of agritourism in the commonwealth of Virginia. During that discussion, Herb and another farmer, Andrew Taylor of Great Country Farms, brought up a very good point.


We know our mechanic. We know our doctor. We know our kid’s teachers. We know our dry cleaner. We know our pet’s vet. We know our faith…We should get to know our farmer.


“Who’s Your Farmer?” (More on this later in the article).


Herb is a fifth-generation black farmer, which makes him an absolute unicorn for a few reasons.


Firstly, the average lifespan of a family business is 24 years. The Brown family, of Warfield, Virginia (also known as Browntown: population 12) began farming their fertile family fields in 1908, which makes this family business, statistically, a true anomaly.


Roughly 1% of all businesses ever make it to the fifth generation, so statistically Herb would have a similar chance of making the rigorous effort of becoming an astronaut.


The second contributing unicorn factor is that less than 2% of all farmers in the United States are black farmers, and after meeting Herb and his father, Herbert Sr., I have absolutely no doubt there will be a sixth generation in the future. Let me tell you why…


Herb (Jr) is that unique, one-of-a-kind entrepreneurial spirit you rarely meet in life. Herb sees things most don’t. Herb is a man with a plan … When others see stars, Herb sees galaxies.


From the waning need for tobacco farming due to a dramatic drop in smoking over the last few decades, southern farmers needed to adapt and evolve. Herb and his family did just that. They moved into vegetables, collard greens, sweet potatoes, swiss chard, tomatoes, peppers, and finally … strawberries!


On our recent visit to Browntown Farms, we picked up a few Christmas gifts for our family and friends (Herb’s famous and perfectly packaged Browntown Farms Strawberry Jam). The Strawberry Habanero Jam was an instant favorite!


Herb was kind and generous enough to fill our basket with other fresh produce for our trip home. They soon became dinner and the sweet potato dish Souny created was amazing!


As we toured the farm, it became obvious to both Souny and me that we were in the presence of a true visionary … when others see the land, Herb sees the moon!


He showed us the future of the farm where there would be a “Fall Event” for families to gather and enjoy the beauty of rural Virginia. A perfect venue for a family reunion.


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