Farm Manager: Brent Barbee
Barbee Farm is a 5th generation farm. The Barbees have been involved with many areas of farming from dairy and pork production to small grain.
Brent started produce production as a part-time summer job at age of 10. (He is currently 22.) He was always active in the FFA through high school and upon graduation continued the pursuit of an agricultural career by attending North Carolina State University - Ag-Institute. It was during that time that he made the decision to farm for a living.
Over the years Brent has increased variety and quantity, never sacrificing quality. More recently he has developed and implemented plans for 2 separate fruit orchards as well as constructed a greenhouse for vegetable production.
When asked why he farms, Brent responded, "Simply speaking, I love it! I grew up riding tractors and working in the fields and gardens. Farming is a tradition and I can’t imagine doing anything else."
Brent farms full time. Up until 2 years ago, he and his family were all the labor force needed. Brent has found several high school students to assist with harvesting and marketing. This fulfills Barbee's labor needs while the students can use the experience as part of their Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE), which is required for every vocational student in any agriculture class as a major part of their grade.
Barbee Farms is noted for fresh, quality produce….guaranteed! Given their location in Cabarrus County, North Carolina their farm can provide a product literally thousands of miles fresher. Brent tries to get to know customers and invites customers to come to the farm to see where and how their food is grown.
Brent was awarded Chapter Star Farmer, which is the highest award that the chapter level of the FFA can award. However, Brent feels the best award is not really an award; it is more of a reward. The smiles on customers' faces when they are satisfied with a product, is the most satisfying reward there is.
Brent's goal is to continue to provide a quality product at a fair price. The “family farm” is quickly becoming a fading entity. His long-term vision would be to continue the farming tradition left to him by his strong farming roots and to be able to be a sustainable, self-supporting farm.
Barbee Farms is not certified organic however they do practice many organic practices. They compost, practice crop rotation, use natural soil amendments, and many organic herbicides and insecticides.
They also use herbicides and insecticides that any household gardener can purchase at any local yard and garden center. Often times the recommended rate is less and can be used just as effectively as a restricted use chemical. If Brent sees there is a problem, he tries to remedy without implementing a regimented spray program.
When asked about his view on growing organically, Brent replied, "The word 'organic' seems to really drive many consumers. The amount of government paperwork required to maintain organic certification is astronomical and would require 1 person full-time employment. I use the same practices growing produce for Barbee Farms as I do for the Barbee Family. My family and I eat what I sell."