Hi, I'm Mike Atkinson, along with my wife Theresa, and my son Bobby.
This is a 4th generation farm, with my grandfather having started farming in Harris county.
My father and grandfather farmed through the 50s' while also running a grocery store on the north side of Houston, and in 1953 I came along. In 1961 my grandfather purchased the farm my son and I farm own today.
Throught the 50's, 60's and 70's my grandfather and father raised vegetables and sold them to Weingarten's Grocery Store. The crop we primarily grew was tomatoes 50,000 plants 100,000 bell peppers and 50,000 eggplants in the spring. In the fall and winter we only grew green onions and raddish. In the late 70's we started raising leafy vegetables. Mustard greens, collards and turnips. In 1983 Weingarten closed. We started to change and grow a different variety of vegetables, selling direct to grocery stores and the Harris County Farmer Market.
In 1988 my grandfather passed away, leaving the farm to my dad and I. Two years was enough for him, and he retired and sold me the farm in 1991. My son Bobby has always worked on the farm. He graduated from Klein Oak H.S. and went right to work on the farm full time 60-70 hours a week. After my father retired we really started to try and grow a different variety of vegetables because of the NAFTA with all north America. This bill really allowed Mexico to just deliver poor vegetables to this country, in which they still do. They have no chemical requirements, and very little checkpoints coming into this country.
In the late 90's things really got tough growing vegetables at wholesale on a large scale, because of competition and Mexico. My wife, Theresa one day asked why don't we open a market of our own? Bobby and I thought about that and decided why not. In 2000 we did just that, and it has been good for us on the retail side and raising vegetables for our market. Now our market, caters to the local grocery store, Bayou City Farmers Market, and The Woodlands Farmers Market.
Presently today we farm about 100 acres of vegetables. We have two box trucks for RB Schoemann, 19 tractors, over 100 peices of equipment, and 8 full time workers at about 60-70 hours per week. We grow a variety of over 60 different vegetables year round, dependant on what is in service.
- Preparation of land
- Soil fertility
- Proper equipment
- Variety of seed
- Good weather conditions
- Neat and clean harvesting fresh
- Proper marketing