"People think of farming as you drive down the highway, you see combines and tractors working thousands of acres and growing big crops like that, but there's a lot of smaller aspects to farming as well. And Farm Credit understands that." - Bobby Bradford
A family brand
Bobby and Karen Bradford own and operate BoBrook Farm and River Bottom Winery alongside their two kids and four grandkids. BoBrook Farm sits on 300 acres in Roland, Arkansas, and got its unique name from a combination of Bobby and Karen's children's names, Bo and Brooke.
Today, BoBrook farm is a working farm as well as an event venue and winery. They raise blueberries, blackberries, muscadines and pumpkins and offer pick-your-own produce and other seasonal events.
A dream come true
Thirty years ago, Bobby's dream of becoming a farmer became a reality when he saved up enough money to purchase the land that would become BoBrook Farm. "I knew I wanted to farm early on in life; I just had to figure out a way to get to that point," Bobby said.
Once Bobby and Karen bought their land, it was their intention to raise row crops. Their neighbor suggested talking to Farm Credit to help them get their operation started, after visiting with Farm Credit for the first time, a multitude of ideas for BoBrook Farm began coming to fruition.
“We were shocked and amazed at how easy it was,” Karen said. “They believed in us and our crazy ideas!”
Cultivated from curiosity
Over the years, the Bradford’s dabbled in a little bit of everything—including flipping houses, raising row crops and cattle, building an event venue, and creating on-farm experiences.
"We tried everything because we didn't inherit it, and we're trying to figure how we are going to pay it forward," Karen said. “But we’ve learned a lot and its been a fun road.”
All you need is a good idea
BoBrook Farm is also known for is its wine operation, River Bottom Winery. River Bottom Winery was an idea curated by two boys picking blueberries on their farm.
"One day, I was working in the pick-your-own blueberry patch, and there were two young boys out there picking blueberries, and I thought, ‘These guys are so sweet, they're probably picking those for their grandma,’” Karen said.
The boys informed Karen they were picking these blueberries to make homemade wine and shared their wine recipe with Karen, inspiring her to start producing her own wine.
"I started with a two-liter bottle, and that was my first wine-making experience, and today I make 26 different wines," Karen said. The Bradford's make their wine from blueberries grown on their operation and grapes shipped from around the country.
A lender that understands
"People think of farming as you drive down the highway, you see combines and tractors working thousands of acres and growing big crops like that, but there's a lot of smaller aspects to farming as well, and [Farm Credit] understands that," Bobby said. “Farm Credit will help you in any way they can to be successful—they want you to be successful.”
“[Farm Credit] is so wonderful about being there when you need them,” Karen said. “They’ve always been there to help us out, and they’re our family.”
With the help and support of Farm Credit Associations of Arkansas, the Bradfords look forward to cultivating new ideas for BoBrook Farms.