Laurie and Allen Grobe own and operate Grobe Fruit Farm in Elyria, Ohio.
The Grobes grow a variety of fruits and vegetables, which they sell at three farm markets in Ohio.
A family tradition
Allen is the fifth generation of Grobes to farm his family’s land in Ohio. It all started back in 1905, when Henry Grobe purchased the farm and started with a herd of dairy and a field of potatoes. His son, Walter, expanded the business to include apple orchards in the 1920s. Next, Walter’s son Robert added peach orchards and pumpkins. And in 1965, Robert’s son James and daughter-in-law Annette halted dairy production and added sweet corn to the family operation.
Today, Allen continues the Grobe family tradition. He’s the great-great-grandson of the original Henry Grobe. Together with his wife Laurie, they manage the Grobe family farm.
A Farm Credit tradition
Food production isn’t the only tradition that runs in the Grobe family. Working with Farm Credit has been a staple for the past 25 years. Allen’s father, James, and grandfather, Robert, and now Allen himself have been AgCredit customers.
“My dad, grandpa and I have been very pleased with the service from AgCredit. We seem to be on the same page with one another,” Allen said. “I can have AgCredit come out to discuss our needs and we can make things happen.”
Laurie remembers a time before AgCredit, when the Grobes had their eye on a new piece of agricultural land. Allen, James and Robert set out to find a lender that could help them make the purchase. Their first few stops were at the local banks. However, none of these institutions wanted to help finance the farmland. That’s when someone told the Grobes about Farm Credit and, as Laurie said, “we’ve been with AgCredit ever since.”
Years later, in 2011, the Grobes were considering another big business decision – they wanted to purchase a compact grader. While they worried about such a big investment, ultimately the Grobes decided they were young enough to take the risk and wanted to move forward with the expensive purchase.
Once again, Laurie and Allen turned to AgCredit for support. With help from their loan officer, Laurie and Allen purchased the compact grader all the way from New Zealand. And what a good decision that turned out to be.
“We went from a single lane wooden grader to a stainless-steel food-safe grader,” Laurie said. “This purchase enabled us to do custom packing. It sorts all my apples to color, size, weight.”
Reflecting on her experience with Farm Credit, Laurie said, “AgCredit is always there for us.”
In addition to the custom packing business, Allen and Laurie have built a commercial apple cider facility, added other vegetable lines to cater to a larger customer base and advanced food safety procedures at the farm.
The next generation
Allen and Laurie’s two sons, Brett and Keith, plan to return to the farm to continue the family legacy. Both Brett and Keith attended The Ohio State University. Keith studied agribusiness and Brett studied agribusiness, as well as food safety. This sixth generation of Grobes plan to focus on advancing food safety techniques and increasing production, as well as efficiency on their family farm.