Oliver's Produce and Oliver Farms: Our History
Oliver Farms has been family owned and operated for over a century and four generations of Oliver’s. Robert Oliver III has been helping his dad on the farm since he was old enough to follow him around. He has always had an eye for opportunity. He has seen what is and what could be since a young age. It is this characteristic that sparked Oliver’s Produce and has kept it growing. In 1998, when he was nine years old, the farm was primarily a dairy farm. When other kids his age were planning their day long lemonade stands, he wanted to start something that could last much, much longer. He and his family planted Oliver’s Produce's first two crops: sweet corn and pumpkins. They are still two of our most popular and best sellers to this day. He set up a small table outside of his grandmother’s house and Oliver’s Produce sold sweet corn to its very first customers.
It wasn’t long before he realized he needed more room. The next step was a small reach-in stand that created more room and protection for homegrown produce. As the years went, Oliver’s Produce has found ways to provide more to our customers. Ten years ago, the famous farm stand was built that allowed customers to walk in, shop, and pay by the honor system. The shelves became more and more crowded, as our list of products grew. We kept growing as many different products as we could. What we couldn’t, we found the most local and highest quality product to supplement. Our goal has always been the happiness of our customers and every day we come up with new ideas to benefit them.
In the summer of 2012, we had a terrible drought. Our plants were dry and had a hard time flourishing. It was a difficult summer of hoping for rain so that our plants could be happy and healthy because if they weren’t, it meant we would disappoint our customers. The winter after, Robby spent it researching a way to protect our plants from problems like this one. That spring we bought our plastic layer and transplanter. The plastic layer lays a sheet of plastic in a straight line and tucks dirt around it to keep it in place. Underneath is a line of hose that we can use to hydrate and fertilize the plants to make them as happy and healthy as possible. The plastic also keeps the weeds down. This allows us to use fewer chemicals that have the same effect and to be as sustainable as possible. That summer we harvested an abundance of produce that the previous year had barely made it above ground.
In the winter of 2015, we began the construction of our current store front. We had run out of space for all of the products we were providing and the customers that came to shop. As construction began, we came up with a whole new list of produce that we wanted to try growing. We talked with local businesses to create partnerships so we could provide our customers with other local products such as honey, maple syrup, canned goods, and baked goods. We also began working on retailing our homegrown beef and pork - products that had been a part of Oliver Farms for a very long time, but that we couldn’t retail until we had the right space and setting. Customers who were used to the self-serve honor system were ecstatic that we now offered attendant hours. However, our doors still remain open 24/7 on the self-serve system to allow our customers the convenience that our previous stand had. As the harvesting season progressed, our shelves were full of produce that a few years ago we did not even think was possible.
This winter, we put up our 2,880 square foot greenhouse. The greenhouse allows us to be more independent and sustainable. Our goal is to provide more produce for a longer period of time. We want our customers to be able to enjoy homegrown produce for more months out of the year.
Oliver’s Produce is always striving for more. We are constantly looking for ways to improve ourselves. Whether it be our list of products or the length of our growing season, it is all for our customers’ satisfaction. We take pride in providing homegrown and local produce and products to our regular customer and increasing list of new faces. If you ever have any questions or suggestions, feel free to talk to one of the friendly faces wearing an Oliver’s Produce shirt at your next visit. We will gladly show you how passionate we are about what we grow and what we sell. Everyday we are brainstorming new ways to improve, and are happy to hear from our customers on what they like and what they would like to see in the future. We are sure that this is just the beginning of a very long history.