- $9.25 for a strawberry-picking trip for two, including two pounds of strawberries and $4.25 worth of store credit ($18.50 value)<p>
When Mike and Theresa Atkinson's son Bobby joined them in the fields of the family farm, he officially became the fourth generation of Atkinsons to tend the Texan soil. Many things have changed over the generations, but Mike, Theresa, and Bobby still embrace the family's calling to provide the community with farm-fresh goods, including vegetables, berries, sweet butter, and pasteurized milk. Here is a brief timeline of the Atkinsons' history:
Mike's grandfather purchases the tract of land that the family continues to farm today. At first they stick with growing tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplants, green onions, and radishes.
After decades of harvesting the same crops, the Atkinsons decide to expand their operation, and they begin to grow leafy vegetables such as mustard greens and collards.
The farm's main buyer—Weingarten's Grocery Store—closes. In order to adapt, the family diversifies, planting a wider variety of vegetables so that it's easier to sell to other area grocery stores as well as the Harris County Farmers' Market.
Mike's grandfather passes away, leaving the farm in the care of Mike and Mike's father.
Mike's father sells the farm to his son and retires from the family business. Around this time, Bobby graduates high school and begins working on the farm full-time. Bobby often puts in 60- to 70-hour weeks as the Atkinsons decide to expand their vegetable selection yet again.
Tired of the relentless competition of wholesale farming, Mike and Bobby agree to follow Theresa's advice and open their own family market. Even though they now have their own retail outlet, the Atkinsons continue to sell their produce to local stores and farmers' markets throughout the area.
Over the course of a typical year, the Atkinsons grow and harvest more than 60 kinds of vegetables. With roughly 100 acres of land to tend, though, they need a little help. Today Mike, Theresa, and Bobby rely on eight full-time employees—not to mention 19 tractors and more than 100 pieces of farming equipment—to help them carry on a family tradition now in its sixth decade.