What would life be without homegrown tomatoes? Fortunately, our customers would not know thanks in part to the Grover Bailey Tomato Company. In honor of Fathers Day coming this Sunday, I wanted to share a great Father and Son story. The Baileys have a wonderful family legacy, which revolves around their appreciation and knowledge of the southern grown vine ripe tomato.
Grover Bailey Sr. founded the Grover Bailey Tomato Company with his son Grover Bailey Jr. in 1982. The Senior Bailey passed away in 2014. He left an indelible mark on his son, Grover Jr. who will never forget the faith and trust his father had in him. Nor will he forget his father's hard work ethic and honesty.
Before the Father and Son went into business together their legacy started at Busbee-Bailey Tomato Company. Grover Jr. worked for his Dad and Uncle Clyde Busbee as a kid. But as he grew older he pursued a life in music for several years as a musician. He enjoyed playing lead guitar and singing. He had a successful career but one that did not allow him to be home with his own family. He had a beautiful wife and 3 young daughters at the time. Grover Jr., as a father, understood the importance of being there for his family. He made the decision to give up his music career and go to work in the family tomato business.
A few years later the ambitious Grover Jr. spoke to his dad about opening their own tomato house here in Pensacola. To Grover Jr.'s amazement, his dad concurred with his son's proposal. The Busbee-Bailey tomato company separated into two separate houses. Clyde Busbee had two sons who had joined him to operate the Busbee Tomato Company and the Grover Bailey Tomato Company was born.
Father and son worked some incredibly long hard hours that first year but they turned a profit and they never looked back. They prided themselves on offering southern raised vine-ripened tomatoes known for their flavor.
Vine ripe tomatoes are more work to manage but the Bailey's believed the flavor made them worth the effort. Their goal was to offer a southern grown vine ripe tomatoes year round, even in the winter.
Many of their competitors offer hothouse tomatoes which are grown in large greenhouse facilities. It is easier to get a good crop of tomatoes when growing them indoors because you can provide a better temperature and control the amount of water.
Hothouse tomatoes, however, do not get the full benefits of a tomato plant gown outside with the sun being unfiltered. The filtered walls of a greenhouse actually add stress to the plants causing them to have no flavor when they mature.
Today the Grover Bailey Tomato Company is still known for their reliability in providing flavorful tomatoes and honest business practices. They do business the old fashion way, built on long standing solid relationships with farmers and their customers.
Grover Jr. is still working but he now has his own son, Jackson Bailey, by his side. The business he and his dad started 39 years ago is now providing opportunity and stability for the next generation.
If you have never enjoyed a vine ripe tomato, we want to encourage you to come by The Farm and get a bite. It is tomato season and we have some delicious tomatoes in house. Ask for a sample!!
Soon to come: Local Blackberries
Available for this week's Fresh From Florida Program and
Items You May Find Inside Your CSA Boxes:
Bibb Lettuce (Wendt Farms)
Live Salad for two ( Wendt Farms)
Blueberries (Walnut Hill, Florida)
Green Beans (Florida)
Cantaloupe Athena (Florida)
Corn ( Florida)
Eggplant ( Florida)
Green Bell Peppers (Florida)
Green Snap Beans (Alabama)
Lychee ( Florida)
Red Potato ( Alabama)
Gold Potato (Alabama)
Yellow Squash (Alabama)