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Brenckle's Organic Featured!

Posted 11/15/2014 11:51am by Jennifer.

We've been featured in the latest issue of InSeneca Valley Magazine!  Here's a copy for you to learn more about us and why we do what we do!

Farming with Purpose

by Pamela Palongue


Farming is a lifestyle choice as much as it is an occupation. It’s usually not about making tons of money, but more about the satisfaction of watching something grow and having people appreciate your work, knowing that they are getting really great, quality food that is essential to life and health.


The Brenckle family has been committed to that purpose for five generations now. Fred Brenckle planted his first crop on Glen Eden Road in 1949, according to grandson Christian (Chris) Brenckle.


“He was a typical truck farmer, growing kale, mustard greens, turnips, beets, radishes and lots of tomatoes,” explains Chris. The elder Brenckle planted somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 tomato plants – an incredible amount considering that the equipment he used to produce his crops was very basic compared to today’s complex line of farm implements.


The farm later passed to Fred’s son Tom, who was the youngest of nine children. As the children moved away and there was less help in running the farm, more sweet corn was grown and less labor intensive crops.


In the 1970s, the farm took the shape of a commodity farm, growing more grains, along with the corn.

In the 1980s, the Brenckles’ farm entered the wholesale flower market, supplying mums, tulips and other products.

Chris, 38, works with his wife Jennifer, his father, Tom, and several other family members who pitch in to help in busier times in running the farm. Initially, Chris and Jennifer were both working fulltime day jobs and working at the farm in the evenings and on weekends. At a certain point, they made the difficult decision to quit their day jobs and commit themselves to farming full time.


“It’s not a family farm without the family,” says Chris. “We just didn’t want to let the Brenckles’ Family Farm blow away with the dust. We wanted to preserve it. We like feeding people.”

One of the latest changes to the farm is the commitment to growing organic crops.


“We’ve never really been chemically dependent,” laughs Chris, “so we were never really that far away from being organic.” But about eight years ago, the farm made its first official foray into the world of organic farming when a neighboring farmer wanted to plant some organic crops on their land.


“We saw the difference that being organic made at the market. It set us apart,” explains Chris. “The most daunting aspect of becoming a certified organic grower is the paperwork.” Four years ago, the hurdle was overcome when the farm made it official with an organic certification which facilitated a name change to Brenckle’s Organic Farm and Greenhouse.


Though the farm has lived through many different kinds of farming and the fickle ups and downs of the commodities market, it has always been a Brenckle family endeavor. The faces are both young and old as the knowledge of how to grow things passes down through the family bloodline.


Chris, who is one of seven children, counts himself blessed to have been raised by good and honest people. “My father, Tom, has got to be the single hardest-working person I know. He’s a strong guy,” says Chris. “His reputation as a great grower is well-known and he prides himself in the quality of his work.”


There’s reason to be hopeful that the Brenckles’ Organic Farm will be continuing for another generation with Chris’ children, Josie, 8, and Charlie, 6.



“My daughter is more into the public relations side of things,” laughs Chris. “She likes to wait on the customers... My son Charlie has been attracted to farming since he was able to hold a hoe. He likes the field work.”


His son also insists on having a garden at their home in town. Chris says that both of his children love the farm life. “They enjoy seeing things grow. My wife and I both stress what really good food is and they both show an interest,” adds Chris.



One of the most important things that Chris has learned from his father, Tom, is that in a business where you reap what you sow, your friends and neighbors are always there for you if you treat them right. Chris says, “No matter how challenging it can be, you will no doubt have a friend or neighbor who will be there, as long as you’re an honest, hardworking person.” â� 


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