Mildred and Abram Brinkley established Brinkley Farms as a tobacco farm in 1941. In 1973 their son William and his wife Dianne took over the basic operation of the farm. William and Dianne were traditional tobacco farmers who have now transitioned to an extensive vegetable production with the help of son Michael and his wife Jennifer. As a child, Michael and his sister would earn their school money by seeding fields and selling the vegetables they grew on the side. They would keep whatever profits they earned for new clothes and school supplies. Michael calls this making money “truck-style.” Michael and Jennifer have a 450-member CSA, which Jennifer organizes, and they sell at the Carrboro Farmers’ Market year-round. Michael’s father is still active on the farm and sells Brinkley Farms product at the Durham Farmers’ Market. They each keep the proceeds they earn at their respective Market.
Date of interview:
July 19, 2011