Much More Than
Just A Business
By Angela Rogalski • Photography By Meagan Little
It all started with a pea patch, a passion for the land, and strong familial ties. Andrew Nobile and his wife Mary Britton Nobile own Nobile Family Farms in Holcomb, Miss. The farm is filled with acres of fresh produce, beautiful flowers and its own onsite store which features many of the farm’s offerings.
Andrew Nobile says it all began with his grandfather, who is an Italian immigrant that settled in Moorhead, Miss., where he and Nobile’s father farmed.
“My grandfather bought forty acres after WWII and farmed cotton on it,” he adds. “My uncle and cousin raise beans and cotton on that land now, and my cousin was actually catfish farmer of the year last year.”
With the generational connection to the land, it’s no wonder Nobile feels such a strong kinship to farming.
“I’ve had a garden my entire life,” Nobile says. “My dad introduced me to growing vegetables when I was younger and my mom was always involved with her flowers, so it’s been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember. I don’t farm any cotton or beans like my family, but I do feel like it’s in my blood and I love it.”
Nobile says that in 2017 he planted a couple of acres of peas in a big field in front of his house and the rest is history.
“The demand for that was just overwhelming,” he says. “We didn’t have any idea it would be so successful. The next year we planted 500 tomato plants and all kinds of other produce and we sold everything out of our shop right here by our house and it just kept growing bigger and bigger every year.”
Nobile says that at the time he was in the insurance business, but the farm became so busy and productive that in the spring of 2019 he quit his insurance position to work the farm full-time.
“Now we grow about fourteen acres of vegetables that range from pumpkins to sweet corn to lettuce, tomatoes, squash; just about any vegetable you can think of. We also have about 40 head of beef cattle. And all of this is a family endeavor. My wife works at the hospital, but when she’s not there, she’s working the farm right alongside me. We have a three-year-old daughter, Nettie, who is always out there with us. She was helping us plant squash not long ago.”
Last July the Nobile’s opened up their on-farm store called “The Farm Stand,” and with the farm and the store’s location being right off Hwy. 8 in Holcomb, Nobile says that gives them a prime location for selling with all the traffic from the highway.
“We sell our vegetables there and meat, and a few gift items,” he adds. “We also sell our plants, ferns and tropical plants in the store. With our produce, the majority is sold in the store, but we do sell to a few restaurants and we also do what we call a “Farm Bag” which is a weekly delivery bag service that has a variety of vegetables in it. And it changes every week. We also have some partnerships with other farmers, such as Brown Family Dairy in Oxford; we sell their milk in our store. I feel really good partnering with other farmers, because we help each other out.”
The Nobile’s also hold events on the farm, such as a recent Butterfly Release and different field trips to the farm.
“We grow a lot of strawberries on the farm and this year we started doing field trips,” Nobile says. “Recently, we had fifty homeschool students out here picking strawberries. We play some games and do a farm tour. I show them around and teach them a little about what we’re doing and they pick strawberries and take them home with them. It’s an educational experience for the children. I show them how they’re grown and they learn a lot about fresh berries that don’t come from a grocery store. And we got a really good response from that.”
Nobile Family Farms has become a business that not only supports the Nobile family and the customers it serves, but also brings joy and happiness to everyone it touches, from the healthy food it produces to the family who loves to grow that food.
“The farm was divine intervention,” Nobile stresses. “After we planted the pea patch in the beginning, we needed land to grow our vegetables on and all my land had cows on it. There is a cotton field by my house and it joins our land. It became available due to the owner retiring. And that’s why I say it’s divine intervention. It’s very rare someone retires and you get the chance to lease land right next to your house. And that’s the field we grow our vegetables in right now.”
Nobile says that this isn’t just a business to him, it’s something he would like to pass down to his children one day, should they want it.
“My daughter loves the strawberries that we grow,” he adds. “And I don’t spray anything harmful on them, so they can be eaten right off the vine. Recently, she was out there picking and eating them and she picked a really big one, looked up at me and said God made this berry really big. And for some reason, her words just touched me deeply. I realized what we’re teaching her about the land and about what God has given us as a family. Her words were just beautiful to me. And that’s what it’s all about.”