Farming is a Rhodes Family affair! It's a rare occasion when we aren't bottle feeding calves, pigs, kittens or other animals that find their way to our farm. Although we love all of our animals, once in a while a uniquely close relationship develops, especially with the bottle-fed animals. There are always jobs to be done...and it takes everyone, no matter how young, to make our farm a success!
David & Judy Rhodes
Dave and I have have always been busy doing one thing or another. He was raised on a farm and I only knew the farm life from visiting my grandparents as a youngster.
When we married that quickly changed. Dave worked on his family's farm and I worked away at public jobs until we established a dairy farm operation of our own. After about 6 years of dairy farming and a downturn in the dairy industry, we spent several years trying different types of farming until we started selling retail meats. Dave began driving a fuel transport truck and soon purchased his own truck to become an owner/operator. I remained at home to care for numerous animals and farming duties that I never once dreamed that I would one day be doing!
The retail meat business has kept us busy as we constantly expand to include more products in our business. We love the fact that all of our children and grandchildren live close by and have stepped up to help in various ways. Especially through the pandemic year, we could not have done it without their help. They all have special talents that they bring to the operation.
We value the partnerships we have made with other market vendors, local farmers, and other business owners. Collaborating with one another helps to make the road much easier to travel. Our customers have been fantastic and we value the relationships that we have established as many have made us feel like a part of their family. Our goal when starting the business was to bring top quality meats to others and we strive to continue making that our reason for being!
Roost & Gardens
Lizzie is our youngest child and we give her credit with the start of the meat business. Many of you may have heard the story about Lizzie's fair pigs. She had a pig for the fair many years ago that did not weigh enough to sell so that little piggy came back home and became our first animal processed for retail sale.
We quickly added our farm raised beef to the line up because we wanted people to experience what great tasting beef is all about! As we progressed in the business she has helped and given suggestions on many products that we have added to the operation. One of the biggest being the addition of laying hens for eggs and meat chickens to process. It has been an undertaking but together we are learning our way through it!
Lizzie has been active in selling at the market from the start. She has learned on the job how to calculate meat prices, count back change, and organize. She is the best at packing freezers and coolers full of meat and other products.
Starting out she was quite shy but as she became involved in 4-H and FFA during her school career, she has certainly come out of her shell. Lizzie has become a young lady that is a great public speaker, manages and communicates well with customers, and likes serving and helping others that she comes in contact with. In addition to giving everyday help on the farm, Lizzie also has a full time job.
Timmy & Jennifer Wakeman
We have always had the help of our other children but they have all really stepped up to help over the COVID year. Things went crazy and as we struggled to get through the busy times, they thankfully were there.
Jennifer, a nurse by profession, and raised in the farming community, laughs about her inability to grow things, her thumb is not green! But we allow her to help sell the vegetables anyway. She has acted as the market nurse on many occasions when we have had minor health issues occur with customers. You will most likely find her on her Saturdays off, at the market, talking with customers about how they prepare certain foods and exchanging recipes. Timmy, her husband has also been a huge help in delivering orders on Saturday mornings or helping pack up our huge assortment of items.
We also have to allow these huge sports fans time off to watch Bailey as she participates in volleyball and softball. Timmy devotes much of his time to coaching the softball travel team and Jennifer is a number 1 softball mom.
Bailey, a high school senior this year, had an immediate love for wanting to wait on customers and ring up orders on the Square when she started working at the market, thus the name Square Specialist came to be her nickname. She can certainly buzz through those orders and has become very good at it. Her next love was for the dogs that come to the market. She is usually the first to get to them with a dog treat!
She gets picked on quite a bit by her aunts, uncles, and cousins but she just takes it in stride. We love her personality and her smile and appreciate all that she does. My favorite words to hear when asked what she's doing on Saturday are: "I'm going to help my Grandma because she needs my help." Their devotion and help are certainly appreciated.
Tim & Barbie Rhodes
Lance Rhodes, Rylee Rhodes, Riley Smith
Every family member that has become involved at the market have just kind of worked their way into specific jobs. Tim and Barbie can usually be found at a specific spot behind the table although both are very good at multi tasking!
Tim has always helped out at the farm doing various things such as brush hogging fields, constructing chicken houses, hauling manure, helping with hay making or on many occasions...repairing whatever is broken for the week! His talents extend into working meat freezers as well. He is most times found at the market organizing freezers and filling the meat orders. He is very protective about his area in the van that he refers to as his office. You will see him filling the tables and waiting on customers when needed also. His witty sense of humor is missed when he is not in attendance. Tim's experience as a Land Development Engineer, and as his full time job, has helped tremendously in advising on how to do things.
Barbie quickly walked into the job of what we established to be front line manager! She is a whiz at organizing the table items and her decorating ability is certainly above and beyond. She brings a calm to the chaos when we are busy with her friendly laugh and she has a wonderful compassionate heart. This is very apparent when you hear her conservations with customers as they check out. She also has mastered the operation of the Square and is quite good at it! And we can't forget to mention, when she arrives at the market on Saturday mornings to set up, she brings us donuts! How great is that! Barbie works full time plus as a Program Director for Page County Shen Paco Industries.
Now moving on to the children. Yes we have two girls named Rylee and Riley. Thank goodness though they are not spelled the same. Riley has been at the market on occasion and is more than willing to help out. She's been a trooper about asking what to do and going to it. She is all smiles and we enjoy having her join us.
Rylee, also known as Roo, has been spotted at the market not only helping out on occasion with customer orders but you may have seen her selling fruit for her FFA chapter. It is very easy to strike up a conversation with Roo because she loves to talk! Both of the girls are a member of a swim team and involved with girl scouts. We love having them at the market when they are available.
Lance has grown into quite a tall young man and he's probably not finished yet. He loves to compare heights with everyone and of course he's taller than Grandma! He is a huge sports fan, just like the rest of his family, and plays baseball. You may sometimes find him air batting or throwing a baseball while working at the market! He normally is in charge of setting up bottled products, chips, and advertising dog treats! He has also been a big help on the farm tending chickens, planting cabbage plants and pruning tomatoes. He has experienced working hot days in the garden. We appreciate the way he attends to customers by taking their orders, carrying orders to vehicles and his respectfulness and courtesy shown to everyone.
Davey & Ashley Rhodes
Zoey, Maison & Bryson
Davey (as Mom still calls him but David to most) and Ashley are definitely masters of many different jobs. Their talents include a wide range. Davey is my go to when I need something done or on occasion when I'm in a state of emergency with animals out, or broken down vehicles, he's on speed dial. He has recently established his own business called Roots in the Valley. He does a wide range of home repairs, painting, farm project buildings and so forth. Needless to say he is booked up for quite a while doing a wide variety of jobs for the farm and I am so thankful for it. He typically is not a market worker but can be seen visiting nearly every Saturday with the kids. His help is given on the farm with the hay making, repairing, building and doing other odd jobs that we just don't have time to get to. He has built raised beds for the vegetables, helped Tim with construction of the chicken house and even rebuilt an old manure spreader.
Ashley also works a full time job as a teacher at Charterhouse, working with children with disabilities such as autism. She has a heart for animals and we refer to her as the dog whisperer. She is just good with animals and never worries about getting her hands dirty! She is also my go to when I need someone to haul cattle and there is no one else available. Ashley has her own business called Valley Designs which specializes in doing sublimation printing. You may have seen some of her work at the market. She has made the tumblers with our logos on them as well as the tote bags. I'm sure you will be seeing more of her work in the future. Many of you may remember that she sold DotDotSmile children's dresses at the market and laundry detergent. She's also a whiz at basket weaving!
Now for the children...they are all chicken lovers, live chickens of course, and animals lovers in general. Maison is the chicken whisperer. When he is out on the farm it is very common to see him carrying a chicken around. He likes cleaning things up and you never know what you may find him doing. He is a helper that will stick with you until the end. He has also helped with taking customer orders at the market, typically the market that we do at Basye. He is quite a conversationalist and we never know what stories he may be ready to tell customers. Maison's newest interest is Little League Football. He is one tough farm boy that will certainly knock his opponents down!
You will see Zoey also at the market waiting on customers and she helps with set up and tear down. She likes to talk as well but does a pretty fast wind down as the market comes to a close. She has spent more than a few late nights packing up to prepare for the next day market. Zoey also enjoys helping with the processing of the meat birds and tending the chickens. She has a keen eye for any animal that is not feeling well or anything that is out of the ordinary. This year she will begin running cross country because she loves to run like the wind!
Now, on to the youngest grandchild, Bryson. What a cutie with so much charm. He helps out but is still a little bit young for the market jobs. You will find him at the farm though. He loves to gather eggs! Oh, and he is such a story teller as well with non stop talking until his eyes close. We know that as he grows up he will also be a great customer service person for the market!
Mary Vann (Maw-Maw)
Well, you just can't say enough about all the good that Maw-Maw does for the market set ups or the family. She can be found during the week helping out at the farm with duties like washing eggs, cutting up liver for dog treats or helping with processing of chickens, oh and let's not forget about gathering vegetables in out of the garden! You will find her in attendance also at the Wednesday and Saturday morning markets. She has always instilled in all of us a good, strong work ethic. I recall a comment made by her on many occasions, "I am here to do for my children and grandchildren. That's what keeps me going." One thing that I can say in all certainty, we all love our Maw-Maw!
So there you have the run down on our family. Working together, sharing life's good and bad, we get the job done. Everyone brings their wide variety of talents to the table to provide for the folks in and around our community. Words cannot begin to express how proud we are of this family and our love for them! God is good and we are blessed!