Randy and Rafanette Dooley
Dooley Farmily Farm owners Randy and Rafannette Dooley and their kids, a daughter 14 and son 9, have been farming the same land that was Randy's father's since the 1920's. Intimately involved in every aspect of farming life, they long to share their love of the farm with the Brazos Valley community.
I had the opportunity to interview Rafannette through an email exchange over the weekend. Having learned more about the farm, I'm eager to visit, taking it in first hand. "We don't mind explaining to people how we do things and why we do what we do. We are happy to let people try their hand at milking and share many recipes," shared Rafannette. I do believe I foresee a field trip to Dooley Family Farm in the Brazos Locavore future...
But you don't have to wait for the Brazos Locavore trip to enjoy the bounty at Dooley Family Farm. Here are some excerpts from my interview with Rafannette and directions on how to contact the farm for a share of the harvest:
SGF: Tell us a little bit about the history of your farm.
DFF: Our farm was settled in the 1920's. My husband's father had to leave school and the farm to go to war in the Navy. He sent payments back to his mother and father to pay for this land while he was gone. My father-in-law passed in 2006 and it went to my husband and his 3 sisters and 1 brother. My husband has lived here full-time since 1989. I married into the farm.
SGF: Have you always been a farming family?
DFF: Yes. Farming practices have been handed down from generation to generation, as well as how to be a steward to the land and animals here. We do things the way my husband's grandparent taught him - the old way. We never tire of teaching and telling others how to do things in a slower fashion. For more reasons than one - not just taste, although it's probably the
best reason to learn.
SGF: You mentioned to me in an earlier email exchange that you started farming "green before it was cool." What made you decide to grow organically? What practices do you do to farm "green?"
DFF: We are not a certified organic farm, but most of what we do is organic. We plant some heritage and heirloom seeds, some not. We grow using organic fertilizers like manure, well water, cottonseed compost, other compost, and such. We try to as much as we can that relates back to what nature intends. We recognize the fact that our bodies were designed to accept and know how to deal with what Nature has given us. What we have and do is our way of life.
SGF: Tell us a little about the products you have available, both now and at other times of the year.
DFF: Right now we have plants growing. We have planted cantaloupes and other varieties of rock melons and charentais, okra, cucumbers, tomatoes, squash, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, watermelon, pumpkins, herbs, beans, onions, and more all the time going in.
We also have dairy cows that we milk daily for fresh raw milk, butter, cheeses and yogurts.
Our chickens will be back on-line for the fall with free-range brown eggs. We do have a Texas egg license, so that any business or restaurant that wants to buy can.
We have just acquired an antique cane mill, from which you can make syrup. We will have sugar cane planted this next year and will be able to demonstrate the mill.
SGF: Where do you sell your farm products?
DFF: We sell directly from the farm. We sell as things are ready, and milk all the time.
SGF: Do you have a Pick-Your-Own setup? Should people call ahead with orders/to visit?
DFF: We have pick-your-own available and, of course, will pick every day as things are ready. People should call ahead, even though we have product everyday.
SGF: What is the best way to contact the farm with questions or to plan a visit?
DFF: Phone (979-828-5004) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dooley Family Farm is located between the town of Franklin and OSR, just northwest of Bryan about 28 miles.
Be sure to contact the farm for more information and to enjoy some of the best local produce, dairy, and eggs the Brazos Valley has to offer!