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HOW ONE NORTH CAROLINA FAMILY TURNED AN OLD TOBACCO FARM INTO A BLOOMING AGRITOURISM BUSINESS

Art Johnson’s farm has been in the family about a century now. What was once a tobacco farm in Kernersville, North Carolina, is now a thriving agritourism business. 

“My grandfather Ash Johnson purchased the property in 1925 and moved from the other side of Kernersville to here,” says Art Johnson, owner of Dewberry Farm. “It was about 86 acres.  It was a basic tobacco farm.”

Art didn’t grow up on the farm but was nearby and always loved coming here to hunt and fish, and perhaps someday make it a place he could call home. That dream came true in his adult years when he was able acquire some of the farm acreage and build a home.  He married his wife, Wendy, and they hosted weddings on their property.

“And then one day, Wendy was reading through a magazine and saw a tulip farm up in Virginia and she says that sounds like a great idea,” adds Johnson 

Art wasn’t against the idea, but he wasn’t sold on it either. 

“I thought it would be cool, but how much hard work is that” says Johnson. 

Tulips became the goal for the farm, but there was another crop to be planted first, sunflowers.  That you-pick business when well, so next up at Dewberry Farm was the dream to grow tulips.

They planted 42,000 bulbs that first year, 50,000 the next.  It took about 12 days with 12 people to plant them all.  They invested in a planter the next year which still requires labor but increases the pace.  They plant new bulbs by Thanksgiving every year to insure the best and most beautiful crop.  Today they plant over 100,000 bulbs they get from Holland.

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