Frazier Farms is more than a produce stop. The covered shelter where the vegetables are displayed has an old-fashioned, country-store appeal, arranging varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables in bulk bins.
The smells of watermelon, corn husks and clean farm air fuse together and combine to engage all the senses.
“What is a barbecue without Frazier corn?” Brooksville resident Mickey Moran’s comment vocalized what the crowd was thinking as it stood inside the gate of Frazier Farms.
A continuous line of customers came on this day to buy huge, thick, juicy ears of sweet corn, freshly picked and ready to take home. Many have made the trip countless times before, year after year, during harvest times. For this newest harvest of bicolor sweet corn, they were too late.
David and Sharon Frazier apologized to their customers, explaining that the field had been replanted and the harvest was about four or five days delayed. Fourteen inches of rain was the culprit, destroying the first planting in that field. All that was left, for now, was just about gone.
Customers were visibly disappointed but not upset. Most have been loyal to the Fraziers for years. Instead, they purchased other produce, all of it grown by local farmers, or visited for a few moments and made plans to return for the fresh picking.
Frazier Farms of Brooksville has been selling homegrown corn for decades. The cozy farm rests peacefully for a good portion of the year, serene and relatively undisturbed. But during two spring harvests in May and June and the fall harvest in October, the farm becomes a bustle of activity.
Harvest season openers mean long days for the Fraziers and barely a moment to breathe until the corn is gone.
David smiled as he described the craziness of each harvest season. At times, customers have lined up outside the gate and down the street. It has been like that for decades.
“My job is to put a perfect ear out here and it will sell itself,” David said.
That is exactly what happened this time. Within about 30 minutes, all the corn was gone, leaving behind several empty buckets.
Not one customer pulled down the husks to inspect the corn.
“They don’t have to,” David explained. “Every ear of corn they’ve gotten so far they’ve bragged about. Even people from up north say it’s better than what they get there.”
A few customers happily grabbed bagged corn, freshly shucked by Jake Elkins and Joshua Zapadenko, who sat off to the side, examining the ears for quality. They explained that sometimes the corn gets damaged during picking. They were performing “quality control,” making sure only the best ears made it to the customer.
Clearly David stumbled on a niche that others have tried to duplicate. But no one has gotten it quite right.
“About 90 percent of our business is word of mouth,” David said, testimonials that play like a folk song, motivating the Fraziers to keep doing what they’re doing.
David has experimented with other crops, including blueberries and strawberries. “But it got to the point where I didn’t have enough room for the corn,” he said. The 15 irrigated acres are now reserved for sweet corn: yellow, white and bicolor.
It’s more than just a business, though. David and Sharon can’t hide their pleasure when customers return, year after year, allowing them a chance to catch up. In fact, the conversation among visitors is casual, like small talk among friends.
The Fraziers greet each customer with warm smiles; many they address by name. There’s a strong sense of community, a connection bonded by a tiny peek into the past. Even the farm’s mascot, Buster, seems thrilled by the atmosphere. Fondly nicknamed “Corndog,” Buster shucks and eats his own corn on the farm.
Sharon Brown is a regular visitor to Frazier Farms. She stood in line to purchase her bag of freshly shucked ears. “It’s the absolute best,” she said.
Bill Shaw has lived in Brooksville for 50 years and has purchased Frazier corn for as long as the farm has been in business. “Today I came to buy vegetables,” he said, as he filled a bag with green beans. What were his plans for the beans? “I will give them to my wife,” he said with a chuckle.
Shaw admits it is largely the corn that brings him back. He prefers the white, which was expected to be ready in a few days. “But I also come for the family,” he said. “The Fraziers are great people.”