Greg Burris is back doing what he loves. The former building contractor who turned to farming decades ago and made a name for himself doing it, has reopened the landmark Burris Farm Market in Loxley after an absence of more than 10 years.
“I’ve already had my retirement,” he said with a smile. “I just did it backwards. I’m just going to do this until I can’t any longer.” For Burris, there is simply something serene about being back in a field or an orchard. “I’ve raised some crops and it’s probably the closest [thing] to being in the Garden of Eden,” he said. “You know, it’s a very satisfying thing. I like growing produce for people. I don’t like it when it rains.”
Starting with a single acre of strawberries and a new orchard of peach trees, the Burrises are helming the popular establishment again after selling the business and leasing the building to others in 2006.
The market is truly a family business now too, as their son, Drew — an Auburn University alumnus — has come back to help his parents. It’ll be just one more thing Drew learns at the business, his dad said.
Burris started farming in 1980 when he planted thousands of peach trees on his property. He admitted peaches were difficult to grow, but he chose to start with them because they were more scarce in Baldwin County compared to other crops.
According to an article on lagniappemobile.com, the initial plan for his 5,000 to 7,000 peach trees was to sell the fruit wholesale. Burris convinced his father, who was a contractor, to clear his schedule so the two of them could concentrate on picking a first crop of peaches. However, the weather that year had other ideas, and he lost 90 percent of his fruit.
The crop yield was too low for wholesale, so Burris decided to go the retail route. He opened up a stand on Highway 98 in Daphne called “Peaches and Produce.” From there the business grew. His strawberry production grew to 10 acres at its height.