In the early 1900's, Leona Wells Forrester, Keith's Great Grandmother, a widow with four children, settled in Whitton, Arkansas. Leona came to Whitton to seek life as a sharecropper as a means to support her family. For many years she, and her sons worked as sharecroppers, and through those humble beginnings, the Forrester Family farming legacy was born. Jess Forrester, son of Leona, and his wife Helen, took on the responsibility of expanding the farm. Over the next several years Jess spent many days behind a mule and plow, raised show horses, and was able increase the family's acreage tenfold. Jess and Helen were blessed with 5 children, and after decades of raising crops, Jess was able to retire from farming. Eventually the land was passed on to Jess and Helen's children, Doug, Willis, Bob, and Phillip. Peggy, their daughter, passed away at the tender age of 3.
Phillip Forrester, son of Jess and Helen, (Keith's Dad), married Mary Virginia, together they spent the next several decades raising cotton and soybeans. Phillip and Mary Virginia had 3 children, Mary Helen, Paul, and Keith. In 1974, The Phillip Forrester Family was named Farm Family of the Year representing Mississippi County, Arkansas. For many years, Phillip made refurbished farm equipment during the winter months, served on the local bank board, and school board in Wilson, Arkansas. Mary Virginia taught school, and took great care and pride in the raising of their three children. In 1996, Phillip retired from farming. He passed shortly thereafter due to ALS. A scholarship at Arkansas State University was established in his honor by family and friends. Mary has since remarried and still lives close to the farm. She spends her free time loving on her children and grandchildren alike.
In 2002, Keith and Jill Forrester moved back to the house Jess Forrester built, to reside at the farm. The following year, Keith and Jill decided to take their plot of land in a different direction by growing fresh produce, herbs, and cut flowers. After specialty crop farming for twelve years, Keith and Jill Forrester were named Mississippi County's, and Northeast Arkansas' Farm Family of the year, (2014) exactly forty years after Phillip and Mary had represented the county.
Fast forward to 2018, we've been farming fifteen years now, and have an incredible 6 year old son, and several critter friends we care for, and care for us. In the fall of 2017, we added Bryan Dennis to our team, along with his lovely partner and artist, AmyLynne Hofstetter.
Together we will grow, eat, and spend the days scouting at the land, and dreaming of ways in which to leave it better than we found it.
Thank you for taking the time to learn a little more about our family farming tradition. Keith & Jill Forrester
2016 Tomato "Taste Test" Winner at Memphis Farmers Market
2015 Memphis Farmers Market Cream of the Crop Award
2014 Mississippi County Farm Family of the Year
2014 Northeast Arkansas Farm Family of the Year
2012 Arkansas Delta Byways Hospitality Award for Agri-tourism
2010 East Arkansas Development Regional Business Pacesetter Award
2010 Arkansas Governor's Conference on Tourism| Henry Bootstrap Award
2009 Arkansas Delta Byways Agri-Entrepreneur Award
2008 Northeast Arkansas Agricultural Leader Award
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