FAMILY OWNED AND OPERATED SINCE 1984
Established in 1984, Richland Creek Herb Farm is one of the oldest herb farms in North Carolina and at its height was the largest wholesale herb farm in the state, supplying over 100 NC garden centers.
In 1984 Richland Creek Herb Farm was planted in the center of 24 acres of pastureland in Randolph County, in the Brower Township, just miles from Seagrove, the “Pottery Center of the USA.” Joe and Jeanie Britt moved a turn-of-the-century farmhouse onto the property and with the help of their six children renovated the house so that the Joe and Jeanie, who still had two school aged kids remaining, could put down roots to grow the family business.
The farm began with row cropped vegetables, dried flowers, and herbs sold at the Raleigh Farmer’s Market and various craft booths across the state. Jeanie rented a restaurant and with her crops of peppers, herbs, and tomatoes prepared delicious hot sauce and jellies that she sold to stores like A Southern Season in Raleigh. The family also grew fields of dried flowers that were sold by the bunch and used in their handcrafted wreaths and posies. Year-by-year greenhouses were added to the property, first to get a start on the row cropping season, then eventually the family grew less crops in the field and turned to the sale of potted plants.
“We were selling herbs, before herbs were cool,” remembers Jeanie. “It was hard in those early years because people had no idea what herbs were or how to use them.” Education was an integral part of Richland Creek Herb Farm. The family dedicated a piece of the property to build 30 raised beds so that visitors to the farm could meander through, smell and sample every plant that the farm offered for sale. Every year the entire Britt family came in to help with Herb Fest where visitors could take classes, listen to local music, and eat foods prepared with what else, herbs! The farm was a destination for groups visiting the potteries and any group of ten or more could schedule a tour of the farm and have refreshments like lavender iced tea, herb cream cheese and crackers, and lavender cake.
With the increased agritourism, the farm added public bathrooms, a two-story gift and book shop, and later a coffee shop and a state-of-the-art retail greenhouse. On the production side, the greenhouses were fitted with a cart rail system to make filling orders easier and rolling tables to maximize greenhouse space. The headhouse gained a potting machine with soil hopper as well as a plug extractor.
In 2000, the family decided to close the retail portion of the farm and focus solely on wholesale production. The retail greenhouse was easily converted to a propagation greenhouse and a headhouse was added for seeding and germinating. In 2003, one of the Britt kids who had grown up on the farm and earned a degree in horticulture had her first child and came to the difficult decision to leave the family business and focus on raising a family. As sometimes happens, families break up and not long after the loss of this key member of the farm, Joe and Jeanie divorced. Joe kept the farm running for many years, but with the downturn of the economy which had taken a toll on the business and its owner, Joe decided to retire from farming. He sold the farm in 2015.
The six Britt kids have grown up and most have children and some, even have grandchildren of their own. For some of them, the draw to the farm - the place they all loved and to which they put their blood, sweat, and tears started calling. A desire to have a place where the family can once again work together, bring up the next generation to love the outdoors, to nurture plants that will bring pleasure and healing to someone else – that is our desire as we cultivate and continue to grow our family’s legacy, Richland Creek Herb Farm.
Richland Creek Herb Farm over the years