Williams' Produce Farm: Continuing a long-lasting legacy
Williams’ Produce has been distributing local produce to a variety of local North Carolina markets for over 60 years. Started by Leah Williams’ grandfather, this multi-generational farm continued through her father, and most recently to Leah and her brother.
Since the age of six, Leah knew she wanted to continue the legacy her grandfather started. “As I became older and was able to be more involved, I often received doubts and negative comments about a woman taking up the position of running the farm, especially at such a ripe age of 22,” shared Leah with tears in her eyes. “I am proud to have endured through those comments and not let that stop me from getting to where I am today. I share often with others not to let your gender, age, or other components of what make you who you are stop you from running toward your dreams.” Despite being a young female within the agriculture industry, Leah plans to follow her own advice and continue to work hard towards her dreams.
On the farm, Leah explained their operation often begins in their greenhouse by sowing the seeds used for planting. After much love and nurturing, the seeds become young produce plants within their greenhouses, which are then moved outside and replanted in the fields. Often, weather dependent, once they are ready for harvesting, the produce is graded, packaged, and sold through local markets, including their own – The Williams Market. It brings joy to Leah’s heart to see customers enjoying their locally grown produce such as okra, corn, squash, green beans, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes and more.
In addition to her passion of growing food to feed others, Leah has a passion for serving within her communities. She takes pride in employing locally and donating to local foodbanks. “Growing up I always volunteered at our local food bank and now that I manage the farm, when we have the opportunity to donate produce, we are honored to do so,” smiled Leah. For her, supporting others in any way possible is one of the reasons she loves what she does. “Whether it’s putting food on people’s plates so they can enjoy healthy, local produce, or giving someone a job opportunity, that’s what makes this so satisfying.”