Abraham Carpenter, Sr and Family
In the Natural State, only one name is synonymous with first-class produce. The Carpenter family has provided Arkansas-grown produce and unrivaled customer service to Arkansans for more than 40 years.
Carpenter’s Produce is a vision realized by Abraham (Sr.) and Katie Carpenter. It started as an experiment. Mrs. Carpenter planted a one-acre plot on the family’s land in Grady, Arkansas. All accounts of the family’s entrepreneurial and agricultural rise state that Abraham Sr. soon recognized that his wife was making more money with her 1-acre vegetable garden than he was working full-time at Seagram’s Lumber Company in Pine Bluff. He purchased 30 more acres of land, and the family business was born.
Today, the Carpenter farm has grown into a 1,500-acre operation that grows thirty varieties of produce sold at farmer’s markets in Pine Bluff and Little Rock, and supplies produce for large national chains including Wal-Mart, Kroger, Adams Metro (supplier of food products to schools and other agencies), and Quality Performance Group.
Not only does the farm serve the state with quality produce, it has a tremendous economic impact on the region. The Carpenter’s farm has become one of the largest employers in the rural community of Grady, located about 25 miles southeast of Pine Bluff. The farm employs about 100 family members, and at peak times throughout the year during planting or harvest, employs an additional 40 to 50 seasonal workers from the area.
The Carpenter siblings take pride in continuing the work started by their parents four decades ago. The brothers—Albert, Danny, Terry, and James—manage the farm operations, while the sisters—Bettie and Bobbie—manage the retail operations of the business. Whether donating truckloads of produce to those in need—as they did for victims of Hurricane Katrina— or actively participating in the farming community through organizations like the Arkansas Land and Farm Development Corporation, the Carpenter family continues to affect the lives of those in southeast Arkansas.
The family maintains vital ties to community and agricultural activism. Abraham Carpenter, Jr., Manager of Carpenter’s growing enterprise, has served as a member of Mike Beebe’s African American Advisory committee; the Arkansas Hunger Coalition Board of Directors; Arkansas Vegetable Growers Association (president); Arkansas Land and Farm Development; Delta Community Development Corporation; and the Delta Farmers’ Cooperative board of directors among others.
Despite their great success, the family maintains a strong sense of humility. They credit their ability to thrive and grow to a strong work ethic and an abiding spiritual faith.