Ayers Farm started when the Suggs family farm went up for sale in 1939.
Filled with hope and a vision, M.B. and Kathleen Ayers bought that farm where their three children, Jean, Jimmy, and Carey would one day have visions of their very own…
Jean saught a career at Redstone Arsenal, while Jimmy and Carey turned to the farm.
Jimmy spent his entire life in the main farmhouse where he was born and chose to live out his days without a partner.
Carey loved the land where he would eventually not only make that farm into a living, but a life well-lived. He married Jean Carter Ayers and the couple raised two children on the farm-
Susan and Jason Ayers.
With 2000 acres of land (owned and leased) M.B. needed farm hands. Jimmy and Memory Crump were the first hands to come on board. Seasonal help came and went, but Jimmy and Memory were part of the farm’s backbone proving more like family than employees. They both actually lived out their final days on Ayers Farm.
Carey row cropped cotton, soybeans, and corn. He also grew produce on the side along with over 300 head of cattle. Still, it was the OKRA at the heart of Ayers Farm. With more than 10 acres of okra, you can bet the entire family pickled loads of okra…all summer long. He would eventually broker out the okra in four other states.
Carey and Jean’s oldest child, Susan, spent her summers taking large loads of corn and okra to the farmers market. It was the 70s. Carey took comfort in knowing his 13-year-old sweet Susan would be safe at the farmers market. He drove her to Madison County Farmers Market and would leave her there until the days produce was sold.
“They were long hot days, but I recall them as some of the best days of my life,” remembers Susan.
In 1986, Carey decided to shift the farm’s focus toward produce -. reducing row crop production. A Madison County Farmers Market commercial tenet, his produce took center stage at the market – including pumpkins.
“Times were good and work was hard, but it made our family a living,” remembers Susan.
As adults, Susan joined the family’s farm business, while Jason has enjoyed a career with the City of Huntsville.
When Carey passed away in 2002, Susan took the reins of a true family business at Ayers Farm Farmers Market. Along with her mother and son, Jessy, they’ve worked hard to assure the family’s legacy.
Speaking of family…
Stanley Stone worked on the farm as a child. He sprayed cotton and picked during the summer to make extra money. He’s an integral part of Ayers Farm to this day.
Most days you’ll find him placing produce out for the day. Customers love him and value his opinion to the point that he’s often asked to personally select their produce purchases.
This close-knit family still lives on the farm in New Market, Alabama.
“The best feeling in the world is to walk across the farm and know what has taken place here… My ancestors. My deep family roots. We love the land and the heritage on our farm,” explains Susan.
Agriculture has played a leading role for generations. It’s fifth generation now has the opportunity to set roots. Jessy’s daughter, Leighton, will hopefully embrace the visions of her ancestors.
“M.B. and Kathleen would be so proud of what we have accomplished,” Susan beams with pride.