A grand opening and ribbon cutting was held at Farmer Brown’s Marketplace on Sept. 26. Located at 4280 Rte. 434 in Apalachin, N.Y, and previously known as Farmer Brown’s Garden Center, or just Farmer Brown’s, new owner Logan Keeney has been operating the business since June of this year.
Keeney said of his new venture, “My ultimate goal is to operate during all four seasons.”
As a four-season establishment, Farmer Brown’s Marketplace plans to offer early spring flowers, summertime annuals and perennials, vegetable plants, small shrubs, perennial edibles, fall mums, Halloween pumpkins and a variety of decorative items for all seasons.
Keeney explained that through Oct. 27 of this year, customers will find an excellent selection of perennials, home grown fall mums, pumpkins, gourds and fall decorations. Customer appreciation specials include six-inch mums at five for $20, ornamental kale for $4.99 (buy two, get one free), and perennials for $5.99.
Also through Oct. 27, the driving range remains open from 9 a.m. until dusk, and golfers receive a free bottle of water with every bucket of balls purchased.
When asked about assuming ownership, Keeney replied, “I guess you can say it was meant to be,” and then joked that his mother’s maiden name is Brown, so, in a roundabout way, he could also be called “Farmer Brown.”
Call it securing his roots for the future, Keeney dug up inspiration from growing up around his grandfather’s farm in northeast Pennsylvania and has since evolved into a lifelong passion.
In his early teens, Keeney took a job at a grocery store and used his first paycheck not on anything frivolous, but instead, put the money toward what he needed to start his own vegetable garden. Involvement in a high school horticulture class and taking on a lead role as president of the FFA, followed by an apprenticeship on an organic farm along with certification in permaculture, all helped further his experience.
More recently, he served on the board of Project Grow for two years and then worked at Tioga Downs, growing their vegetable gardens.
While at Tioga Downs, Keeney had the opportunity to meet one of Farmer Brown’s owners, Paul Darpino. Darpino, along with Samira Sharquawi had been looking for a prospective buyer after operating the business in the southern tier for about 20 years, and about 11 of those years at the Apalachin site. And this is where the “meant to be” chapter started for Keeney.
Today, Keeney is busy putting his own special touch around Farmer Brown’s Marketplace. Future goals include featuring local producers such as poultry and eggs, and other produce including from his own establishment in Owego called “Dirty Birds Homestead.”
A long-term goal is to eventually build a glass-growing house, and, ongoing, Keeney extends an invitation to partner with area garden clubs. Christmas trees and wreaths and poinsettias are part of the future plans, too, as is adding shade trees and benches at the driving range, and other upgrades such as club washers.
Keeney welcomes followers to the Farmer Brown’s Marketplace Facebook page. Like the page, post a photo of your garden on the page, and then share that post, and once the page hits 1,000 likes a winner will be chosen for a $200 shopping spree.
Farmer Brown’s Marketplace is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. For more information, follow them on Facebook.