How to Maintain a Healthy Marriage While Managing a Family Business of Plant Growers


Business trips typically separate families for a few days, for better or for worse. Earl and Leigh Ann Greene avoided that situation, for better or for worse, at this winter’s Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference. The husband-wife team not only attended the trade show together as the co-owners of Greene Acres Farm in Cochran, GA, but they also commandeered a Savannah Convention Center podium as a unified front.

Their topic: “How to work with him/her and stay married?!” They survived the 24-minute presentation, and as far as we know are still married today.

Sound crass? If nothing else, the self-deprecating Greenes taught attendees that marital bliss — not to mention parenting three daughters between the ages of six and 13 — starts with not taking yourself too seriously.

Take the holidays, for example. The Greenes, who have been married for 18 years, annually present “Fall Frenzy on the Farm,” which segues into “Christmas on the Farm.”

“I always tell people that we’re really not married the month of November,” Earl said. “We’re divorced November the 1st, when the fall field trips stop, and we get remarried when we open Christmas lights on Thanksgiving night. I don’t really talk to her for about 20 days.”

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“He growls at me,” Leigh Ann said.

The Christmas event features a million lights. “You ever try to put up a Christmas tree for a woman? She’s like, ‘No … 1 inch to the left … 1 inch back ..,’” Earl said. “When there’s a million of these, we’ve got to put ‘em in the ground. We’ve got to go.”

Opposites Attract

Greene Acres Farm specializes in pick-your-own strawberries, peaches, and blackberries. Earl had worked on the farm when it was previously known as Tom Sawyer Farms, and together with Leigh Ann they formally purchased the operation in 2018.

“We decided — well, my wife decided — we were going to buy the farm just by that marriage thing. I just went along with it,” Earl said. “I had worked there since I was, like, seven years old, so I knew how much work it was. She didn’t. Now she realizes.”

That Earl and Leigh Ann are complete opposites of one another benefits their marriage and operation. He focuses on farming and maintaining whatever might be broken, heavy, or dirty. Crowds are not his thing. She manages the farm and home, including finances, staff, inventory, flow of operations, planning field trips and farm activities, and taking care of their kids and animals. When it comes to people, “the more the merrier” is her motto.

“He’s a big bear,” Leigh Ann said.

“She’s a busy bee,” Earl answered.

To learn more, please continue reading the original article at Growing Produce.



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