Elmore County farmers Joe and Patty Lambrecht were recently named the Alabama Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) 2015 Small Farmers of the Year. The couple received a plaque and engraved clock from Acting NRCS State Conservationist Ben Malone at the Federation of Southern Cooperatives 47th Annual Meeting in Epes, Sept. 2.
“The Lambrechts are good stewards of the land, and we are pleased to honor them with this award,” Malone said.
Joe and Patty opened Oakview Farms in 1998 as a part-time stone burr gristmill. In 2004, they began working full-time at the farm near Wetumpka. Their stone-ground cornmeal and grits are top-sellers, but their hydroponic lettuce, persimmons, strawberries, blueberries and seasonal vegetables also are popular.
“We are thankful to have land to nurture and preserve,” Joe said. “We appreciate the Soil and Water Conservation District and NRCS staff in Elmore County. They are always helpful and willing to assist with our farming needs.”
The Labmbrechts also have honeybees, pastured goats and chickens for fresh eggs. They sell products at their farm’s general store, farmers markets and local businesses. Oakview Farms’ grits and produce can be found on menus at a number of high-end restaurants in Alabama.
“Our restaurant partners desire sustainable and locally grown foods, and the demand continues to increase,” Patty said.
The Lambrechts were among four finalists in the 2013 Alabama Farm of Distinction contest, and Joe serves on the Alabama Farmers Federation State Bee & Honey Committee. They are active in their community, sponsoring activities for 4-H clubs, initiating fundraisers, mentoring other producers and hosting more than 175 groups for farm tours annually.
To learn more about the Lambrechts, visit OakviewFarms.com.