Texas Monthly - Aug 2018
Dismayed by sky-high rents and yearning for a slower-paced lifestyle, a new crop of Texans has ditched the big city to foster a rural renaissance across the state. In our August issue, we take a look at the rural renaissance sweeping the state... against all odds, Brenham’s downtown is thriving, perhaps as never before. Once placid and puritanical, it is now merry with wine, beer, and song. Hip murals blanket the walls of several edifices. The dining scene has been upgraded. And much of that development was fostered by Brad and Jenny Stufflebeam. MORE >>>
Check out our recent story in the Sept/Oct issue of edibleHOUSTON...
2012 Houston Mayor's Award: Champion of Food Justice
2015 Washington County's Small Business of the Year
2016 edibleHOUSTON's Local Hero Award: Specialty Market
“ambitious farmers flipping Brenham onto its edge”. - foodtravelermag.com
Located in downtown Brenham, in 1878 the second largest brewery in Texas, G. F. Giesecke and Brothers Brewery produced 1,137 barrels, serving fine crafted beer distributed by wagon and the Washington County Railroad.
First generation children of immigrants from Germany, Otto Emil Weiss and his wife Alvina Grote purchase property along the banks of Dogwood Creek near Wesley, TX around 1890. They lived in a two story cedar board house built before the Civil War and raised cattle, hogs, chickens and cotton "as tall as your head" for a cash crop plus nine children. Otto studied veterinary medicine by lamplight and was a certified veterinarian and Trustee of the Wesley School later consolidated into Brenham ISD while Alvina was a midwife in the community. Otto also sold Raleigh Products and made farm art, picture frames and furniture out of bent willow.
High school friends, Brad and Jenny Stufflebeam married in Plano, TX. Brad, one generation removed from the farm is raised in suburbia, travels abroad in the Navy serving during Desert Storm and comes home with an interest in horticulture. Jenny, originally from St. Louis (but moves to Texas mid-80's with her family), postpones her career in nursing to pursue a business together with Brad. They purchase the Greenhouse Gardens in McKinney and begin one of the first 100% organic nurseries in North Texas, with a concentration on Texas natives, antique roses, herbs, perennials and custom time period landscape design. With urban sprawl at their heels they escape the concrete jungle to follow their dreams of raising the family on a small family farm...
Brad and Jenny Stufflebeam purchase property from Harold Weiss (grandson to Otto and Alvina) and move the family to Washington County to launch the first and largest Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm in S.E. Texas serving the Houston area. They discover supportive neighbors, descendants of the Weiss family and work full time (pursuing a dream) growing diversified vegetables, grass-fed beef, chickens, dairy goats, lamb and two young girls while serving over 360 families year-round with weekly deliveries. They build a community of volunteers and small family farmers extending the local food supply to their CSA members and Houston restaurants.
Home Sweet Farm expands into a brick and mortar storefront in Downtown Brenham offering one of the first local food hubs in Texas. The Farm Store is open daily with a focus on artisan foods provided by their community of local farmers. The original store occupies a historic brick building built around 1870 as a railroad warehouse, then a coffee roaster/distributor, a Schlitz Beer distributor, an appliance repair store and eventually a hay barn used by The Green Grain Feed & Seed, the county's oldest feed store. Today it houses seasonal farm to table dinners and is available to rent for special events.
With a vision to expand the local business, the Stufflebeams add an adjoining historical building and a Biergarten to provide a family friendly atmosphere and community gathering place... highlighting Local Farms, Beer, Wine and Music. The property was originally occupied by the Giesecke Brothers who operated a brewery in the 1870s and later a tin shop. At one point, the brick building was occupied by Victor Spinn selling farmer's produce, poultry, hogs, dairy and other local food products. At the beginning of this century, the City sponsored The Brenham Farmers Market, featuring handcrafted foods and crafts. Today it remains an important community gathering place in Downtown Brenham.
Home Sweet Farm Market & Biergarten is a one-of-a-kind market and venue for live music and community events in Downtown Brenham. Visitors from across Texas enjoy this unique setting with the charm of a small town and a tragically hip atmosphere.