Located on Highway 17, about 10 minutes from Sunset Beach (just about a half mile south of the entrance road to Ocean Isle Beach), The Holden Brothers Farm Market is a great place to check out any time of year. But especially in the spring!
Kelly Holden and his brother, David, opened Holden Brothers Farm Market in 1984.
The Market was a logical extension of the family farm that started as a land grant given to the Holdens’ ancestors by the King of England in 1756. Since that time, the Holden family has always farmed the land.
About 400 acres remain of the original thousands, and they are well used. Crops include tomatoes, sweet corn, strawberries, blackberries, cantaloupes, watermelons, peppers, eggplant, squash, cucumbers, field peas, butter beans, okra, and green beans. In order to supplement the supply, David travels to buy additional vegetables. He also manages the Market and repairs farm equipment.
The Market does some wholesale business, but its specialty is retail sales. The Holdens open their fields for “pick-your-own strawberries in the spring and tomatoes in the fall.
Kelly says, “Although we do a lot of tourist trade in the summer we realize that the local community has also played a large part in making our business a success.”
Even with the demands of running a large operation, Kelly Holden has found time to pursue other interests, including marathon running. He says, “Since I started running in 1994, it has been a passion for me. I have completed 22 marathons and, in the process, qualified for and run the Boston Marathon four times.”
Additionally, Kelly has been contributing to relief efforts following the tsunami in Sri Lanka. Each year since it occurred in 2004, he has cleaned wells, distributed water and blankets, and built houses.
As a business owner, marathon runner, and volunteer, Kelly likes to be challenged. He says, ” I enjoy defying the odds.