Rodger Bilbrey was born and raised in Winter Haven, Florida. Through the years, many of the Bilbreys in our area were involved in agriculture and it was as such in Rodger's family. Rodger grew up in the citrus industry and learned early on about taking care of the land.
In 1981 he started his own business (Bilbrey Nursery) and owned it until the family property was sold in 2000. From 2000 until 2002, he was nursery manager and grower for Polk Training Center for the Handicapped in Lake Alfred. In 2002 he became Nursery Manager/Grower for All Native Plant Nursery in Pasco County which closed in June 2012. Concurrently with the nursery, for four years he was also Farm Manager/Grower for Magnolia Organics, a Certified Organic farm in Wesley Chapel, Florida, which closed at the same time as the nursery.
Rodger has always been passionate about growing - whether it deals with vegetables, fruits, plants, trees and so forth. To him, it has never been a weekend hobby but very much a way of life. When Magnolia Organics shut down, it brought us to the realization that we wanted to have our own farm and continue working the land -- our land -- and produce what we believe are the best, pesticide-free vegetables around. One of our primary goals is to show our customers and our CSA members how locally and organically grown produce can benefit them and their lifestyle.
Carol (Dabbs) Bilbrey was born in Nebraska but lived there only a few years before moving to Springfield, Massachusetts and then Italy, her mother's birth country. Upon her mother's re-marriage in Italy, she became an "Army brat," traveling extensively and residing in different states. She eventually settled into central Florida 50 years ago. She retired in April 2010 after 25 years with the City of Winter Haven Police Department as Executive Assistant to the Chief of Police. Ever since Bilbrey Family Farm began in September 2012, she is happy to partner in the farm and handles not only most of the business and social media related areas but also assists in the field.
Possum Bilbrey, who is now 12 years old, is one of the Bilbrey Cats (all of whom were rescues) and is a farm intern. Main duty on his job description consists of taking long cat naps on the tractor and occasionally lounging on the Gator after partaking of some catnip. Truth be told, 99% of the time he is actually comfortably sleeping somewhere in the house.