A local family business has served the Bryan-College Station area with fresh produce for over four decades.
The Farm Patch is owned by the Scarmardo family and has become one of the leading sources of produce in the Brazos Valley. Since it’s opening in 1975, it operates as a roadside market on South College Avenue and sells unique fruits, vegetables, flowers, trees, crawfish and other products to customers.
In February of 1989, their sister company, Scarmardo Food Services, partnered with the leading food distribution network in the United States called Unipro Foodservice, Inc. Scarmardo Food Services has been the main supplier of Texas A&M’s produce for many years.
Mark Scarmardo, owner of The Farm Patch, went to A&M for one year in 1975. After he left, he started the Farm Patch as a partnership, but eventually bought out his partner and began working with his dad. Growing up, he had experience with produce as he and his brother sold his dad’s okra to various stores and roadside markets. Today, Mark works alongside his two sons, Carl Scarmardo, Class of 2013, Director of Purchasing and Operations and Mark Scarmardo, who is the manager.
Because the Farm Patch has been operating for 43 years, Mark said they are knowledgeable of where the best farmers are located to buy the freshest produce.
“Over the years we’ve learned what farmers do a better job,” Mark said. “In June, out in the bottom [of Brazos County], the Wiggins family will be starting to pick watermelons and we’ll go out there and get them fresh every day”.
Mark said A&M’s diversity has helped bring in many new foods from around the world to their local market.
“Over the years with A&M here, we’ve had different people from all over the country,” Mark said. “They’ll come here and say things like, ‘Will you give me the cheese that I had from Romania,’ and we’ll start researching and get it.”
Because of A&M’s great demand for produce, Carl said Scarmardo Food Services is constantly delivering to the university.
“A&M is a big customer of ours,” Carl said. “We’re on campus about five days a week, because they use a lot of produce over there.”
The Farm Patch set up a mini market on campus in front of Sbisa at the Local Market event April 10 where they sold plants and fresh fruit, something Mark Scarmardo said he is proud of.
“All the succulents are Texas grown,” Mark said. “We usually have a grower come and set up all kinds of succulents, and by then [next on campus market sale] we’ll have squash coming in and a lot of local produce.”
Anne Daleon, Class of 1979, works in the Farm Patch’s plant Department and has spent her whole life in the horticulture industry. She uses her knowledge to assist customers on any questions they have about plants.
“I tell them to bring pictures, sun orientation, and I’ll be happy to sketch out a little landscape design for them,” Daleon said.
Daleon said throughout all of her experience in the horticulture industry, she enjoys working in family businesses the most.
“I like the family owned atmosphere,” Daleon said. “I’ve worked for big companies and I’ve worked for family owned businesses, and I’d greatly prefer family owned businesses to big companies.”
Mark said he and his sons work great together as they keep each other up to date with the current world.
“Because I’m old fashioned, they keep up with things like, ‘Dad you got to get on Facebook, and do this and that’, so they bring ideas that I never did use, and I tell them ideas, so it’s a good combination on both of us,” Mark said.