Meet the Maker: Two Brooks Farm

  • , by Amber Chase
  • 3 min reading time
Owners of Two Brooks Farms in a field

Two Brooks Farm has been in the Wagner family since 1993, the same year the owners’ son Lawrence Wagner was born. Over the following decades, this property in the Mississippi Delta evolved into a benchmark farm-to-table gourmet rice farm. 

The Mississippi Delta’s rich clay soil is surrounded by a lot of sandy land where cotton, beans, and corn predominantly grow. “You really don’t see a lot of rice,” explains Lawrence. His family’s particular acreage was often avoided due to the heavy presence of clay and many farmers went broke trying to get similar plots to grow cotton. His dad, however, had a different plan. He leaned into the concept of rice growing and spent his time leveling the fields, building irrigation systems, and constructing roads for navigability. He strategically “staircased” his fields so the water could be pumped out of a nearby river and integrated throughout the rice crop. His goal was to make the land manageable and hoped it would become profitable.

The land and waterways at Two Brooks Farm

This method worked magic for the rice and created a swampy landscape that brought about the next evolution of the crop via an influx of migratory birds. The abundant standing water and proximity to the central Mississippi flyway brings migratory waterfowl to the farm by the thousands. These geese and ducks are not only a spectacle to behold, but an integral part of Two Brook’s Farm harvest. With thousands of waterfowl stomping through the fields, the Wagners discovered these birds were actively tilling the ground and fertilizing the fields, providing all macro and most all micronutrients. This significantly cut down fertilizer costs and allowed the Wagners to lean into natural means of maintaining their crop. In many ways, nature works hand-in-hand with the processes at Two Brooks Farm, organically aiding the farming in holistic, communal harmony. 

While Mississippi isn’t the first place to come to mind for many people when they think of rice, it is the fifth largest producer in the United States. Leaning into purchasing from these smaller rice farms will allow the farmers to focus less on exports, and keep American rice crops within the states for improved freshness and further economic benefit. 

A handful of Two Brooks Farm rice

“People will always need rice,” muses Wagner, and “When they taste ours, they just go wild.” At trade shows, Two Brooks Farm serves their samples cooked in chicken broth with butter, salt, and pepper. This simple presentation is all it takes to get customers hooked. 

Another product they’ve leaned into heavily is their rice grits, which are really fine grains of rice that will cook similarly to grits or risotto. “These are irresistible with a little cheese and cream,” adds Lawrence’s wife, Sarah. The two met at a tradeshow when Sarah purchased some rice. They were married in December of 2022, and, naturally, Two Brooks Farm rice was thrown. Sarah and Lawrence’s sister, Abby, manage the sales and marketing for the company, and Lawrence remains dedicated to the brains and brawn of the operation. 

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