Who are we?
Allred Farms is a rare entity. We’re more than a family farm. We are farmers, eclectic artisans, activists, mystics, poets, cynics, and naturalists. We start with non-GMO cotton seeds, finishing with a line of clothing we can be proud to market and you can be just as proud to wear. We think of it as a “farm to body experience.” From our farm to your bodies and homes, we take great pride ensuring our cotton is handled with love and care, infusing it with positive energy from the first day the plants see sunshine to the day they are harvested to various stages of manufacturing to the moment we ship the final product directly to you.
For over 100 years, our family has grown cotton, and it is our duty to make sure we raise the healthiest crop possible. If you are wearing, carrying or eating something from our farm, you can be confident you’ve made an excellent choice that is supporting not only an environmentally-friendly family farm and business but your own health and well-being.
Birth of Allred Farms
The idea of creating Allred Farms came to me years ago. My uncle Dwayne Allred (my mother’s only brother) passed away when he was only eight-years-old in 1963. The Herm legacy would be carried on by my sons, but I was afraid the Allred legacy would soon fade away. With no Allred men to carry on the family name, I started Allred Farm & Gardens. It began as just a very small business to sell fruits and vegetables out of my personal garden, but soon evolved into much more with Jennie’s creative input. She was wanting to start her own line of yoga clothing. I told her it was always my dream to start a small clothing company with cotton we grew on our family farm. Over a couple bottles of wine one night, we began to throw out ideas that would become the foundation for Allred Farms.
We tabled the idea for another year, thinking our concepts were just too damn crazy to work at the time. By the next summer, the dream slowly became a reality as more creative ideas flowed between us. Jennie came up with the idea for a classic throwback work shirt to celebrate the blue collar mentality of the United States in a classic time period when we still made really wonderful things that lasted a long time. This is quite contrary to today’s “if it’s broke, throw it away” mentality. She also wanted other clothing items which symbolized the hard-working and innovative genius of Americano that helped shape this country in the first half of the 20th century. In the same breath, I was frustrated with the commodities market dictating our cotton prices, other companies and individuals making most of the money off the cotton we worked so hard to get to harvest, and even more bothered by genetically-modified crops dominating our industry and neighboring fields.
In a time period where most of American manufacturing has been shipped overseas, we wanted to bring back some of the spirit of this country that made it great. We wanted to make things that would last but were also stylish and beautiful. We wanted to grow our own crop and actually create something from our own cotton fibers. And we wanted to manufacture everything right here in the USA. Who better to sell you meaningful, high-quality clothing than the person who planted its seed and nurtured it into fruition both physically, intellectually, and spiritually?
At Allred Farms, we emphasize quality, hard work, and creativity. We focus on putting more into our clothing rather than cutting corners to save a few pennies. Growing only non-GMO and organic cotton, we strive to have an intimate relationship with nature and our surrounding ecosystem. Our crops are not irrigated, so we rely solely on rainfall to make it happen. We use no pesticides or synthetic fertilizers in growing our cotton. While some of our farm is not certified organic, we are making strides in getting there.
Eric & Jennie's story
Not long after my divorce, Jennie and I met and began talking daily on the phone. She came to visit me on the farm in April of 2013. She stayed for just a few days, but we were both hooked. We had so much in common, it was scary. Several weeks passed and she left Santa Fe once again to come visit. Her car broke down just outside of Roswell, New Mexico. She called, saying she could get some friends from Santa Fe to come pick her up, but I said, “Wait right there. I’m coming to get you.” I drove like a madman 200 miles the whole way to find her smiling, beautiful face beside Highway 380 literally in the middle of nowhere. A tow truck took her car back to Roswell, and I brought Jennie to the farm…and she never left.
Her engine was blown, and my heart was full. We were both crazy in love (on top of being just plain crazy) and knew we didn’t want to be apart. Months later we drove up to Santa Fe, packed her belongings in a trailer, drove back to the family farm in Texas, and began a new chapter in life together. She said she always wanted to be with a farmer. Years later, I’m starting believe she was serious.
Along with Allred Farms, we are always working, contriving, or creating some crazy idea together. Sometimes we are a pain in each other’s ass. But in the end, we focus on our love for one another…and eventually it all works out in the end.
Allred homestead and family history
In 1918, my great-grandparents John Columbus and Effie May Allred bought their first 160 acres of farmland in Howard County, between Knott and Ackerly, Texas. A few years later, they bought another 160 acres a few miles west where better and stronger water existed along Buzzards Draw.
Farming with teams of horses back in those days, they raised three strong, mischievous boys: Cecial, Reedy, and my grandfather Donald. Working as deputy sheriff of Howard County, John slowly handed over more farming duties to his sons. All three boys grew into men who farmed in Howard County and raised their own families within three miles of their homestead.
My grandfather Donald married Hazel Harland before being shipped off to Italy to begin his services in the Army for World War II. Upon his return, he built a house half a mile down the road from his parents, where they lived and raised my mother Don Nell and uncle Dwayne, who died of diabetes in 1963. In the early 1950’s, my grandfather purchased purchased the 160 acres south of the original homestead. Later that decade he acquired the 160 acres to the west. A few years after my father Eddy Herm married my mother in 1967, Donald and Hazel built another house just down the road.
Reedy and Rosa Lee Allred raised their children in the original homestead house on Buzzards Draw, after John and Effie May moved half a mile down the road in 1971 into the house my grandfather built in 1947. My great-grandfather John passed away in 1977. Effie May passed a couple of years later due to complications during a routine surgery in a Big Spring hospital. Reedy and Rosa Lee moved into their house not long after and sold the original house (built in 1923) along with 2.5 acres to Garry and Libby Radford in the early 1980s. They raised their two children Marcus and Jennie Carr.
My grandfather retired from farming in 1980 and my father, Eddy, took over the family farm. By the mid 1990s, he had expanded his farming operation from 1,200 acres to nearly 8,000 acres, becoming one of the largest farmers in the area. Working tireless summers as a child and adolescent, I left the farm after college to pursue other interests.
Returning to the farm in 2005, my farming career was re-birthed. Farming with my Dad, I purchased a few acres and the house of the original Allred homestead from the Radfords in 2007. I wanted to return to some of the old ways of a family farm. My oldest son, Wyatt, was less than one-year-old when we moved in that spring. The house was in excellent condition, but I began to remodel the house little at a time. In 2010, I built an adobe addition to the house. My youngest son, Donovan, was born in this house. My two sons are the fifth generation of family to live in this house. Jennie moved in with us in 2013 and began putting her own love, style, and personality into the house and farm. For that, we are grateful.
After coming back, I slowly began to evolve our farm into a healthier, more sustainable operation by eliminating synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. I began using organic fertilizers. I purchased 250 acres of my own land in 2008 and it is now fully certified organic. Making a conscious choice to farm less acres in a healthier manner, I went my own way. I now focus on my organic acres while attempting to transition more family acres into organic production, including the original 160 acres around my great-grandparents' (the Allred) homestead. Today we grow wheat, oats, barley, black-eyed peas and cotton organically while rotating in other conventional cash crops and cover crops on an annual basis.