By Gina Lanaux

I am completely devoted to Devotion, Corn that is. I went to Krupinski Farms in Foley yesterday and bought a half bushel. I cut the kernels off the cob and sauteed them in a pan with butter, salt, and pepper for about 2 minutes. Summer is officially here when the sweet corn comes in and I will eat it for every meal, in fact, I just microwaved an ear for my lunch!

Devotion Sweet Corn is a hybrid, white, supersweet variety that the Krupinski family farm is known for. They were the first in Baldwin County to grow this corn and have sold it directly to the public for 18 years. I learned how delicious it is from reading comments on Facebook and bought some for the first time last year. 

I asked farmer Mark Krupinski how he advertised before social media became popular. “I just put a sign on the corner that said ‘Sweet Corn” and vacationers and locals would stop and buy it. We grew Silver King first, but Devotion is better. Word of mouth is how people learned about us.”  We grew strawberries for 20 years and stopped about 4 years ago.” The farm is between Highway 65 and Highway 59 in Foley, so beachgoers are good customers. “We used to lease the farmland where Home Depot and Lowes (on 59) are now, we farmed 2000 acres back then.”

Mark’s Polish grandfather came to Baldwin County from Nebraska and bought the first 40 acres in 1926, growing mainly potatoes. The next generation was Mark’s father, John, who died last year at the age of 90.  Mark and his brother, Joe, are the proprietors now, along with Mark’s wife Diane, and his mother, Margaret. His son, Alexander, is working on the farm; the youngest son, Nicholas, will be in the fields this summer before going to Auburn to study agriculture in the Fall. “This is a family farm”, Mark said, “ I promised my dad that we would keep it going and my sons want that as well.”  Four generations and almost 100 years in business, this family’s dedication to farming is inspiring.

Farm-to-table is a trendy concept which means food should be grown and harvested locally, then transported and served fresh to the consumer. It’s healthier for people and the planet, as well. The Krupinskis have practiced this conviction for 50 years, starting in Mom Margaret’s 2-car garage at her farmhouse, where she sold mostly corn and tomatoes. 

Several iterations later, the farm stand on their property is a market for everything they grow seasonally: squash, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, watermelons, cantaloupes, cucumbers, and more. It is a seasonal business that will stay open until the end of July. It will reopen in October when fall vegetables like greens, broccoli, and cabbage are harvested. “The family is picking our produce in the field at 6 am. Sometimes my son's friends will help us, but we do everything ourselves. By the end of the season, I will lose 10 pounds and be in great shape!” Mark laughs. 

With the succession of male farmers throughout the generations, I told Mark I hoped his sons would have sons so a fifth-generation farm would exist. He immediately said, “No! Once we had some girls work with us for 4 or 5 summers, they were great field hands. They had young backs and I was sorry when they left for college.”  He is an equal-opportunity kind of guy! 

Weather is a huge factor for farmers and we talked a bit about South Alabama summers. He told me that he likes Devotion corn so much because it takes the weather better; it will stand up to the winds when the summer squalls blow through. When I asked him about rain or lack thereof, he explained, “ We have an old-style hard hose reel that will water about 5 acres at a time. It takes about 7 hours to drag it where it needs to be. Drip systems that are connected to a well are also plumbed into some of the fields.”

Mark says his sons are being trained to take over the farm one day and although education is a good thing, hands-on experience is the best teacher. “The crops we grow are versatile and I learn something new every day.”  The proof is in the beautiful, healthy, delicious local produce he grows and sells. 

Krupinski Farms is located at 18625 Charolais Road in Foley, Alabama. Open Monday through Friday  8 am till 5:30 pm, Saturday 9 am till 4 pm, and Sunday 10 am till 2 pm. 

And now I am going to freeze some of my corn and eat the rest and you should too!

Jun 5, 2024
People & Business Profiles

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