"My father, Charles Eddy "Chuck" Holmes, was a cotton farmer who started growing onions in 1954- the year I was born. He and Barbara Bernard started Barwise Onion Growers (BOG) that same year. The first two years, Griffin and Brand Produce, Jack Griffin sold their crop. The 1954-1955 season was fantastic, but they soon learned this was beginners luck. 1955-1956 was terrible. My dad loved the story that in 1956 he asked Jack Griffin how low the onion market could go. Jack quickly replied, "10 cents." My dad thought for a minute and replied "well how do you arrive at 10 cents?" Jack replied, "that's my commission." This was my first lesson in the produce industry.
In 1957-1958 they changed sales groups to DeBruyn Produce of Zeeland, Michigan. My father was impressed with their work ethic, honesty and complete transparency. All of these lessons were drilled into me as I grew up.
At 7 years old (1961), I started picking up the empty burlap bags after they had been dumped into the grader at the Barwise Shed. Several years after I was promoted to turning the sacking wheel. I worked on the grader table one summer. When I turned 13 I began driving a forklift and loading trucks and boxcars. We closed down the Barwise Shed in 1969 and diversified with carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers, and pumpkins in the new Hi Plains shed in Floydada. I drove the forklift through high school and every summer through college. In 1976 I worked my junior college summer for DeBruyn in Las Cruces, New Mexico. In May of 1977, I went to work full-time for DeBruyn. The first two years I hired trucks then up moved up to sales. In 1984 I became General Manager of DeBruyn Produce- Weslaco, Texas division.
I started The Onion House in July of 1999 and we have grown each year. I have been very fortunate to work with some of the best growers in Texas. Its the start of my 41st year in the onion business, and as usual I am looking forward to the new challenges."
Chuck Holmes. Hi Plains Farms. Floydada, Texas.
Chuck Holmes planting onions in Gonzalez, Mexico.
Betty Holmes: wife to Chuck Holmes. Hi Plains Farms. Floydada, Texas.
Railroad pumpkin shed, Floydada, Texas. This small shed is still family owned to this day.
Chuck Holmes with pumpkins at railroad shed. Chuck could sell ice to an Eskimo.
Loading onions, 1972.
Carrot line at Hi Plains Shed.
Running carrots, 1972.
DeBruyn newspaper clipping, 1974.
DeBruyn newspaper clipping, 1976.
Betty Holmes overseeing cotton stripping.
Mexican onion crop.
Hi Plains Farms. December, 1990.
Onions curing in burlap bags
Carrot bags and bell pepper cartons at Hi Plains Shed.
Chuck loved red paint.
Spencer Shed. Presidio, Texas. 1990.
Old Ford tractor.
Don Ed Holmes and Steve Kilpatrick checking out a Mexican onion crop.
Mexican onion crop. Don Ed Holmes, Steve Kilpatrick, and Rick Grasmick. 1997.