Carlton Brooks and Constance Ober, owners of Prospect Farm in Buckingham County, return to Mathews, once their home, every other Saturday to feature their local grass-fed beef. Noah Cannon of Mathews, right, listens as Constance explains the cut of beef he wants to purchase. Photo by Betty Wrenn Day
Former Mathews residents Constance Ober and Carlton Brooks returned when the Mathews Farmers’ Market opened this spring. They came with product in hand to show friends and neighbors what in 2006 had lured them away from “our adopted hometown of Mathews.”
Constance and Carlton are the owners and operators of Prospect Farm in central Virginia where they raise Black Angus and heritage Devon-Cross cows (an old heritage British breed), and process and sell the grass-fed beef.
Making the decision to change almost completely the lifestyle that they had enjoyed so very much in Mathews was perhaps always in the back of their minds. “Carlton had always wanted to be a teacher and I had a growing interest in natural farming methods as well as a concern about the quality of our food from conventional farming sources,” said Constance. After much thought those interests came together: “We decided that our lives’ next chapter would be in the rolling hills of the Virginia Piedmont. It was then we were able to purchase our 171-acre farm on the line of Buckingham and Cumberland counties.”
It has been a busy six years since this couple took on their dream projects. Carlton attended Longwood University receiving his teaching license and is teaching English at Buckingham County High School. Constance improved the soil and pastures of their old farm and started raising cattle. “We installed a new well and almost six miles of fencing to keep the cows out of the pond and creek to help clean them up; the creek runs into the Willis and James Rivers and ultimately, the Bay.”