Randy Clanton Sr. changed tomato farming in Bradley County, Arkansas. Raised in Johnsville, Arkansas by farmers, he was destined to be in the field. Known locally as “Big Randy,” he grew up on his family’s second-generation farm. Big Randy did not know within forty years, the same farm would be the state’s largest producer of vine ripened tomatoes, which are ripened to full color on the vine before being picked.
Arkansas Grown Diamond Member Clanton Farms is a fifth-generation producer of tomatoes, cabbage, squash, zucchini, watermelon and other assorted produce. The company sells fresh commodities across the country, serving wholesale and retail, including Walmart.
“Daddy has built a farm that’s four times as big as any other,” said Randy Clanton Jr., Big Randy’s youngest son.
Randy Jr. said his dad is the best salesman and people person he has ever known.
“He has more knowledge about growing tomatoes and vegetables as anyone I’ve met,” said Randy Jr.
Big Randy was more than an entrepreneur, he was an innovator. He envisioned a dream for his company that was greater than any farmer around him or any generation before him.
Ultimately, Big Randy said the best thing about farm life is keeping family close. Big Randy has been happily married to his wife, Judy, since 1970. Together, they have three children and five grandchildren.
“I get a lot of joy out of kids and grandkids coming in and experiencing some of the things I experienced growing up,” said Big Randy.
Big Randy credits his father, Hollis, for teaching him hard work and discipline. The farm has recently been passed onto Randy Jr. He said he is prepared to run the operation the same or better than his father.
“I’ve sat beside him for 20 years while he groomed me for this,” said Randy Jr.
Randy Jr. said some of the best memories with his dad took place the first year he began to learn to sell produce.
“Marketing tomatoes is the most valuable thing he’s taught me,” said Randy Jr. “Those are skills I will use forever and to get that knowledge from the best salesman in Arkansas is so valuable.”
You can find Clanton Farms here and read more about the Clanton family in the 2019 edition of Arkansas Grown.
The Diamond Circle Membership to Arkansas Grown is the top tier of membership offered to producers and makers who desire a customizable Arkansas Grown benefit package. Learn more about the Diamond Circle Tier here.