The story of Falcon Ridge Farm begins many generations back when the Gilmer and Bryan families of Shelby County farmed thousands of acres in what is now Collierville and Eads. Over the years, the families farmed many different crops and stocks including cotton, soybeans, corn, wheat, hay, cattle, pigs, chickens, and show horses. Through the years the farm shrank to about 100 acres in Eads. This land belonged to Mary Ellen Bryan’s family. When she married Ray Gilmer in 1973, it became the Gilmer/Bryan farm. Ray, Mary Ellen, and her parents, Floyd and Sue still lived on the farm. Ray had begun a successful career as a horse trainer while Floyd kept farming row crops. The horse training operation saw much success over the years, claiming dozens of national awards in the show horse circuit. While Ray was training horses, he always kept raising cattle, growing and baling his own hay, and Mary Ellen and her parents kept an amazing vegetable garden. Ray and Mary Ellen would go on to have three children: Brad, Erica, and Bart. They were happy to raise their children in the same place they had been raised.
In the 1990s, Memphis was set to annex the farm in Eads putting it within the city limits. Never being “city folks”, the family made the decision to move back out to the country. Having family in living Jackson, they knew they wanted to find land between Memphis and Jackson. They began their search in Hardeman county where they looked at a 250-acre farm with beautiful rolling hills, a spring-fed creek, and good soil. They instantly fell in love with the farm and the community in which it was located. As it turned out, that would be the only farm they would look at! They purchased the land in the fall of 2000.
At the time, Ray and Mary Ellen were still heavily involved in show horses. When they made the move, they brought more than 200 horses with them! One of those horses was named Generator’s Falcon. “Falcon”, as most referred to him, was a beautiful and talented black stallion and was Mary Ellen’s favorite. On the farm, there was a ridge that dropped straight down about 30-feet into a spring-fed creek that was a favorite spot for Ray and Mary Ellen when they looked at the farm the first time, so the new farm became Falcon Ridge Farm.
By 2006, Bart was back home working on the farm full time. He met a dark-haired beauty named Becky Green through the horse business who he would later marry. Unfortunately, around this time the horse business had taken a downward turn and the Gilmers were not sure that the horses alone would provide enough to support two families. They began formulating a new vision for the farm. That vision was a place where top-notch fruit and vegetables were grown and where many families could come visit and experience good old-fashioned fam fun!
In 2009, FRF hosted its first Fall Festival complete with a pumpkin patch and corn maze. The following spring, they planted an acre of blueberries and had an Easter Festival. In the following years, the farm added nearly 40 different crops, a thriving CSA program, thousands of Christmas trees, a flourishing cut-flower business and now hosts more than 10,000 visitors to the farm each year.