Farming in Franklin County is not merely an occupation; it’s a force that bolsters the local job market, strengthens the overall economy, and upholds cherished community values. With over 160,000 acres of farmland, constituting an impressive 38% of the county’s total acreage, Franklin County boasts a rich variety of agriculture within its borders. From expansive dairy and beef operations to the meticulous care of vegetables, nursery crops, and welcoming farm stands, the county’s agricultural landscape not only adds to its natural beauty but also fuels its economic prowess, making it a magnet for prospective residents and visitors alike.

Anthony and Tonja Martin stand proudly at the helm of Martin’s Ponderosa Farm, a shining example of Franklin County’s thriving agricultural community in Penhook. As retirees turned full-time farmers, their dedication resonates with the heart of this county, where farming is not just a way of life but a cornerstone of the local economy. Their presence is felt weekly at the Rocky Mount Farmer’s Market, where they showcase the fruits of their labor, and their charming farm stand on their property provides a steady source of local meat and produce throughout the week.

What Part of Franklin County Do You Live In?

We officially moved to Penhook in December 2022. We moved from Union Hall. We purchased the farm in December 2019. We have been cleaning up since then. 

What Is Your Favorite Thing About Living in Franklin County?

We love “country living” with plenty of space to work and enjoy life. 

What Do You Do for Fun Outside Work?

We are NASCAR fans. I enjoy watching the race on TV and going to the Martinsville Speedway twice a year. And yes, we are Bubba Wallace fans.

What Is Your Go-To Conversation Starter?

“We are retired but decided to be full-time farmers.”

What Does #FranklinCountyShines Mean to You?

Franklin County Shines means that we have an opportunity to do something that helps others shine as well. We produce food, and others get to enjoy farm fresh foods at a reasonable price. Not raising prices and lowering our quality to make a profit.

What Advice Do You Have for Finding or Meeting New People?

Tonja is a social “butterfly;” she never meets a stranger. She talks to everyone that will make eye contact.

What Professional Groups/Organizations Are You Involved In?

Virginia State University is working closely with us to help us with our farming endeavors.

Franklin County Shines is a series about the people and places that make Franklin County one of the best places to live, work, and play. #FranklinCountyShines