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Our History

The FLAVOR 1st family roots run deep in the produce industry. The companyís origin dates back to 1798 when James Noble Johnson began farming in the fertile soils of Buncombe County, North Carolina. After 8 generations, his descendents continue to grow, pack and ship produce. Now, the business operates as FLAVOR 1st Growers & Packers. We maintain a commitment to providing the highest quality product on the market and have expanded our distribution network to everything east of the Mississippi River, with trucks running daily from South Florida to Boston and everywhere in between. Our main focus is vine ripe tomatoes and a full line of southern vegetables that are packaged and sold to grocery chain stores and other wholesale buyers.

In 1998, Kirby Johnson and Mitch Gaither formed Johnson Farms Repack. In 2003, family member Brian Rose came aboard as an owner and the company name was changed to FLAVOR 1st Growers & Packers. Each of the three owners has a lifetime of involvement in the produce business and each brings his own level of expertise to the operation.

FLAVOR 1stís operations are centered in the fertile mountain valley of Mills River, North Carolina. The Mills River community is located just north of Hendersonville and south of Asheville. FLAVOR 1stís owner-operated farm and repacking facility are located in the same area; however, the operation stretches beyond the North Carolina Mountains.


1798 Noble Johnson begins farming in North Carolina Mountains
1900 Josiah Johnson moves to Henderson County to begin farming (Grandson of Noble Johnson, Grandfather of Kirby Johnson and Great-Grandfather of Brian Rose)
1950 Josiah Johnson begins a produce packinghouse and auction company in Hendersonville
1979 Kirby Johnson enters the produce business
1998 Farm operation, known as Mountain Bean Growers formed with partners: Mitch Gaither, Kirby Johnson
2003 Brian Rose becomes joint owner. Company name changed to FLAVOR 1st Growers & Packers

828-890-3630 • Fax: 828-890-0962
Flavor 1st Growers and Packers, Inc
FLAVOR 1st Growers & Packers
331 Banner Farm Road
Mills River, North Carolina 28759
Email FLAVOR 1st