Our History

8 Generations of Experience

The FLAVOR 1st family roots run deep in the produce industry. The company’s origin dates to 1798 when James Noble Johnson began farming in the fertile soils of Buncombe County, North Carolina. After 8 generations, his descendants continue to grow, pack and ship produce.

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 owner has a lifetime of involvement in the produce business and each brings his own level of expertise to the operation.


Today, FLAVOR 1st operations are still 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 1st’s owner-operated farm and repacking facility are in the same area; however, the operation stretches beyond the North Carolina Mountains. We provide the highest quality product on the market and have expanded our distribution network to everything east of the Mississippi River.

Our Timeline