Outdoor family fun is year-round
Whether you’re looking for spring gardening, summer produce, fall fun or winter cheer, farm markets across Kentucky offer a uniquely local experience. By interacting directly with farms—often on-site—guests can enjoy fresh foods and value-added goods while connecting with the people and places that produce them.
Here are just a few of the Kentucky farm markets you won’t want to miss. Note that market times can change with the seasons, so be sure to check hours and product availability before planning a visit.
Walker’s Family Farms, Hardy
As fall turns toward winter, Walker’s Family Farms in Pike County should be on your bucket list for late season produce, hand-stirred apple butter and, when the sap starts to flow around February, maple syrup. Visitors are welcome to call ahead and plan a visit to watch apple butter or maple syrup production (masks required).
During the growing season, the farm sells produce on-site and at the Pikeville Farmer’s Market, from heirloom tomatoes and rare varieties of beans to more exotic items like Carolina Reaper chilis and Asian pears.
“My grandfather was born and raised on a farm, raised his family there, and he’d drive around town and sell the extra from his garden,” says David Walker, who runs the farm with his dad, Donald, son Eli and daughter Mackenzie. “I found it weird that 60 years later I kind of do the same thing.”
Hours are seasonal, so it’s recommended to call ahead; the best way to keep up with farm news is their Facebook page: Walker’s Family Farms.
Hinton’s Orchard & Farm Market, Hodgenville and Elizabethtown
With an orchard in Hodgenville and a market in Elizabethtown, Hinton’s Orchard & Farm Market offers an agricultural experience for every season. Throughout November, apples, pumpkins and cider reign supreme, and with the holidays in December, both locations offer pies, fruit and gift baskets, Christmas trees and decorations.
In the spring, the Elizabethtown market is a destination for plants, and soil and garden needs, and it offers produce and fresh baked goods throughout the growing season. During the summer, a wide variety of fruits and vegetables tempt patrons, with peaches taking center stage.
Fall is the most exciting time of all, says Jeremy Hinton, who runs the farm with his wife, Joanna. The season that just concluded in October was different, due to COVID-19, but the farm still offered its signature hayride (substituting easy-to-clean benches for straw bales), a 3-acre corn maze, a kids play area (modified with safety precautions), and, of course, pumpkins.
“We feel it’s very important that we’re a connection between the consumer and the farm,” Hinton says. “We take that part very seriously.”
McGlasson Farms, Hebron
With a history stretching back to the 1860s, McGlasson Farms is a northern Kentucky destination for fresh fruits and vegetables. Operated by fifth-generation farmer Ginni McGlasson with help from her sons, the farm offers strawberries, sweet corn, tomatoes, fall squash, three varieties of sweet potatoes, a sunflower patch, apples, cider, maple syrup and more.
McGlasson has enough experience with the vagaries of weather to know that every year brings its own challenges. That was true this year, as a late frost in May resulted in a nearly 80% apple crop loss. The farm still offers apples and cider, but visitors should call ahead to check availability. The rest of the farm’s products weren’t affected.
McGlasson says uncertainty is part of the job description.
“Most people really don’t know how hard farming is,” she says. “You can be doing everything right, the trees are in full bloom, and then Mother Nature comes in and wipes it all away. When you grow up and do this your whole life and do it for a living, you do love it, or you wouldn’t do it. People thank us all the time, and that means a lot to us. We really appreciate it.”
Freelance writer JOEL SAMS is a Millville native who likes nothing better than a good Kentucky story.