No, not this little piggy, but to buy farm-fresh produce at a local farmers market
April showers brought May flowers and lots of them—in hanging baskets and in ready-to-plant containers. Those showers also yielded blooming strawberries, broccoli, and cabbage. And before long, sweet corn, tomatoes, and green beans will be ready to pick, too. At these farmers markets, you can find all of this and more.
Poore’s Nursery & Farms
“It started out as more or less a hobby,” Russell Poore says of the Russellville farmers market he and wife, Patsy, opened in 1960.
Now a fourth-generation, family-run farm in Logan County, much of the business’ longevity can be attributed to the Poores’ commitment to selling quality products at reasonable prices, as well as their unique operation method—the honor system. Market customers pay for produce by simply slipping their money into a wooden box on the counter, allowing the Poores more time to tend to their 7-acre orchard and seven greenhouses. It also enables them to embark on new ventures, like experimenting with growing early tomatoes in bags in a high-tunnel greenhouse this year.
Last fall, they began growing several acres of kale and collard, turnip, and mustard greens, all for the recently opened Champion Petfoods USA in nearby Auburn, the first United States location for the Canadian dog and cat food company. “They’re using a lot of local ingredients,” says Poore, who also serves as chairman for both the Kentucky Farm Bureau Certified Roadside Farm Market Program and Horticulture Commodity Committee. “Some of their recipes call for these greens.”
Whether raising produce for people or for pets, Poore is especially proud of the way his family works together to make locally grown foods available for others. “We’re family-oriented, and we enjoy what we do,” he says.
Dennison’s Roadside Market
Nearly 22 years ago, Kathy and Paul Dennison, owners of Dennison’s Roadside Market in Horse Cave, were approached by a Hart County Extension agent about growing tomatoes commercially. Once the tomatoes ripened, Kathy says they didn’t all meet the cooperative’s needs for “a perfect palm-sized tomato.” Some were too red, too green, or too large. So Kathy placed the tomatoes on a front-yard picnic table. They soon began selling by the pound and by the bucketful.
Customers then asked the Dennisons to sell even more homegrown produce, so they expanded their market by building onto the side of a tobacco barn on their farm. “That’s when we started growing different varieties of different things,” Kathy says.
Today, besides selling homegrown fruits and vegetables, the Dennisons sell other locally made products, such as Penn’s country ham, Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese, and Chaney’s Dairy Barn ice cream. They also feature handmade goods like brooms, wooden bowls and Amish baskets, and even lawn furniture like swings, gliders, and rockers.
Kathy says Dennison’s sells quality products at a fair price, adding, “We don’t want to sell anything that we wouldn’t buy ourselves.”
If you’re traveling through Pulaski County this summer and your taste buds are hankering for fresh sweet corn and tomatoes, head right on over to Hail’s Farm in the big red barn on state Highway 461 near Somerset.
Hail’s Farm owner Orville Hail Jr. says he’s been farming nearly all of his life. But it was in 2005 when he first opened the red barn doors and began offering a variety of fruits and vegetables to the community. “We’ve got about anything,” Hail says, adding that he and his family raise nearly 40 acres of produce on their farm about 4 miles from the market. “That’s a whole lot of produce.”
Hail takes pride in offering consumers just-harvested produce straight from his fields each day. “We pick the corn in the morning, so it’ll be fresh,” he explains. “If you pick corn in the afternoon, it won’t be good.” Beans, cucumbers, and other crops are also handpicked daily.
Something else Hail values is affordability so that everyone can enjoy homegrown produce. “We try to keep the prices down where people can buy it,” he says.
“Why don’t we do something we know and love?” Marc and Harriet Carey pondered that question when they first thought of opening a business on their Owen County farm. They had fed their family with fruits and vegetables they’d raised themselves for 30 years, so they began exploring the possibility of sharing their homegrown produce with others.
After visiting other farmers markets across the country, the Careys returned home and opened Steepleview Farm in 2014. With their commitment to offering fresh, wholesome produce, Marc says the products they raise are 100 percent non-GMO (genetically modified organisms), as well as pesticide-free.
The Careys are also dedicated to ensuring patrons have access to homegrown products that aren’t readily available elsewhere, such as exotic herbs, lettuces, and peppers. They sell heirloom tomato pasta sauce and honey apple salsa, made from the Careys’ own recipes. “We’re testing the market,” Marc says. “We’re really trying to find out what works and what doesn’t.”
One thing that is definitely working for the Careys is their Upper Texas Smokehouse at Steepleview. Here, customers can dine on backwoods-style, hickory-cooked pulled pork or wood-fired artisan pizzas, based on the Vera Pizza Napoletana method, which mandates very strict guidelines for both ingredients and preparation technique, focusing on the crust rather than the toppings.
Marc says, “People have really taken to the idea that when they come to the market, they’re not just coming to get tomatoes and corn. They’re coming to get fed an uncommonly good meal.”
Farm fresh—and certified
in 1996, the Kentucky Farm Bureau Certified Roadside Farm Market program began as an initiative to help farmers market their fruits and vegetables directly from roadside markets to consumers across the Commonwealth. Now in its 21st year, it encompasses 89 member markets in 61 counties. Look for the cornucopia logo sign at certified markets. For more information, visit www.kyfb.com/roadside or on Facebook, Kentucky Certified Roadside Farm Market Program.
Besides offering some of the freshest fruits and vegetables around, a trip to the farmers market is a fun, family experience everyone can enjoy. Be sure to stop by these markets we’ve handpicked just for you. All are Kentucky Farm Bureau Certified Roadside Farm Market members and feature Kentucky Proud products.
Beech Springs Farm Market
4776 Old Boonesboro Road
Winchester, KY 40391
Open May–Oct., 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Sat.; noon–5 p.m. Sun.
State Route 425 Bypass
Henderson, KY 42420
Roadside market open June–Aug., 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Sat.; closed Sun.
Dennison’s Roadside Market
5824 S. Jackson Hwy.
Horse Cave, KY 42749
Open April–Dec., 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Sat.; noon–5 p.m. Sun.
Devine’s Farm & Corn Maze
623 Talmage-Mayo Road
Harrodsburg, KY 40330
Open May–Oct. May–Aug., 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Sat.; closed Sun. Sept.–Oct., open to public Fri.–Sun. only; school field trips by appointment during the week.
Facebook: Fannin’s Vegetable Farm
2140 Hwy. 460 W
West Liberty, KY 41472
Open May to mid-Oct., 9 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Mon.–Fri.; 9 a.m.–3:30 p.m. Sat.; closed Sun.
1029 Vigo Road
Shelbyville, KY 40065
Open April–Oct., 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Sat.; 1–5 p.m. Sun. Bakery, café serving lunch Mon.–Fri. 11 a.m.–2 p.m.
3115 Hwy. 461
Somerset, KY 42503
Open May–Oct., 9 a.m.–7 p.m., 7 days a week.
Hinton’s Orchard & Farm Market
8631 Campbellsville Road
Hodgenville, KY 42748
Open April–Dec. Spring hours 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Sat.; also open Sun. 1–6 p.m. July–Oct.
5832 River Road
Hebron, KY 41048
Open July–Oct., 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Fri.; 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat. and Sun. Nov. open Sat. and Sun. only, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Poore’s Nursery & Farms
5486 Morgantown Road
Russellville, KY 42276
Open April–Nov., 7 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Sat.; closed Sun.
Helping seniors and farmers
The federally funded Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program is committed to gaining market access for farmers, as well as to improving nutrition of Kentuckians ages 60 and over by providing better access to fresh fruits and vegetables. For eligibility information and income guidelines, visit www.kyagr.com and search “Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program.” Note: Vouchers provided on a first-come, first-served basis.
Many Kentucky roadside and farmers markets are also certified Kentucky Proud. To find out what it takes to earn the Kentucky Proud designation, visit www.kyproud.com.