‘You’re going to have to change with the times:’ Female farmers reinvent longtime tobacco farm
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A female farmer is reinventing her family’s Central Kentucky farm to keep up with the changing field of farming.
Stepping Stone Farm is located on the Bourbon/Harrison county line. It had been a tobacco and cattle farm for many years, until recently.
“I am actually the fifth generation here on this farm in Bourbon County,” said Ally Barnett, who co-owns the farm with her brother, Brandon and sister-in-law, Hanna Barnett. “It had been a long-time tobacco and cattle farm.”
Less than one year ago, the ground that Ally and her Hanna Barnett stood on was a cattle pasture. Today, it’s an up-and-coming agri-tourism destination.
“The tobacco industry is declining, and we never really know what’s going to happen each year with the tobacco industry,” said Ally. “We were looking into getting into other avenues.”
When the owners of Reed Valley Orchard, which is two miles down the road, announced their retirement, the Barnetts decided to lease the property and continue its operations.
“It was such a great location, we wanted everybody to have somewhere to come, to play and pick and we wanted to continue their legacy,” Hanna said.
They’ve planted almost 3,000 apple trees, 600 peach trees, two and a half acres of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and tomatoes.
Both locations will be open. They’ll sell the fruits and vegetables grown on the Reed Valley property on their storefront at Stepping Stone Farm.
Ally keeps up with ever-changing field of farming by advertising through Facebook live videos and posting pictures and information online.
Their farm is now multi-use, and still in the family.
“I think about my grandpa,” she said. “I really want to know what he’s thinking because he is the reason that we all love farming so much...I hope he’d be proud of us.”
The farm is open for strawberry picking currently. It will have a sunflower patch starting in July.
To plan your visit, you can visit the farm’s Facebook page.
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