FROM LAURA'S LEAN BEEF TO MT. FOLLY ENTERPRISES
I’ve known since I started farming in 1982 that running a mid-sized family farm is a tall order. Reeling from a drought and the government dairy buy-out, which caused cattle prices to plunge, I founded the Laura's Lean Beef Company. We raised antibiotic and hormone-free natural beef. Three decades ago, I might have been ahead of the times, but the market caught up, and Laura's became a prosperous national company.
This time around (we sold Laura’s in 2008 and I’ve recovered from a serious horseback riding accident.) I'm doing something similar in spirit, but different in important ways. My products will always be good for our health and the health of family farms. But this time we are going local, limiting highway food miles, and pairing the local with the global through an online store, Laura's Mercantile.
Here at Mt. Folly, we have one of the largest organic grain farms in the state. We participate in the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s hemp pilot program. The health benefits of hemp led us to make Laura’s Hemp Chocolates and Laura's Homestead Alternatives CBD hemp products. Mt. Folly’s heritage grains have their own fan club -- so much so that we built our own granary, where we mill cornmeal, grits, and other special grains, grown right here. Since our local economy is part of our plan, we are renovating a historic building for a new distillery, Wildcat Willy's, and have launched The Moonshine Trail.
We have restored a 1790’s pioneer log house, now with all the modern conveniences. This is the focal point of our commitment to open the farm to the public seasonally, at planting, high summer, harvest, and mid-winter. To make sure you are on the invitation list, join our email group.
As you can tell, we are always busy. But I don’t let a day go by without getting away. Often, I just hike to the back. There is barely cell phone coverage. It’s great.
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
In the 1920's, her guests seated for a dinner party in the dining room of her
“Delco House,” Rachel Ware Bush watched the lights dim as she served the soup. She nodded to her husband to go outside and pour more kerosene in the generator to charge the battery bank in the basement.
She laughed, rapped her fork on her glass, raised a toast and christened the home place “Mt. Folly.” So goes the story my grandmother told me, and thus it stays: Mt. Folly Farm, cobbled together from pioneer holdings, Civil War exigencies, and Fortuna. When I was young, my friends told me that calling the farm Mt. Folly made light of the effort it took to farm organically.
Years later, I don’t take myself so seriously, though I still work like the devil.
And I’ve kept the name!