I’ve been farming all of my adult life. A drought and a cattle market price crash in the early 1980s helped me make a decision to start Laura's Lean Beef. As it grew, the company became a complex puzzle of financial management, producer contracting, calling on retail accounts, balancing supply and demand, building a loyal customer base and answering to regulators. It drew me away from the day-to-day of running a farm which I missed, but it taught me many lessons about the shape of the global food system, which I needed to learn.
It took a couple of decades, but we built a nice business. Then in 2005, I had a horseback-riding smash up which put me out of commission for several years. We sold the company, and I thought I might retire. I moved to an island, settled in, but soon wondered how many yoga classes, seminars, and talks could I withstand. I like to work, and my husband is a working man. So back to the farm we came, to start again.
Organic food, grown and processed locally, is the best choice for our health, and for the health of our Kentucky community.
We have more cows in our county than people. That might be a problem, but a young man (a millennial) whose family farms 3 miles down the road, convinced me that we could sell our farm products on the internet. So we are.
This we did. Feeling victorious, we launched our online store “Laura’s Mercantile,” two days before Thanksgiving, 2016. Since then, we’ve expanded our product line to include beloved regional items and hemp CBD products.
We are growing both hemp for grain and hemp for CBDs here on the farm, which is open on Saturdays.
Our online store has an international reach, and our products are distributed in brick and mortar stores regionally
For the past several years, we’ve raised a bounty of organic and non-gmo corn and beans and hemp. We also are raising three varieties of open-pollinated heirloom corn, one of which, Hickory King, we have on the market, with the rest coming this fall. We plan to distill some of these corn varieties as well. To learn more, use the navigation bar above to go to The Moonshine Trail and Laura’s Mercantile.
Not all of our sales are online though. Laura’s Hemp Chocolates and Mt. Folly Hickory King Cornmeal are stocked at local retailers, some of which you might not expect, such as D&S Hardware, our excellent Bluegrass Heritage Museum, and haberdasher and antique saleman Mason’s. In common here is a presence on Main Street, our hometown.
Our chocolates and cornmeal also are available in the Red River Gorge area, Richmond, Berea, Lexington, Versailles, and Louisville. Check the Laura’s Mercantile site for a current list.
So, we are in “the cloud,” and available at local stores, but have a hankering for bricks and mortar of our own, clear out here at the farm. So we’ve remodeled the old summer kitchen building, behind the farm stay log house, for a store, Laura's Mercantile at the Crooked House. Check facebook for times, or, if you don’t use facebook, email me at email@example.com.