Mt. Folly - Story

Laura's Lean Beef to Mt. Folly Farm

I’ve been farming all of my adult life. After the cattle market crashed in 1983, I founded Laura’s Lean Beef Company. As it grew, the company became a complex puzzle of capital, 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, and taught me many lessons about the shape of our food system.

Alice (daughter) spraying Compost Tea in the Organic Corn Field

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. We’ve built a strong local team and are expanding our organic and non-gmo grain operation, and developing the retail products to go with it.

Local Economy

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.

Our cows grazing in a field.

It is just possible: raised here; processed here; sold through an online store pretty much anywhere.

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, museum and office and will be opening in August. Check facebook for this, or, if you don’t use facebook, email me at laura@laurasmercantile.com.