Laura Photosynthesis

By golly, I think we’ve got it! 

Got what? you ask.

A way to farm which fixes many problems in our food system.

Here at Mt. Folly, we practice regenerative agriculture, and have coupled this with a local, shortened supply chain, creating an economy we can watch closely and manage safely. It’s a resilient farm and a resilient economy. 

Like most organic pioneers, my story has 38 years of twists and turns, with several major challenges. Coronavirus is the latest and most serious in the short term, though carbon pollution looms large behind it.

Before the pandemic, my husband drew this diagram, which is meant to be funny. We don’t think we are hillbillies, and we don’t farm with mules. We do have a still (three of them, actually), so he’s got the right idea. The crops we raise go right to our distillery and farm kitchen, or out in the mail to our national customers.

Mt. Folly Farm and Wildcat Willy's in the Lexington Herald.
Mt. Folly Farm and Wildcat Willy's in the Lexington Herald

Here is how I got here:

I started running a mid-sized family farm in 1982. There was trouble right from the beginning. The farm community was reeling from a drought and the government dairy buy-out, which caused cattle prices to plunge. In 1985, I founded the Laura’s Lean Beef Company. We raised antibiotic and hormone-free natural beef. Back then, I might have been ahead of the times, but the market caught up, and Laura’s became a prosperous national company.

This time around (I had a serious horseback riding accident and sold the company in 2008), our purpose is to address climate change while staying in business and creating green jobs in a poor state. We have gone local, with a market garden, fertile grain fields, pastured beef, chickens and goats. We sell our perishable farm production at Wildcat Willy’s Distillery and Farm-to-Table Restaurant in downtown Winchester, Kentucky. With our corn, wheat, rye, and sweet potatoes, we make moonshine and, soon, will unkeg our bourbon.

Laura’s Homestead Alternatives Hemp products are sold online by mail nationally, and regionally in brick and mortar shops.​

During the coronavirus outbreak, our national Homestead Alternatives customers started requesting a more extensive Mt. Folly food selection. Thus, we’ve added to the Laura’s Mercantile website more grits, cornmeal and heritage wheat and rye for baking.  

Here at Mt. Folly, we’ve restored a 1790’s pioneer log house, now with all the modern conveniences. It is available on Air B&B and VRBO, and guests have the run of the farm. 

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.

Many thanks…

USDA Organic
Organic Certification
Mt. Folly Farm - Hickory King Corn Meal, Corn, and Honey.


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!

Mt. Folly Farm - Bowl


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

Wildcat Willy's Logo
Mt Folly Farm
Laura's Hemp Chocolates Logo