News of Seasonal Produce Offerings, Auctions, Events, Agritourism and Farmers in Casey County, Kentucky ~ and the Old Order Mennonite & Amish Communities ~ located in the scenic Knobs Region and agricultural heart of Kentucky.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Fresh Local Produce at Lavern's Country Market

Today I went to Lavern's Country Market to get a watermelon––just a watermelon, mind you. I knew it wouldn't be local yet (but soon!), however Georgia is close enough when you are craving a nice piece of cold, sweet melon. Then I saw the large Georgia cantaloupes: had to have one of those, too (even though Casey County will soon be full of them). Then when I went inside I thought I should grab a cart. Well, a few minutes later I had quite a haul. Most of it was affordable, LOCAL produce and much of that was not only affordable but also organically grown. The rest was grown in the deeper South (not sure about the bananas or celery but American, at least). The best part is that I didn't have sticker shock at the register. My total? $37.00 for everything you see in the photograph above!

Here's the LOCAL breakdown:

  • 6 organic summer squash 
    • ($1 for 6)
  • 3 organic zucchini 
    • ($1 for 3)
  • 2 large bags organic lettuce 
    • ($2 each)
  • 2 large bags of beets 
    • ($2 each)
  • 3 hot-house tomatoes ($2 each)
  • 1 pint organic raspberries ($2.50)
  • 1 pint blueberries ($2.50)

Here's the breakdown for the rest (grown in the US):

  • 1 medium-sized seedless watermelon (Georgia)
  • 1 large cantaloupe (Georgia)
  • 2 large bags carrots ($2 each)
  • 1 bunch celery
  • 1 large bag Vidalia onions
  • 2 bunches of bananas

Who says you can't eat both healthy and affordably, and right here in Casey County? Here there is no need to pay a high premium for locally-grown organic produce or to drive to Danville or Lexington to find it. [Of note is that the organic-local or local summer squash and zukes were the very same price.] Word is out, too, as the parking lot was packed. Best produce in the county, I'd say (well, except for your own or your favorite neighboring farmer...or what you mind find at the Casey County Produce Auction).

Lavern's also sells a variety of cheeses, locally-raised eggs, jams, jellies, nuts, cookbooks, and plants. They will soon be expanding their offerings to more natural foods, too. They are open year-round with a changing offering of local produce, and other produce from further afield, and specialize in year-round hot house tomatoes grown here in Casey County.

WHERE: Lavern's Country Market
At the corner of Hwy 910 and South Fork Creek Road
in central Casey County, Kentucky
OPEN: Monday-Saturday: 8am-6pm (sometimes later)
INFO: Lavern Zimmerman, Proprietor
Call (606) 787-9845 for more information or for wholesale inquiries.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Casey County Produce Auction In Full Swing

Some early heirloom tomatoes.
The Casey County Produce Auction is now held every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 4pm on South Fork Creek in Casey County. Click here for a link to their 2014 schedule.

NOTE: Friday's auctions tend to be the busiest right now, with the most amount of offerings. What that generally means for the buyer is that you can get some real deals much of the time on Monday and Wednesday. The auction is a great place to come if you want small or larger batches for canning, freezing or eating fresh: or if you need larger lots to sell retail somewhere else. Sometimes you can even buy or swap partial lots with someone else: for example, a friend bought a lot of three bushels of Georgia peaches yesterday, each for $6, and she sold me one. At the very least, you can enjoy the auction and have a bite to eat, or an ice cream cone, at the chuck wagon.

Here are some highlights from yesterday's auction (the photographs below are all of locally grown produce in Casey County and surrounding areas):

You can always bid on smaller lots on the produce tables.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

OPEN HOUSE: MeadowBrook Orchards & Farm

On Saturday, June 28th from 1-5pm, the public is warmly invited to an open house at MeadowBrook Orchards and Farm in western Casey County, half-way between Campbellsville and Liberty, Kentucky and not far from Hwy 70 [scroll down to see map].

Diana Paluy and Bruce Gruber have been farming in Casey County for the past six years. You can read more about them and their farm offerings in a previous post on this blog by clicking here.

You can also "Friend" them on Facebook where Diana posts regular musings of farm life, updates on what's available or where/when they might be selling and even recipes. 

One of several newly planted vegetable gardens.
They will have an abundance of heirloom tomatoes and other vegetables in the months ahead. In a few years they plan to have heirloom apples and other fruits available to the public.

An heirloom variety of salvia.

In the meantime, come tour their extensive vegetable, herb and flower gardens and set a spell on the porch! Just scroll beneath the recent photos from their emergent garden for more information and a map to their farm.

Johnny Jump-Ups galore!

Hosta & Nepeta ("Catmint")
The Conservatory

The farm's pack of friendly, loving farm dogs might greet you.

Saturday, June 28th, 1-5pm

680 Dug Hill Road, Elk Horn, KY 

PHONE: (606) 787-4690

View Larger Map
MeadowBrook gardens in high summer.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


If anyone is still coming to this blog, my apologies. I have not had Internet on my ridge (in nearby Pulaski County) since lightning struck our satellite dish in August 2012. The reason I didn't renew my contract with the satellite company was that a) it was almost $100 a month for very poor service and b) we had contracted with Windstream to sell a small easement on our farm for boxes for DSL to come to our ridge at long last. Well, those boxes were installed eighteen months ago. In the meantime, I've been using free WiFi at coffee houses and libraries (with my very old laptop computer that is painfully slow).

On the very day that I sent my editor my recent book manuscript, and as I was packing to visit our daugther in Colorado (including my home computer: one of the advantages of driving over flying), Windstream called: 'We're ready to hook up ridge residents with DSL.' Hurray, I said! So we ordered the kit and upon return later this week I will install it.

That said, I hope to be able to update this site with Places to Buy Local, at least, in the next few weeks as well as an updated 2014 calendar for the Casey County Produce Auction, as well as 2014 Events. There have been many changes in the Casey County Anabaptist community in recent years, as well as many new farms and farmers (and other related businesses) offering a diversity of products grown, raised or made in Casey County.

I will do my best to update these for you and thanks for visiting. And feel free, always, to email me with information and listings on Casey County farms and related agribusinesses. Remember, it's all FREE advertising and promotion for our local farms and related or 'Kentucky Proud' businesses.

~ Catherine Pond, Website Editor []

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wendell Berry on Empowering the Local Economy

I am trying to revive this blog and Facebook page after there have been significant changes (with many Mennonite businesses now gone and several Amish farmers moving in) and other new additions to the Casey County agricultural scene. I'm still posting remotely and with a failed camera lens at present, too, so bear with me! I'm hoping by spring of 2013 to have things up and running in a more regular capacity. In the meantime I will blog on occasion as to agricultural-related topics.

As far as I'm concerned, and I know I'm not alone, Wendell Berry is a national treasure and that is he a native Kentucky writer, poet, philosopher and farmer makes him all the more endearing. If you've ever read Berry's essays you realize that he has been consistently ahead of his time in terms of the local food movement, sustainable agriculture, and our political economy. He is also largely an unsung hero because he is so humble and unassertive––his words wield the power if you care to read them.

And it is odd that I was reading his work today. When I went to find an image on the Internet to put in this blog post, I discovered it was just announced that he will receive the overall Freedom Award from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Awards for community and personal responsibility on October 16th in New York City.

Here is an extended passage from his essay "Farming and the Global Economy" which appeared in his collection Another Turn of the Crank [Washington, DC: Counterpoint, 1995]:
"If a safe, sustainable local food economy appeals to some of us as a goal that we would like to work for, then we must be careful to recognize not only the great power of the interests arrayed against us but also our own weakness. The hope for such a food economy as we desire is represented by no politcial party and is spoken for by no national public officials of any consequence. Our national political leaders do not know what we are talking about, and they are without the local affections and allegiances that would permit them to learn what we are talking about.
But we should also understand that our predicament is not without precedent; it is approximately the same as that of the proponents of the Stamp Act––and with one difference in our favor: in order to do the work that we must do, we do not need a national organization. What we must do is simple: we must shorten the distance that our food is transported so that we are eating more and more from local supplies, more and more to the benefit of local farmers, and more and more to the satisfaction of local consumers. This can be done by cooperation among small organizations: conservation groups, churches, neighborhood associations, consumer co-oops, local merchants, local independent banks, and organizations of small farmers. It can also be done by cooperation between individuals and consumers. We should not be discouraged to find that local food economies can grow only gradually; it is better that they should grow gradually. But as they grow they will bring about a significant return of power, wealth, and health to the people.
One thing at least should be obvious to us all: the whole human population of the world cannot live on imported food. Some people somewhere are going to have to grow the food. And wherever food is grown the growing of it will raise the same two questions: How do you preserve the land in use? And how do you preserve the people who use the land?
The farther the food is transported, the harder it will be to answer those questions correctly. The correct answers will not come as the inevitable by-products of the aims, policies, and procedures of international trade, free or unfree. They cannot be legislated or imposed by international or national or state agencies. They can only be supplied locally, by skilled and highly motivated local farmers meeting as directly as possible the needs of informed local consumers."

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Spring 2013 Update

Greetings to all––it seemed like a long winter here but that is only because of the late spring. Glad to have mud season and rain and dreariness behind us and looking ahead to gardens and all manner of farm-related activities.

I still don't have DSL on our ridge here in Pulaski County and have been relying upon WiFi hither and yon. Until that time, blogging is very difficult on my sluggish PowerBook G4 and rapid-fire updates on Facebook even fewer and far between. Thank you for your patience. I hope to resume and update this website as soon as possible. If not, I will let you know (it is still available for anyone who wants to volunteer to keep it going!).

In the meantime, I highly recommend a new website called Kentucky Amish which is updated regularly by the folks at the Wagon Trail, a great eatery in Casey County, Kentucky. Also, Sustainable Kentucky is a consistently excellent website that includes feature articles and great information about farming––and farmers––around Kentucky. They just held their first, and highly successful, "Kentucky Green Living Fair" here in Pulaski County and plan to have it again in 2014 [Save the date! March 29, 2014]. Farm and sustainable-related vendors were there as well as writers and interesting workshops. It was a great day!

There has been much recent moving about within Casey County's Old Order Mennonite community and some businesses are gone or will have altered names/venues. The Casey County Produce Auction is occurring this year and you can contact them for specific information. [While I can't comment on this, because I know many of the people involved, this does provide additional information from a recent article from various news sources.] However, rest assured that the original church here in Casey County is staying and will be continuing with their businesses.

The annual spring benefit auction will be held this Saturday, April 13th at the corner of Hwy 127 and 501 (9am-5pm). Usually held the last Saturday in March, it was moved this year because of the Easter holiday.

Monday, August 20, 2012

GROW Casey County Update

First of all, try to make it a point to come to this Gardener's Group potluck picnic on Thursday, August 23 (all information above). Mary Nardin, a local gardener, and Debbie Shepherd at the Casey County Extension Office, have put together a great program for this, and upcoming events, related to gardening. There will also be many farmers there setting up tables and talking about their farms.

On another note, with a groundswell of truly locally grown interest in farming from Casey County farmers (of which I am not) and "things happening" at last on that front, I have decided to take a back seat, as it were, for a while (if not entirely). As this is entirely a volunteer effort of one, posting on this blog has been infrequent at best (more likely to find updates on our 'GROW Casey County' Facebook page) and my own writing now must take priority, as well as our own cattle farm here in Pulaski County. Furthermore, our boys used to attend school in Casey County and no longer do so––so we aren't out and about in the county any more as much as we were. And, finally, I no longer have satellite internet and eagerly await DSL on our ridge in the coming months.

All of this said, there is a ready template (and promotional cards) at the ready for anyone who wishes to step up and continue this blog, Facebook page and/or even the name 'GROW Casey County.' I will happily pass it all along to the right person or persons. Also, with the marvelous statewide promotional efforts on sustainable agriculture at the excellent blog and Facebook page, Sustainable Kentucky, it makes it even easier to step back at this time. That effort is also a solo act from an area writer/farmer and they are doing such a terrific job, including covering Casey County at times, that I don't need to even try to duplicate their efforts.

So thank you for following Casey County agricultural events and information. The Casey County farming community is strong and growing, and is galvanizing organically as it should do. We will keep you posted as to other related agricultural happenings as they occur in the region when we can––or perhaps there will be more specific information via the Casey County Extension Office on Facebook, blogs or other groups in the area. In the meantime, the above flyer for the upcoming picnic includes contact information for local agricultural questions. The GROW Casey County Facebook page will also remain open and active if you wish to post something or contact others on it.