I was lucky enough to visit Ray Smith’s small family farm in Kimper, KY, just down the road from Williamson. Ray is now part of Sustainable Williamson’s Farmers Market and was previously the President of the Pikeville Farmers Market. Although it’s already very late in the season his farm was still looking very fruitful. He’s got a wonderful 3 story barn with an electric elevator that is filled with honey bees and once held over 150 hives. He constructed the building decades ago with his father and things were still going strong. He’s got a diverse farm with your normal vegetables, fruits, starches, and legumes as well as some chickens, pear trees, and trellised grapes. Ray is also an EMT and stayed out till 1:30am the night before driving an emergency vehicle.
Ray’s farm is just up stream of a few coal processing plants, but it really feels miles away. Tomorrow I’m headed to another small Eastern Kentucky farm in the morning and then an apple orchard on a reclaimed coal strip mine outside of Williamson.