(Editor's Note: Locally and lovingly made is a summer series spotlighting different small businesses within Rowan County and the creative ways they contribute to artistry and commerce.)
Channing and Amy Richardson play with their children, Byrum, 4 and Thelia, 2, as they sell products they've both grown or made at the Morehead Farmers’ Market.
This is the first year for the Richardson Family Farm business but it has been a dream of the couple’s since they were married six years ago.
They are both from the area, Amy from Rowan County and Channing from Carter and their mission is to promote sustainability while positively impacting their communities.
“While I was in graduate school in Oklahoma, I was only paid nine months of the year so a friend of mine and me started setting up at markets there,” said Channing. “Then we moved back home and wanted to add diversity and healthy foods to our lives so we started to grow them. This December when I was ordering seeds I wondered if we could grow enough to sell.”
“This is the first year we have had a chance to really go for it,” said Amy. “A goal of our family is to find ways to reduce waste and so we incorporate handmade upcycled items along with our produce and other products that we use at home and think others will too.”
The Richardson Family Farm has two locations, one on Dry Creek in Rowan County and the other at Carter City in Carter County, which has been in Channing's family for six generations.
They grow vegetables like zucchini, squash, tomatoes, Swiss chard, green beans, carrots, cabbage, kale, lettuce, basil, baby beets, and green onions.
Also, they have fruit trees and plants, which provide the base of their homemade jams.
They also utilize their farm for beehives and one of their more unique products- homemade maple syrup.
Their maple syrup sold out early this year and they will be producing more during the winter.
“I put in some 12-hour days during syrup season, tapping the trees, collecting the sap, and then cooking, monitoring and filtering it,” said Channing. “It takes about 65 gallons of sap per gallon of syrup. This year we sold about 10 gallons.”
Their handmade crafts are mostly sewn by Amy out of materials that may otherwise be discarded but Channing also makes wood turned bowls that are safe to eat from.
“My grandmother taught me how to sew and I feel very close to her when I make these crafts,” said Amy. “It started when I noticed that we were throwing away so many paper towels so I made 'un' paper towels, and then reusable snack bags which have sold out, and other items that can be washed and are things we use in our home daily.”
There are hand-stamped tea towels and dish towels, reusable totes made out of feed sacks, and she has plans to make produce bags out of t-shirts and eventually clothing out of spare quilt material.
Bryum and Thelia are a big part of the farm.
“He can tell you the whole story of how a seed becomes a plant,” said Channing. “I'm planting trees that won't produce for a decade and my children will inherit this. We want our kids to understand where their food comes from and we are able to teach them every day.”
“They asked for their own garden and they have vegetables growing in it. It is very neat to see Bryum explain the process to other children,” said Amy. “They are still small so they mostly help plant the seeds while they are playing in the dirt and he does a good job at picking some things.”
They said that they have big plans for their farm.
“We want to one day have a pumpkin maze and corn maze because we want to find ways to utilize the land in different seasons,” said Channing. “We want to start a U-Pick, which is where people come visit the farms and pick their own produce and a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) enterprise where people buy a share and receive fresh vegetables and fruits every week.”
He added that with the CSA the farm would be able to provide a diverse amount of produce because there would be a guarantee of the product being used.
Amy wants to eventually host camps where children come to learn the process of planting and to craft more reusable goods and clothing. She will be launching an “Etsy” account to sell her handmade items.
The Richardson Family Farm is a Kentucky Proud and Appalachia Proud producer.
For their first seven months in business, the family farm has had consistently positive feedback and many repeat customers. They said they are incredibly thankful and want to continue to serve their friends and neighbors.
The Richardson Family Farm has a website at www.richardsonfamilyfarm.com, they are on Facebook under Richardson Family Farm, and publish updates, recipes, and photos.
They are at the Morehead Farmers Market on Wednesdays and Fridays and also are a part of First Friday at the Rowan County Arts Center.
They can be reached by email at richardsonfamilyfarm.con or by phone at (606) 356-3683.
Shayla Menville can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 784-4116.