Visitors stepped over manure piles and walked among pigs, cows, sheep and two dogs to get a closer look at three-week-old ducklings as the sun sets over 26 acres of farmland for this year’s farm hop.
River Cottage Farm hosted Bowling Green’s Community Farmers’ Market farm hop as the third stop in its four-part October series. Debbie Apple, 52, has owned and worked on the River Cottage Farm for four years with her two children, Brayden, 24, and Rhayna, 18.
“Our animals live happy days and have one bad day,” Brayden said. “And I’d like to keep it that way.”
Brayden, the pasture and herd manager, visits local restaurants to learn what the community wants to eat and how they want it to be raised. The farm is not certified organic, but he invites his customers to visit the farm and buy directly from the store on his land.
“People should be buying off of trust,” Brayden said.
Lisa Kelton, a second-grade teacher at Cumberland Trace Elementary, joined her husband, Terry, to see the farm with people from the community. Kelton visited the farm before to spin yarn from sheep’s wool with Debbie.
“It’s a nice opportunity to get a tour with everybody,” Kelton said. “We thought it would be an interesting thing.”
Debbie has farmed for 22 years of her life. She focuses on the health of her animals and the nutrients of the grass she feeds them. Four years ago during River Cottage Farm’s first farm hop, there was no grass on the land. Today, the grass has grown and reached Debbie’s healthy standards.
“The farm hop is so much fun for us,” Debbie said. “Just thinking how far we came from each farm hop. It’s so encouraging.”
River Cottage Farm in Rockfield is about 20 minutes outside of Bowling Green. The Farm Hop is an “educational outreach for the market” according to the group’s website. Christy Serafini-Sheffield, the Community Farmers Market co-outreach coordinator, did not respond to requests for an interview.
The Community Farmers Market, located on 2319 Nashville Rd., is one of three farmers markets in Bowling Green. The other two are Beech Bend Farmers Market and SKY Farmers Market.
River Cottage Farm joined the Community Farmers Market in 2012, and this year marked the farms fourth season in the farm hop. Several people came to the farm including families, market regulars and some returning farm hop visitors.