Turning into the manicured main entrance of Foxhollow Farm and driving down the long driveway into this 1,300-acre property located 15 minutes north of Louisville brought back a sea of memories for me. The last time I visited this farm, it was to stay at the bed-and-breakfast with girlfriends and have spa treatments. That was the Foxhollow Farm of the past, though. Today’s Foxhollow Farm, the one that I recently visited, is a modern, working farm facility.
The Foxhollow of the past was tended to under the watchful eye of the Rev. and Mrs. Al Shands, the second generation of Mary Shands’ family to own the farm. Her family first purchased this land in 1930, where they tended a flower garden, while a tenant farmer ran a small dairy, hay operation and apple orchard on the property. The family lived in the manor house, which still stands. When the farm was passed down to the Shands, they used the space to focus on holistic health and wellness, transforming the buildings into an alternative health clinic, a spa and a bed-and-breakfast. The couple made it a respite for visitors who were interested in holistic health. And while the Shands were not as focused on using Foxhollow as an actual working farm, that all changed in 2006, when generations three and four took over the property. The new owners? Janey Newton and her daughter, Maggie Keith.
When Janey and Maggie took over the farm from Janey’s parents, the duo completely revamped its mission. It returned to its roots as a working farm, and they did away with the spa and B&B. Having both grown up at Foxhollow, the women were ready to get into the farm business again and get their hands dirty. Today, Foxhollow is a biodynamic farm, which means it’s self-nourishing and follows organic practices. Everything that is needed to maintain the property’s animals and the plants comes from the land.
The first thing Janey and Maggie did was procure 30 head of cattle to raise as their primary source of income. They now have more than 300 head and process 80 a year. Their special grass-fed beef is sold online to consumers (click here to order) and wholesale to restaurants and distributors. Their biggest retailer is Rainbow Blossom, where customers can find an entire case devoted to Foxhollow’s product. Maggie says that once you taste it, there is no going back. It is that big of a difference on your palate. Currently, hats, shirts, popcorn, cayenne pepper and crushed red peppers can be shipped anywhere; beef, lamb, pork and jams are only available for local pickup.
In addition to cows, Foxhollow also has chickens. They produce an ample supply of eggs, and the chickens go home to a splendid, hot pink coop each day. Not too shabby.
In terms of plants, the Foxhollow team maintains a garden on the property, which was in full bloom when I visited. They have also leased out plots of much of their land to professional farmers, who use it as a way to make a living. They grow their crops and sell them at farmers markets and to CSAs. Foxhollow refers to them as their “partner growers.”
In addition to the land, animals and gardens, Foxhollow also has event space and a commercial kitchen. The venue, the historic dairy barn, is wide open and has great natural light. It can be rented out for private parties and events, and Foxhollow can do the catering.
Also, for three years, Foxhollow has been hosting outdoor concerts, which take place the second Friday of every month. Guests can enjoy live music from great regional bands, as well as cocktails and food from local food trucks. This project is Maggie’s baby, and she loves that the concerts are a call to action for people to come out and visit Foxhollow and let them experience a working farm.
If you can’t make it to a concert, visitors in small groups can arrange for private tours of the property. This would be a highly enjoyable experience, especially for those who have been to Foxhollow in the past. It is like being in another world, far from the city.
Regardless of how, when and with whom you visit, definitely make a point to do so. I’m sure you’ll find it worth your while, just as I did.
Foxhollow Farm is located at 8905 KY-329 in Crestwood. Learn more at foxhollow.com or (502) 241-9674.
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