“The Summer Roadside Market tour is a great opportunity for our market members to be together,” said Mark Haney, President of Kentucky Farm Bureau and a Roadside Market member. “Traveling on a tour bus learning from each other and seeing what other states are doing at their farm market is of great value.”
First stop was Imel’s Greenhouse, a family farming and greenhouse operation located near Greenup. The business was started over 30 years ago by owner Kenny Imel, and has grown into a popular regional market, attracting customers from nearby Ohio and West Virginia.
The tour continued on into West Virginia and Virginia where the group had the opportunity to tour farmers’ markets, orchards, nurseries, wineries and livestock operations. The group was also joined by representatives from the respective state agriculture departments and West Virginia and Virginia Farm Bureaus.
“This tour has been very diverse, we visited the largest orchard in Virginia, several on farm markets, and a grass fed beef operation selling directly to the consumer,” said John Hendricks, a tour participant and the 1st Vice President of Kentucky Farm Bureau. “We have seen a lot of opportunities for our own farms, and it has also reinforced that what we are doing in Kentucky agriculture is moving us in the right direction."
“In the end the summer tour is another way we can help our members give a better farm experience to our consumers,” said Haney. “Making that connection between the market and the consumers is what is really important.”
KFB’s Certified Roadside Market program was initiated in 1996 and has expanded to 92 markets across Kentucky.