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Brooks Hill Farm
Contact: Deborah B. Hill
Address: 1131 Johnson Road Frankfort, KY, 40601
Email Address: dbhill@uky.edu
Phone: 812-333-2945
About Us
Brooks Hill Farm is 25+ acres on rolling terrain just west of the Kentucky River and south of I 64 off the Old Lawrenceburg Road. It has two springs and a small stream that cuts across the property. There is a forested section along the road front on almost vertical palisade shale-y rock, which is left to itself. More than half the land is open pastureland. I have an apple orchard of about 60 trees, with 5 or more varieties producing, pretty much on their own schedule. Some of the open land is now leased to a neighbor farmer who has certified it organic and is raising industrial hemp and other products. Most of the land is used for tree fruits (pears, peaches and pawpaws - and sometimes figs - in addition to the apples) and berries (black, red and yellow raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and honey berries). My background is forestry rather than agriculture, and I like raising perennials. I also raise some perennial native herbs and flowers, especially ones that do "double duty" as useful flavoring or culinary herbs and as good fodder for our essential pollinators, such as bees and butterflies. I make value-added products, such as berry jam, pear sauce and ginger applesauce, when I have a lot of the fruit, and I also bake apple cookies. Because of the apple orchard, I also have applewood chips (from orchard prunings) that people can use to grill or smoke meat or fish, adding flavor to their dinner.
Practices
I have owned the property for over 20 years, and the former owners for 15 years, during which time no chemical fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides or other pesticides have been put on the land. I have made a lot of compost, which I use liberally on my plants, and wood chips for mulch. Because I am such a small scale producer, I can identify my products as organic, but the bulk of the land is not officially certified. Everything on the farm is done either by me or by my part time assistant, Obiora Embry, who usually swaps off Saturday markets with me when in season. Many clients have come back to me to say that the plants they got from me are doing really well, so I guess whatever I'm doing, the plants like it. In addition to practices approved for organic growing, I also use some permacultural and biodynamic practices as well as agroforestry on the land, all designed to make the farm more sustainable for the future.