Industrial farming is at war with nature; we are not. To pilot nature’s healing, we are creating a new model of people, work and the environment, with a regenerative farm at the center and energetic local businesses radiating outward.

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We are a trio or triad of companies that are dedicated to creating products that work, while staying rooted in sustainability. At the heart of our circular economy, we have Mt. Folly Farm. An early adopter of sustainable farming practices, the original founding farm of Laura’s Lean Beef, and now our focal point of raising crops and livestock with the end goal of creating value added products. Here we raise hemp for Laura’s Homestead Alternatives, corn, wheat and other grains for Wildcat Willy’s Distillery’s Spirits, along with protein from finished steers and pastured chickens for the Distillery’s Farm to Table Restaurant. 

Although the Farm has been operated by Laura’s family for generations, and she has been a pioneer of natural foods for 40 years, our trio of companies started back in 2016 when we first developed Laura’s Hemp Chocolates. A healthier dark chocolate option with hemp hearts, which delivers a protein source, amino acids, and the right ratio of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. 

After Laura’s Hemp Chocolates; we created our CBD line of products. Laura’s Homestead Alternatives using 100% CBD grown by us at Mt. Folly Farm and utilize our local supply chain to create health and soil conscious products as much as possible. Almost all of our products travel 25 miles or less to go from flower, extraction, formulation, to finished product. 

During the hemp boom of 2019, we created Wildcat Willy’s Distillery and Farm to Table Restaurant. Located in a historically preserved building in downtown Winchester, Kentucky. Wildcat Willy’s Distillery takes grains grown on Mt. Folly Farm transforms them into unique craft spirits. In addition, Wildcat Willy’s Distillery’s Restaurant uses the Farm’s beef, chicken, and seasonal vegetables to create locally inspired dishes and experiences told through one’s palate.

All this is a sustainable effort to create a replicable, local circular economy of products that work, rooted in sustainability. Although sometimes we affectionately refer to it as a Circus Economy, but that happens with too many irons in too many fires. 

What We Do At Mt. Folly Farm

Hemp- Grain, Fiber And Cannabidiol

Hemp- Grain, Fiber And Cannabidiol

Everyone has heard of hemp at this point, but Mt. Folly Farm has been a leader in the industry since the program was first created. One of the first farms in Kentucky’s Hemp Pilot Program, Mt. Folly Farm has experimented with all 3 types of varieties. Grain, fiber, and the most commonly known Cannabidiol (CBD) make up the 3 hemp varieties.

Grain and Fiber are planted similar to small grains. Grain requires a combine harvest model; fiber requires a hay harvest model with some adaptions. CBD is the most notable but requires the most effort to be sustainable.

CBD is grown similar to tobacco or vegetable model, mechanical plants, harvest and drying by hand. To make a the crop more sustainable, Mt. Folly Farm has experimented with a variety of tactics, no till cultivation, strip till, compost tea, compost, chicken litter for nitrogen, and cover crops before and after the season.

Cover Crops

Cover Crops

Cover crops are essential to any sustainable crop or farm operation. Cover crops are used anytime a crop field is left bare. A cover crop is a plant that is commonly used to sometimes add nitrogen to the soil, prevent soil erosion, improve overall soil health, increase water retention abilities, smother weeds that would otherwise have free reign, and other secondary benefits related to biodiversity.

Mt. Folly uses a wide variety of cover crops; rye is the most commonly used, but we also use tillage radishes to combat soil compaction, and Austrian Winter Peas to add nitrogen before an organic corn crop.

Organic And Non-GMO Row Crops

Organic And Non-GMO Row Crops

Row crops can include a wide variety of plants. Here at Mt. Folly Farm, we raise corn, soybeans, wheat, rye, buckwheat, sweet potatoes and sunflowers. We are always innovating to improve soil quality and yields while reducing the use of nitrogen inputs by creating and mixing our own compost and manure on site.

The largest obstacle to overcome is weeds. Historically, organic row crops used intensive tillage, plowing and deep discing. However, this disrupts the microorganisms of the soil and requires a tremendous amount of carbon to be expended through operating tractors under strain. This is why Mt. Folly Farm has been implementing low or no till row crops, with experiments with rolled cover crops that act as a mulch bed, and minimum tillage options.

Cattle: Cow Calf Operation

Cow Calf Operation

Cattle emit methane, by belching and other means. Better out than in, someone’s Uncle always says. Regardless, this is a source of carbon being emitted at the farm level. The primary way Mt. Folly combats this is to intensively graze and rotate the herds for overall pasture management at an optimal level. This means the grass the cattle are not currently eating, is always growing and capturing carbon.

Cattle: Steers Finished On Grass, Corn, And Distiller's Mash

Steers Finished On Grass, Corn, And Distiller's Mash

Feed lots. Owned and operated by gigantic global corporations have focused solely on profits and have no regard for soil health or animal quality of life. Their only focus is how many animals per acre they can fit and what is the cheapest feed to create the highest rate of gain of the animal’s weight.

On Mt. Folly Farm we focus on no antibiotic, no growth hormone, pastured steers that always have fresh grass available or organic hay paired with a corn ration grown and made by Mt. Folly Farm on site. Most importantly, they sometimes get a treat from our sister company, Wildcat Willy’s Distillery when distiller’s mash is available. The Distiller’s Mash Feed is still high in protein, and a fan favorite of the steers.

Pastured Chickens

Pastured Chickens

Biodiversity on the farm is essential when considering farm sustainability. Chickens not only create diversity, but control insects and spread fertilizer everywhere they go. Mt. Folly built “Chicken Tractors,” which may sound industrial, but is not at all. A Chicken Tractor is really a semi mobile chicken coop that allows you to pasture your chickens in many locations within a field. And with every move of the Chicken Tractor, we spread their fertilizer and insect control.

Forestry Management for Farm Wood Lots

Forestry Management for Farm Wood Lots

In the simplest definition, trees absorb carbon through photosynthesis to sustain themselves, grow, and sequester carbon. As we are creating a sustainable farm model in the rolling hills of the Bluegrass, Mt. Folly Farm has a full spectrum of soil types, pasture layouts, typography, and wood lots.

Mt. Folly Farm keeps wood edges in crop fields, ample shade in cattle pastures, and many valleys containing wood lots. These wooded areas contain old growth trees, a variant of soil biodiversity only found in wood lots, a complex and unique fungi ecosystem, and is something that Mt. Folly Farm continues to research and expand to this day.

Biochar

Biochar

Not all dead trees can be removed, so they rot and decompose back into the soil and create growing opportunities for mushrooms, worms and microorganisms. The ones we can remove get sawed into building materials and any excess gets turned into biochar. Creating biochar has high expectations of mitigating climate change by removing that carbon (wood) from the carbon cycle.

Everyone is familiar with the water cycle, but just like it, carbon cycles through our ecosystem in a similar way. Making biochar is basically the process of making charcoal by igniting wood in a low or no oxygen space for an extended period of time. The end result is a stable form of charcoal or carbon that will not return to participate in the carbon cycle for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

Multi-Species Grazing

Multi-SpeciesGrazing

Mt. Folly Farm goats aren’t just cute to look at … they also serve a purpose!
While they can generally be found grazing around the Homestead, they also love to get lost in the hollers and valleys of Mt. Folly Farm and eat the pesky weeds. The goats also add to the wide array of ruminants that can be found on Mt. Folly.

Compost Tea Sprayer

Compost Tea Sprayer

At Mt. Folly Farm, we mix a compost, de-chlorinated water, molasses and fish emulsion mixture to create a natural amendment of microorganisms that directly and indirectly benefit soil health. This allows plants to increase the efficiency and volume of nitrogen uptake which improves yield.

Shipping Sustainability

When striving to be truly completely sustainable/carbon neutral it takes a lot and when it gets down to it, it’s about being thoughtful in a lot of ways.

When we ship your order it comes in a recyclable box, paper shipping tape with water-based adhesive. The larger orders are packed in biodegradable plant-based packing peanuts.

During the summer when shipping our temperature sensitive products, we use recyclable box insulation (brown paper filled with flat form fitted biodegradable plant-based peanuts with reusable Nordic Ice packs.

We team up with other local businesses to redistribute and reuse paper-based packing materials to use for another shipment.

Reduce – Reuse – Recycle