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The county’s first shot at a Good Neighbors Farm Tour got a little rain water and chilly temps on Saturday and then sprouted into a big time event for sponsors the Shelby County Extension Office and Metzger’s Country Store and several local farms.
“The day could not have been better,” said Corrine Belton, the county’s extension agent for agriculture and natural resources. “It was a little wet in the morning, but it turned out to be a beautiful day.”
The tour, which sent participants on scenic route through the county to eight farms and agribusinesses, exceeded organizers’ expectations.
“Ann Kalmey with Kalmey Dairy Farm said she counted at least two hundred and fifty to three hundred people at their stop, and not everybody hit every stop,” Belton said. “But around three hundred was a number we all felt pretty comfortable with. Before we started, we all thought if we got more than two hundred we’d be happy.”
Participants watched horse demonstrations featuring several breeds at Allday Farm, toured milking parlors at Kalmey Dairy Farm, saw a bee hive at Mulberry Orchard, pet alpacas at Angel’s Fleece Alpaca Farm and had wine samples at Talon Winery.
“All our hosts were really pleased and said they received a lot of positive feedback,” Belton said. “I think the only complaint we had was being re-routed around Veechdale Road. That made it a little tougher to get back to Angel’s Fleece Alpaca Farm. But really that wasn’t that bad.”
Several stops had many out-of-towners come through to see what Shelby farms had to offer.
“Tom McGinnis, at Heritage Farm, said he talked to people from Bullitt, Oldham and Jefferson counties that said they came up for the event,” Belton said. “And Charlie Metzger said when he was talking to people about the event, they were planning to bring their families or grandchildren in to attend it.”
The success sparked a couple of ideas for next year, which Belton said looks like a definite.
“I think we’re already committed to next year,” she said. “We had some good ideas tossed around. Neil Raizor, whose son was in the 4-H show at Heritage Farm, said we should end the day with a big pig roast. I thought that sounded pretty good, so it’s something our committee is going to look at for next year.”
One surprise compliment the group received this year was reintroducing residents to Shelby County.
“One thing we all heard a lot was that people really enjoyed getting out and seeing the county,” Belton said. “People told us they’d lived here all their lives or for twenty years, and they were traveling roads they’ve never been on.”
That gave Belton and the idea to vary the farms on tour next year.
“I think we’ll move it around next year,” she said. “Try to get people out to the Cropper/Bagdad area, or down to Finchville or somewhere on the south end of the county.”