Baileytown Farm in New Albany became the first farm in Union County to become Certified Naturally Grown. Farmer Kelly Coltharp, a fifth generation farmer on her family’s land, was certified in January for her natural growing practices which promote ecological balance and replenish the soil.
“For us, Certified Naturally Grown makes sense. I want to provide the highest quality produce for my family and community using naturally grown methods,” explained Coltharp, who grows food for her family and grandchildren, and sells at local farmers markets.
Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) is a certification program for farmers and beekeepers who use natural practices, without any synthetic chemicals or GMOs, to produce food for their local communities.
“Many producers are drawn to CNG because our peer-review inspections foster valuable connections and knowledge exchange among farmers who share a commitment to high standards for farming in harmony with nature” says Alice Varon, Executive Director of CNG. Baileytown Farm is proud to join this international movement of nearly 800 family farmers across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, Coltharp said.
This season, Coltharp is growing heirloom tomatoes, cut flowers and common garden veggies. The cool season veggies are coming in now, which means her customers are looking forward to lettuce, cauliflower, spinach, arugula, kale, radish, asparagus. Many of these are the same varieties that her grandparents grew. She finds that following in their footsteps “gives us opportunities to hear the family stories again and add to them as time moves on. It also gives us a place to enjoy hard work with great rewards.”
A retired special educator, Coltharp employs two adults with intellectual disabilities during the summer months. They help her harvest, deliver, and sell at the Biscuits and Jam Farmer’s Market in New Albany, and keep her meaningfully connected to her previous career.
“I believe in being a good steward of the land, including the animals, insects, water, soil that make up this beautiful place I have been entrusted,” she said. “Our six grandchildren are watching and learning how to lovingly care for our fabulous Earth through our natural practices.”
You can find Baileytown Farm produce in New Albany Farmers’ Market on Thursdays in June and July from 4-7p.m. and Chicory Market in Oxford, a grocery store that sells local produce. They also supply local restaurants in Tupelo with farm-fresh produce. If you’d like to contact Coltharp directly about purchasing from the farm or making a wholesale order, call her at 662-538-5229.