“Without rain, it really hurts us. Too much rain, it hurts your crop; too little rain, it hurts your crop.” To meet the needs of their customers, the couple tries to vary their crops each year by trying different types of lettuces and herbs to add variety to the baskets. They also provide homegrown berries, including strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, for their customers.
Besides too much or too little rain, another battle that the couple faces is animals, like raccoons and groundhogs, that can decimate a corn crop overnight. Fraley laughed when she told of a new corn variety they tried that the “raccoons really liked.”
When the two started the business five years ago, they had four customers. This year that number rose to 11, and the farm is also recognized as Kentucky Proud. Make no mistake about it, while 11 customers might not sound like much, the work of picking, sorting, and readying these baskets is no easy task.
Fraley also takes pride in making sure the baskets look appealing to her customers. “I try to always make the colors of tomatoes and the squash look nice. Presentation is everything, you know.”
As farmers across the state battled drought conditions this summer, the Fraleys, as well as other CSA businesses, faced the same dilemma. Lack of rain, too much rain, and all the forces of nature determine the success of all farmers. But one thing is certain — the fact that the Fraleys produce is grown right here in Clark County makes a world of difference to me.
Patricia Fraley has great tomatoes and grows various varieties. I love making a tomato marinara using her tomatoes in the summer.
Below is my personal recipe for marinara.
4 cups chopped tomatoes (mix cherry tomatoes and any others)
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic (sliced) or 2 tablespoons garlic in a jar
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon fresh basil
One-half onion, diced
Saute all ingredients together in large skillet until tomatoes start to break down — about 30 minutes on low heat. I like my marinara chunky in the summer. If you want fewer chunks, cook longer.
If you are interested in joining or want to know more about their farm, check out Fraley Family Farms on Facebook.