Above, Gene and Elaine Smith moved to the Drip Rock area from Alabama. They are members of the Estill County Farmers Market.
By LISA BICKNELL
CV&T News Editor
Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of articles introducing Estill County Farmers Market vendors to the community. Meet Elaine and Gene Smith from Drip Rock Farm.
Elaine and Gene Smith moved to this area from Alabama after the company Gene worked for there relocated some workers to the chemical demilitarization plant in Madison County.
“We knew absolutely nothing about this area,” said Elaine. They rented an apartment in Berea for a while, then they moved to a larger apartment in Richmond. In their spare time, they’d take the back roads and look for places they’d like to live. Elaine, a photographer who operated a business in Alabama called Robin Lane Photography, brought along her camera and took lots of photographs.
One day, they found themselves in the Drip Rock area. “This is beautiful,” they both agreed. They decided to keep an eye out for properties for sale in the area.
Eventually, a home and some land on Marcum Road came on the market, and as soon as they saw it, they knew.
“This is it,” they both agreed.
Elaine says they had never really farmed by themselves, but they were raised with family who did. The Smiths decided to plant a large patch of several varieties of garlic, as well as some purple hull peas like the ones that Gene’s grandparents raised back in Alabama. They planted lavender, heirloom tomatoes, and a few other vegetables.
This year, Elaine is planning to grow “pro cut” sunflowers, a pollen-less variety that is especially suitable for creating indoor bouquets and using in weddings.
Elaine is an avid crafter, and makes beautiful flowers from crepe paper and coffee filters. She also makes an exfoliating soap and has recently taken up felting.
The Smiths joined the farmer’s market last year. They sell garlic, garlic powder, flowers, tomatoes, peas and other vegetables.
The couple is hopeful Gene will get to work until retirement age at the depot, because they’d love to stay here.
A couple of their grown children have also moved to the area. The Smiths have nine grandchildren, ranging in ages from newborn to 18. Elaine says they enjoy visiting the farm.