An acre and a half planted with the biggest and sweetest heirloom strawberries you’ll ever bite into slowly emerges from winter’s clutches at The Patch at Key Farms in Bowdon, Georgia. Oscillating cold snaps and heat waves encroach on the beef and produce farm, but it’s nothing that Allison Key and her husband David can’t handle. The couple have been managing and expanding their farm for over a decade, picking up tips and tricks along the way to create a wholesome farm that provides fresh nutrition to the immediate community.
Allison Key knows how important proper nutrition plays in our health. And not only does eating the right foods matter, but how they are grown or raised contributes to the food’s nutritional profile.
“As a physician, I know the purer your food is the better, and the less processing the better,” Key stated adamantly. “We get the herd genetically tested for the most optimal beef, and we also feed them on non-GMO grass and minimize pesticides.”
Hold up – a doctor and a farmer? Aren’t both those jobs strenuous and stressful? Allison Key laughs as she explains that since she loves both jobs, she never really works a day in her life, citing the old adage.
She admits that although doing things right is expensive and time-consuming, she and her family have come up with a few ways to share the load and diversify their income – one of which is The Patch. With over thirteen thousand strawberry plants, it’s sure to attract locals and inspire gardeners from far and wide.
Additionally Key hints that there’s more to come to the farm, even for this year.
“When the strawberries are done, we’ll have summer veggies, a pumpkin patch, and hayride [in the fall], and maybe in the next year or two have Christmas trees and lights!”
Wildflowers will be planted this year to attract pollinators, and in the fall, the Keys will introduce tulips for spring 2024. Allison adds that she plans to add seasonal festivals revolving around different crops or holidays. Her most recent plan is to have a ribbon cutting to kick off the strawberry picking season – official date to be announced on The Patch’s Facebook page.
“Farming is a way of life, but agro-tourism makes it sustainable,” she comments. One of the most recently released agriculture census reports shows that over twenty-eight thousand farms in the US use agro-tourism as a source of income; and that that income source has continued to grow dramatically each decade.
Various school groups can look forward to booking the strawberry field for field trips as well. The farm will be open for reservations from 9:00 A. M. to 2:00 P. M. Tuesday through Thursday, and 9:00 A. M. to 5:00 P. M. on Fridays and Saturdays. More information, such as opening dates and weather cancellations, check out their Facebook page.
Out of all the challenges Key listed that she and her family ran into during all the growing years, she attributes The Patch’s success to God’s blessing, community support, and local recognition. Despite uncontrollable weather and learning how to run a business without any background knowledge, Key Farms and The Patch have grown and flourished, providing quality meat and produce to locals looking for the freshest, most nutritious food.
You, your family, and friends can keep tabs on The Patch by following their Facebook page of the same name. You can also order beef from them directly by visiting their website www.key-farms.com. Allison and David will be posting opening updates and other surprises that you don’t want to miss!