Agriculture at Farmington (1810-1840)
Farmington was a 550-acre hemp plantation. Hemp was the principal cash crop, but not the only one. No Kentucky plantations were single crop operations. Diversified farming was the norm. One reason for this was the drastically fluctuating price for hemp sales.
Tobacco was grown at Farmington in some years. By 1840, vinegar, and possibly cider, produced from what must have been a fairly large orchard, were also sold.
Butter was produced in large enough quantities for it to be sold at the downtown Louisville market. Butter making was Lucy Speed's responsibility. In 1840 Farmington had a herd of 17 'milch cows.'
Other seed crops at Farmington in 1840 included corn and timothy and clover hay. Wheat had also been grown at one point.
Crops grown for consumption at Farmington in 1840 included corn, Irish potatoes, apples, cabbages, peas and beans, and sugar beets. Raspberries and peaches were also mentioned in letters. Probably a wide variety of fruits and vegetables were grown in smaller quantities for seasonal consumption by the Speed family.
Livestock and fowl for consumption included pigs, cattle, turkey, chickens, and ducks.
Large quantities of potatoes, cabbages, sugar beets, and salted pork listed in the inventory suggest that these constituted the main portion of the diet for enslaved African Americans at Farmington. (This correlates with T.W. Bullitt's account of the slave diet at Oxmoor.)
Agricultural outbuildings thought to have existed at Farmington include a hemp house (no doubt a brick or stone building), corn cribs, and probably several barns.
To learn more about Farmington and our agricultural roots, join us for Hemp Discovery Day on April 30, 2016 from 4:00 PM - 9:00 PM to celebrate our hemp heritage and learn about the modern day uses of the crop as we prepare to plant our hemp pilot project this summer.
By: Diane Young, Executive Director