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›› kenny and daniel

barnard Hoot Owl Hollow Farm

Consumers calling to bag c Amelia-grown sweet potatoes d sara owens

Brothers Daniel (left) and Kenny Barnard use former tobacco land to grow sweet potatoes in Amelia County.

Baked Sweet Potatoes and Apples

By Sara Owens


weet potatoes are native to America and were a key source of nourishment for early homesteaders and soldiers during the Revolutionary War. They also have a history as holiday recipe staples. This time of year consumers buy them by the bagful from brothers Kenny and Daniel Barnard of Hoot Owl Hollow Farm in Amelia County, where the two have farmed most of their lives. “It’s all we’ve ever done,” said Daniel. “And it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do,” Kenny added. They also grow tobacco, soybeans, hay, small grains and sweet corn. “We’ve grown sweet potatoes for about 25 years but have been growing them more heavily for the past 10 years or so,” Kenny said. The Barnards plant 1½ acres of sweet potatoes on land that previously was used for tobacco. They plant at the end of May and dig sweet potatoes in early September. It typically takes 100 days for 10


sweet potatoes to mature, but Kenny said they dig them early to keep them from getting too big. The potatoes are stored in bags and crates that fill a large storage shed. The Barnards advertise in the local newspaper and on a homemade roadside sign. During the summer, they sell sweet corn the same way. They have local churches that ask for larger sweet potatoes to use in pies for fundraisers, and last year they had a customer buy sweet potatoes to use as decorations. “Customers are able to get a fresher product by buying from a local farmer, and they know where the food comes from,” Kenny said.


6 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into half-inch slices 2 cups thinly sliced apples 1 teaspoon cinnamon ½ cup brown sugar butter ½ cup water directions

Preheat oven to 350°. In very little boiling water, cook sweet potato slices until fork-tender. Place in a baking dish. Top sweet potato slides with apple slices. Mix cinnamon and brown sugar together. Sprinkle over apple slices, and dot top with butter. Pour ½ cup of water over the mixture, and bake for 1 hour. Source: Country Treasures from Virginia Farm Bureau Kitchens

Cultivate Nov 2011  
Cultivate Nov 2011  

Introduced in July 2008, Cultivate is published quarterly with a focus on safe, fresh and locally grown foods and the Virginia farms that pr...