By Yelena Sapin
Maggie Keith’s connection to the land is in her blood. She grew up visiting her grandparents on the family’s Foxhollow Farm in Crestwood, Kentucky, which she now runs with her mother as third- and fourth-generation stewards of the land. When she’s not taking care of business, the self-described farm girl works the garden for her 10-person CSA (community-supported agriculture) network and tends to the farm’s 2.5-acre pumpkin patch. Gardening is her passion, but Maggie also loves the urban perks of living in downtown Louisville with her husband Benton. The Keiths are growing their family, too — their baby is due in the fall, soon after Maggie puts her garden to bed for the winter. In the meantime, this city-dwelling farm girl takes us along for a walk in some of the shoes she wears throughout the week.
Her Gardening Shoes
Tuesdays and Wednesdays are Maggie’s garden days. She’s up at 5:30am to do yoga (via YouTube) and meditate or reflect on the day ahead. Breakfast is farm-fresh eggs or oatmeal and seasonal fruit, or a smoothie made from her stash of fruit frozen when in season.
|Maggie is on the farm at the Veggie Shack where they wash and store their produce. Photos by Sunni Wigginton|
Maggie gets to the farm around 6:30 and spends a quiet hour checking on things and enjoying alone time in the garden before her two intern assistants arrive. She wears her Oliberté work shoes when she gardens, or Chaco sandals if she’s not using any tools that might be dangerous to unprotected toes.
Wednesday afternoons Maggie takes the morning’s harvest to the Norton Commons farmers market, where she loves to interact with people at the Foxhollow Farm stand, then returns to the farm to unload her empty coolers. The farming days wind down once all the work is done or it gets dark, and Maggie goes home for dinner with her husband and an evening walk through Waterfront Park with their King Charles Spaniel named Oscar and Maltipoo named Pickles. By 10pm she’s ready to turn in.
Barefoot in the Office
Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays are Maggie’s days to take care of the business side of farming. She gets up at her usual 5:30am and arrives at the Foxhollow Farm office straight from an early morning Pilates class. The days are then devoted to meeting with staff, working on marketing, events, and community relations, and brainstorming with her creative team.
As on the other days, lunch is usually the farm’s own beef that Maggie prepares at home and brings to work, accompanied by the garden’s fresh bounty of the day. She always takes an hour-long lunch break and encourages everyone else to do the same, whether it involves socializing with coworkers, reading, or taking a walk through the woods that flank the farm.
The garden is never far from Maggie’s mind, however. She keeps a variety of shoes in her office so she can go out and check on the plants throughout the day in any kind of weather. When back at her desk, she kicks off the dirtied shoes and works barefoot.
Her City Shoes
Mondays and Thursdays Maggie leaves the office a little after 6pm — what she considers early — to meet at a Heine Brothers coffee shop with a woman who’s teaching her Spanish. Friday afternoons she makes her way to the Crescent Hill Radio station to record The Farmer and The Foodie, a weekly radio show airing Sundays at 1pm that she co-hosts with food, wine, and travel writer Lindsey McClave (Lindsey also contributes to Today’s Woman — read about her progressive patio dinner and her great hot chicken recipe). After recording, the two women usually find a place to relax and talk about what they’re going to do the following week. They’re also working on a TV version of their show for Kentucky Educational Television (KET). You can watch it today on KETKy at 3:07pm.
|Maggie and her colleague Lindsey McClave. Photo by: Molly Dunigan|
Transitioning into the weekend, when the ground under her feet is concrete rather than earth, means changing into her “city shoes.” Maggie prefers flats but is not averse to sturdy heels or wedges as long as they’re comfortable. She trots these out when grabbing dinner in NuLu with her husband, visiting friends for potlucks, spending time with family, or meeting her mother to walk around the Douglass Loop or St. Matthew’s farmers markets, a favorite Saturday morning tradition.
|When Maggie needs a break from the garden, she sits in this cowhide chair located at the Foxhollow Farms office.|
Weekends also mean getting to stay up a little later to watch a movie with her husband, going to events for organizations Maggie is involved with — she’s a board member of Dare to Care Food Bank and Slow Food Bluegrass — or doing live cooking shows with Lindsey at various venues in the city. It’s a full schedule, but Maggie loves to juggle. Being flexible is just one of the many things she’s learned from working on the farm.