Like her seven siblings, Jordan Fur was told by her father, Keith Harris, the owner of Harris Farms, that if she decided to stay and work on the farm that she would need to try and expand it in some way, and she did so with gusto.
Fur started growing strawberries in 2013 and the crop has been a huge part of her life ever since. Along with her husband, Josh Fur, the two decided that farming is the sort of lifestyle they wanted to raise their two children in to teach them “life skills and hard work.”
“Josh and I both really enjoy what we do. We really love the idea of our family doing it together,” she said.
The family sells strawberries to roughly 200 customers a day from the end of April to June 1. Jordan Fur said they grow two kinds of strawberries, chandlers and ruby junes, which she prefers the latter for its taste. They tell customers that while their strawberries may be more expensive than ones sold in a big store like Walmart, those strawberries do not taste as good as the ones from Harris Farms.
Though today marks the end of the season, she said her family is already hard at work planning the next five acres of strawberries. They will begin planting again in September, and will nurture them through winter and spring until April next year when they will begin selling again. She said she couldn’t do it without her family and their migrant workers.
Harris Farms lies in district one of Marshall County, and Commissioner Justin Lamb couldn’t be prouder of their hard work. He called their crops “some of the best strawberries you’ll ever eat.”
“Her family is strong in the agriculture community, and they have done a fine job of keeping the farming tradition going in Marshall County,” he said.
The Marshall County Extension office said there were only a few farmers that actively grow the crop listed in their directory, a far cry from the powerhouse Lamb said it used to be in the Purchase Area. At its peak, he said strawberries brought in approximately $5 million a year, which was “big money for 1950s Kentucky, and Marshall County was right in the heart of that.”
It was around this same time that the crop’s market presence waned. Lamb said this was likely due to the completion of the Kentucky Dam in 1945. The dam changed Marshall County from a “predominantly agricultural community’’ to more of an “economy based on tourism” and the chemical manufacturing complex in Calvert City.
“So, our economic dynamic changed after the completion of Kentucky Dam. A lot of people were able to get jobs in Calvert City, so they left the farm life behind a little bit,” Lamb said.
However, he added that farmers are seemingly starting to grow strawberries again, giving hope for a fresh resurgence for the crop in Marshall County, Lamb said, and for that he couldn’t be happier.
“I am very proud that we still have farmers in our county that are continuing to grow strawberries and preserving this piece of our county’s rich heritage,” Lamb said. “It’s a testament to their hard work and their commitment to Marshall County.”