Growing Heritage and Hospitality (Transcript ep 314)

June 1, 2022

This transcript corresponds to episode 314 of Grounded by the Farm on the Peery Family home place that is now a bed & breakfast.



people, farm, airbnb, grew, house, baking, family, cook, mom, cake, galen, year, grandma, place, acres, wanted, talk, bake, called, hospitality


Janice Person — Grounded by the Farm, Jerry Peery, Kristia Peery Reynolds, and Jonathan Reynolds


Grounded by the Farm  00:03

Food is more than just what’s on our plate. It’s the places where it’s grown. It’s the people who grow it and so much more. Join me, Janice person, your host on grounded by the farm every other week as we talk about the foods we love and love finding these different stories and different parts of the country. This is close to home. For me, it’s Western Kentucky. And it actually talks on several themes that we’ve touched on with separate stories this year, starting even with an Airbnb property. We’re going to be talking to the Pirrie family in Western Kentucky, and asking them about their family’s farming history with Jerry, who is the patriarch of the family. He and his daughter Christy have converted a house into a place for hospitality and food. And we’re going to talk about that going to show some great pictures as some of the things they’re doing there and going to talk to Christie son Jonathan, Jonathan and Jerry showed me around the farm. We’ve got that on video, so make sure you go check it out, because it was a gorgeous time canola was in full bloom. Anyway, we’re going to start out by talking to Jerry about the home he grew up in decades ago. You call it the home place. So this is where the family farm used to be based out. Right? Correct. And there’ll be like a homeplace every 50 to 100 acres or so in this area. I


Jerry Peery  01:36

guess that’s right. My parents had livestock on the farm. We used to have cow’s milk cows and sold milk to the dairy. At that time, it was called grade C mill. Later on, we did not have the cows and then but we had commercial livestock we used to raise hogs on the farm and grow crop. We had we had a sawmill at one time, and we cut lumber for custom work. And we did a lot of things to survive.


Grounded by the Farm  02:12

Do you mind if I say you might be a few years older than me?


Jerry Peery  02:15

That’s fine. I’m a few years older than mostly.


Grounded by the Farm  02:23

I think we we figured out you and my mom are kind of peers in the ad. Lady. Sorry. Yeah. So a lot of people have this idea, this romantic idea of a family farm. And that’s what you grew up in.


Jerry Peery  02:37

Right. Right.


Grounded by the Farm  02:38

I grew up and was it romantic?


Jerry Peery  02:45

Somewhat, I guess.


Grounded by the Farm  02:48

But there’s a lot of romantic history to home place. Yeah, a lot of farmers. That’s great. And even though you built a house, a mile or so away, I think it’s an interesting idea that you guys wanted to find a way to keep this railing of that part of our history, your family’s farm history, a lot of us have lost it. And our families were our grandmother’s homes are no longer anywhere near the family, much less in the family.


Jerry Peery  03:18

Our goal here is it Spring Hill Farms is to keep the farm in the family. And we’re going to do that with the house too. And so they’re doing a good job of it.


Grounded by the Farm  03:31

Yeah, I love it. And your family. So you’re the farmer, and you have a grandson that’s farming


Jerry Peery  03:38

is coming in. He’s, he’s in a getting some experience as we speak.


Grounded by the Farm  03:45

God love him. He’s gonna get the experience. He’s gonna get the experience and your daughter is the one who likes to cook.


Jerry Peery  03:52

She used to cook. And so we don’t. We don’t want for food. Just call a cook.


Grounded by the Farm  04:00

That’s awesome. So how old is this house?


Jerry Peery  04:05

This house was built in about 1895. Okay. Yeah,


Grounded by the Farm  04:10

my great granddad was building houses in Memphis around the early 1900s. So I think we probably had some houses and


Jerry Peery  04:18

this house was built by my great grandfather. And they came here from Tennessee, from Hickman County, Tennessee to Hickman County, Kentucky.


Grounded by the Farm  04:31

Get out. Yep. So at this point, though, the family farm your family farm looks pretty different than it did when you were


Jerry Peery  04:39

Oh, yeah. Yeah, a lot different. Yeah. Because back then we didn’t have the machinery to take care of the land like we do now. And we didn’t have near the acres that we did when I was growing up. You know, 150 to 200 acre river large farm. Now you can’t survive on 150 acre farm. Right? Unless you’re just specialty crops or something organic or something like that, but the way we’re farming commercially, cash crops you couldn’t, you couldn’t make it with and buy all the machinery that’s needed, you know? Yeah, yeah, we’ve added a lot of acres. And in my lifetime, whenever I started farming, we had the 100 and the 160 acres on the home farm. And then, since then, when I started farming in 57, when I got out of high school, so I’ve been in this I’m starting my 65th crop. And together, we and we have put together about 15 1600 acres over a lifetime. Just buying small family farms close to us in a neighborhood, you know, people moved out and


Grounded by the Farm  05:56

part of the beauty of that is, you know, everybody was expected to grow some of their own food and there’s people like me that may not be really well suited for growing our own food, but we sure like to eat it.


Jerry Peery  06:07

Everybody’s gonna everybody’s gonna be a


Grounded by the Farm  06:11

part of part of what really intrigues me then is how you then turn this into like a food place because I looked at you guys online and first off, I’m going to tell everybody, y’all need to check out the Pirie house. It’s P E ry house, the theory house on Instagram and y’all might go ahead and get diabetes just by looking at it. We’ve talked to sugar farmers before and I’m gonna tell you, girl, can you cook you can bake especially so. So when you started trying to do this? No. And you want to do appreciate your family’s history and honor. At least looking around the place. It feels like it’s honored. Definitely. Did you go through that and go oh, yeah, let’s figure out how to do this. Is it your baby?


Kristia Peery Reynolds  07:00

Well, grandma, me, that’s who lived here. We called her grandma me. She loved to bake. So I learned to bake from her mom. She cooked out of necessity. That wasn’t something she enjoyed. She decorated everything here. My mom is the decorator. Grandma may love to bake. And so Emergency Management Services is because I was a 911 dispatcher, and then went into emergency management director. It’s very stressful. And so I would cook and Galen bought me. The Martha Stewart cake decorating that one year for Christmas, which I still have that is the cake sand that I use. It’s a very nice, that’s funny cast iron and all



Christmas present. Yep. Yes.


Kristia Peery Reynolds  07:47

And so it I don’t know, it just led to it was a creative outlet. Yeah. And it was a stress reliever and I enjoyed it. And I think just my personality and who I am. As far as just serving that was always fun to me. Yeah. And which is why I think people go into emergency services to help people you know. And so it was, this is a lot more of a positive thing that can be so stressful. And I really enjoyed it. But this feeds me instead of drains me. Yeah. And so I went to culinary school and got an associate’s degree. It’s actually, it’s at the local community college in Paducah, West Kentucky. And it’s a two year associate’s degree. So you get an applied science degree. And I have a specialty in catering and personal chef. I think in class, I was disillusioned and a little bit because I thought there would be this great baking but I think we spent two weeks on baking. I was a little disappointed, but


Grounded by the Farm  08:58

I always take a special class of baking. And if you don’t know where those schools are, I can I can give you plenty of school


Kristia Peery Reynolds  09:03

well, since since then, the University of YouTube is amazing. You know, a lot of schools do that. And a lot of people take and put stuff on there. And I learned I still learned a lot of stuff, you know, online that way. And it just kind of grew. But I knew whenever we got out of school, this was a very special place for me. And I think that houses die if someone’s not living in it. And that just to me meant that that was a it was like the death of a memory and all of the good things growing up and I didn’t want to see that happen and


Grounded by the Farm  09:43

redo the house or how much like it feels it feels like it could be a house like my grandma mom’s in a lot of ways


Kristia Peery Reynolds  09:52

  1. There’s a lot of original stuff here still. We painted each room. We had help Because I cook, that’s what I say I cook, we had help, we painted everything, we did redo the kitchen, to be able to pass the health department inspection, and do each time. And we have the same carpet, we have the same curtains in the living room. And in one of the bedrooms, the master bedroom. We do not we redid that. But it was it was like a little restaurant. And I really don’t know what to call it. Because it was like a private restaurant because we weren’t open to the public. Like you couldn’t just come in and eat. We were open one day a year for that. And that was Valentine’s Day. And we took reservations and we had a five course meal and people would come in and we were open for like three, four hours, something like that. And that was the only day other than that people would rent the home. And we would do groups. And it was basically what you wanted it to be sometimes we had like the circuit judges in this area would come for a meal. And it was a quiet place. We would have church groups, Bunco groups, birthday parties. Yeah, just whatever, you know, it was a meeting space, you know, and we provided the food and so many


Grounded by the Farm  11:20

small towns don’t have spaces like that. So it’s kind of neat that y’all are able to create something like that. In the middle of a pretty rural area. I mean, you’re near towns, but the towns are


Kristia Peery Reynolds  11:32

so it’s really rural. Yeah, it is. We try to tell people that on the Airbnb site to whenever they come here.


Grounded by the Farm  11:40

Yeah, so Airbnb must have really shifted things for you that the ability to have Airbnb, and then the fact that people want to come to the middle of nowhere, Kentucky,


Kristia Peery Reynolds  11:50

that amazes us all. I would say all of us. I mean, we’re all sitting here. And I think all of us would agree that we really did not think that it would be what it is. But I think one of the greatest compliments is that people, a lot of people not every person that comes in but a lot of people have said, Oh, it’s like gone home to my grandmother’s house or it’s so there’s just something different here. And that’s


Grounded by the Farm  12:21

like one review is if a house could you this one would. I mean? I don’t know if you could pay people to write reviews like that. But like thinking about, especially in COVID, my guess is the last couple of years more people have looked to get outside of their normal space. Because Gosh, you’re in the same place so often. Get somewhere where you can be outside, right outside is a gorgeous antique barn, which would probably be a safety. You wouldn’t want people in it.


Kristia Peery Reynolds  12:56

When I tell them because they want to go I go pictures. Yeah, please don’t go in or at your own risk. Because the weather’s been hard on it lately. Yeah.


Grounded by the Farm  13:05

Realistically, a lot of people wouldn’t have an experience of being near an antique barn like that. Or you guys are in the middle of a real working farm. There’s fields on all sides. This is like, this is not a Disney Land version of a farm. This is like real tractors, really equipment. Do you have much interaction with the folks that come and stay with you? And this is Jonathan.


Jonathan Reynolds  13:34

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So it’s, we always joke like, granddaddy, we’re thankful that I mean, even if he’s 82, and he’s still out there every day with us. And we keep joking around saying we’re gonna get him a four seater Ranger and just let him drive people around. And because he loves to talk and show people,


Grounded by the Farm  13:49

you can tell Yeah, he would be happy to do so.


Jonathan Reynolds  13:53

Love it. Yeah. But we’ve got all kinds of people that come and visit on our farm we’d love to


Grounded by the Farm  14:00

host. So do people want to ask you questions about things? Yes,


Jonathan Reynolds  14:04

there’s a lot. I mean, we had had several people that have asked about, you know, what we’re doing here. And, you know, I guess for us, it’s normal. Like I grew up just a few months old was laying in the floorboard of a combine while my granddad was driving and I was mapping, but for most people, being around a tractor is so foreign. And so for them, just the it’s almost nostalgic to be able to think about what their grandparents probably were doing yours or great grandparents were doing years and years ago. And so being able to have some type of tie to agriculture, it’s in for them. It’s just a learning experience. But it’s fun too. And we try to make it fun. I’m thankful like even the guys that work with us on the farm, I mean, all of them. Most of our equipment has got a buddy seat in it. And so when they’re up in there, we’ll throw people in and just let them go. And like last year, I got married last August and my wife is from a beef cattle and tobacco farm and so it’s a little bit different. But last fall, we were running a little bit short on help because we had so many things going on. And so I just threw her in the Agra wagon. And she was she was driving a grain cart for us and, you know, just kind of learning, you know, as she went, but I was talking through it with her on the radio, and it happened to be a day that we have some friends from church to homeschool their boys and they wanted to come out and visit learn about where their food came from. And so she got to talk to them about what she was doing while she was learning on the fly. So we say


Grounded by the Farm  15:21

and she’s like, I’ve never driven the wagon. Yes, yes. I can explain it to you a little bit. Yeah, so yeah, well, you know, I can remember taking my nieces and nephews out to farms and stuffs it’s I’m so involved in it. And I can remember my nephew telling me he didn’t talk much with one driver and attractor but they thought a lot. He was probably five years old. But he says, We were mainly thinking. But it’s great to have somebody that will answer the questions. And it’s a different kind of Airbnb, because if people wanted to see harvest, they could be out here at harvest time, right? And it’s so many Americans don’t have that access to the farm. You got that buddy seat in the combine.


Jonathan Reynolds  16:06

And normally, if there’s not people here during harvest, we’re usually eating lunch here because mom will cook and so we’ll just we’ll be right outside walk and eat and your backup


Grounded by the Farm  16:14

works. Because it’s right in the middle of the farm. It is pretty perfectly situated for that. And I’m betting grand mom, yesterday big farm dinners around Farm lunches, or something. Somebody had to do lunch, there was a lunch service somewhere.


Kristia Peery Reynolds  16:28

Yeah, it has grown since probably more. So in the last 1520 years, something like that. Mom was very active and in having, you know, especially in the summer, in the summer, when you’re really really busy. And they you lose a lot of time to have to go to town and eat lunch and you don’t want to lose that time. You know, either make something and they take it to the tractor or we take it to the field. Or you know, come in and eat and and then leave again but because I enjoy cooking Yeah, so that’s fun for me too. And I do enjoy it. lately. It hasn’t been as much. Baking has been really busy. Yeah, yeah, I can see


Grounded by the Farm  17:12

that. Yes. If but so if people wanted to stay here, the grocery stores and restaurants are pretty far away. Yes. You also offered to help with food?


Kristia Peery Reynolds  17:22

I do. So one of the things that I wanted to be different because I do enjoy it and I also know that we’re limited on resources. Like we do have a nice restaurant in town a fun little home place called the beehive and they have great meal great fish stuff like that you know local food it’s but they’re closed on Sunday nights Monday nights and Tuesday nights and so you’re very limited and then the other restaurant yeah Walmart is 30 minutes away and then closest fast food yes


Grounded by the Farm  18:01

couldn’t get fuel after nine o’clock and and I know how that works because I have lived in rural areas and if you forget to get gas and you have a long way to go you’re in trouble because yeah, yes so so you actually offer to help them with meals or something at at a reasonable rate and well do you make your grand mom’s like cornbread or something? Surely your grandma had something that there’s like some recipes at hers that are still around in your world? Yes.


Kristia Peery Reynolds  18:29

Mostly sweets. That’s what I really took away from now. You know, Grandma me cooked? The standard mashed potatoes, turnip greens, you know, fried chicken, salmon patties, things like that, you know, but the one things that especially since I like to bake her chess pie is fine. Yeah, that one actually I don’t I don’t know if it’s a no one of the magazines around here actually put it in think Kentucky living or conducting monthly or something like that. Put it in and she had a strawberry cake that we still use that some of the cupcakes and cakes that’s what the birthday cake that I just did is a strawberry hers. And then she takes out Yeah, yeah. And then a coconut cake she had it was a sour cream coconut cake. So we did we had it yesterday for Easter dinner. And so so those are the three things she used to make a Sock it to me cake. It was a bundt cake. I don’t know if if anybody even knows what that is. I’ve got a recipe in a cookbook I did years ago. So you know what that is then? Okay. I didn’t know it’s like cinnamon and has like the crunch on the top. Yeah, it was really good. It was really good cake. But you know, not many people want bundt cakes anymore. So yeah,


Grounded by the Farm  19:54

so if people come here though, it’s, this is gonna feel pretty low tech. I mean, you have Wi Fi and everything. I mean, it’s not like a smart TV, Smart TV, but it really is a quiet place. It is.


Kristia Peery Reynolds  20:07

And we we Galen and I talked about the different things that well, we’ve actually been to several different Airbnbs. And that’s another thing. That’s the reason why I wanted to even have an Airbnb is he planned our honeymoon, and that was the very first bed and breakfast that I ever went to. It was always a hotel. And it was in what part of Nashville outside of south of Franklin, Tennessee? Oh, yeah. Yeah. And, and it was called the peacock Hill in and they just sold it not long ago. I I’ve watched it. And I mean, like it made such an impact. I remember it was a Anita and Walter were the owners, Ogilvy that was there. Yeah, it was a working cattle farm. And I just loved it. I loved it so much. We sent our parents to there, we went back again, we have all these pictures, like we would go and see how they built on. And I wanted to do that. But I didn’t think it was possible because the house is small. And you know, starting out, didn’t think we could afford to do that. And then Airbnb, Galen, he says he’s not the idea person. I’m just I’m actually making this literally. No, now. He says he’s not the idea person. But he’s been the one that’s like, been the catapult to all of it. The baking, taking me into the air to the unit who says


Grounded by the Farm  21:38

he is rolling his act and like, whatever. Yeah, but it’s true.


Kristia Peery Reynolds  21:42

Because you’re the one that said when when we were catering the lady that helped me. And the kids were growing up, they did not. This was my dream, not theirs. And he knew that I wanted to do a bed and breakfast. And the lady that worked with me was she was diagnosed with cancer. And it was in the fall of 17. And she passed away in January of 18. And so it was very quick. But he had said, you know, maybe now’s the time to look at the bed and breakfast, and why don’t you look into Airbnb. And I was like, okay, so I was like, Hey, we don’t have to do anything except put furniture back in. We have to take all the tables out. And that’s exactly what we did the bed in this bedroom. Here is the bed. This is grandma, me and granddad, his bed is back. I bought a bedroom suit from a cousin. You know, these are two of the tables that were there. You know, most people don’t have two tables in their living room. But it works right now.


Grounded by the Farm  22:51

For games and stuff my family probably didn’t know. Yeah.


Kristia Peery Reynolds  22:54

And it is kind of nice, you know. And so we that’s exactly what we did. And we had people friends of ours come and stay. And so part


Grounded by the Farm  23:05

of it that you were talking about it sounds like you wanted to cultivate like these relationships with people over time, like you had with this other brand and back. So do you have returned? Guest? Yes.


Kristia Peery Reynolds  23:18

I’m so excited. Like, so we are. We are what in our third year. Is that? Right? Okay, we’re in our third year. And we’ve had some people that we’ve known who have come back, they hunt. And so they come from Louisiana. We’ve got some hunters from Georgia that have come in. But I think the one that I’m so excited about is last year for Fourth of July, we had a couple and their dog come from Chicago. And so, backstory a lot of people, you know, you want to know, why are they here? Mom always ask, Well, why are they coming? And I’m like, I don’t know, yet. I haven’t been able to ask where that’s right. And you think they’re passing through? That’s what it used to be is it was people coming for work? Here close, there’s not a lot of hotels, or people prefer to be alone. You know, they don’t want to share a space or whatever. And so they were passing through. But then all of a sudden, like I would say, oh, you know, because if I was baking and I tell people if I need to be here, make it work around their schedule in mind. And oh, you know, did you come for a wedding? Or when they’re like, No, we just came here and I’m like you came here like to Spring Hill. Like you don’t have anything else to do like they You really came


Grounded by the Farm  24:45

here or no work nearby and they were like No, we


Kristia Peery Reynolds  24:49

just saw your pictures and the farm and it was beautiful and we wanted to get away and so we came here and so then last year they this couple from Chicago their dog escaped Third of all of the fireworks and they were looking for a place to get away. And so and I don’t always remember their names, I didn’t get to meet them. But she sent me a message a month ago, and they get her coming back. And they said, we just had the best time. And it’s such a beautiful area and all the space. And we just we wanted to come back. And I was like, that’s the best compliment. You know? It is. Yeah. So that makes me happy. And I love that people. I want them to, to feel what we feel here. I used to think that everybody grew up and had the same experience that I did. And I realized when I got older that that was very, it was very rare. And we were very blessed. And but I think people need that. And and my I bet I know who said the house that hugs you because I have a friend from Mississippi that says that it’s the house that hugs you. And that was like the that was like one of the sweetest things that she could say because it is to me, I mean, I know it’s just a house, but there’s just so many things here. And I just feel like we were so blessed. My my grandma me was a was great in hospitality. That’s why our little logo is hospitality is our heritage, because that’s true. We always had people in in our house. And it didn’t matter who we the door was always open even galas, parents, I mean, lots of stories that we heard. And I think that’s important to him. People feeling loved. And I always said that. I felt like some people have a purpose. And I realized it may sound odd for some people. But this is truly how I feel is I just felt like even though it’s just cakes, it’s it’s just a bed and breakfast. I’m just in quotes here, you know, it’s important to me, but I felt like I was really serving Jesus by serving other people. And I was being hands and feet. It wasn’t that I have to force anything on anyone. I just think people especially now need to feel seen and heard and loved, and, and need a place sometimes to just rest. And I hope that this is it that you know that when they’re here that they feel something different, and they leave and they’re refreshed. And it’s quiet. And yes, we have internet and stuff like that. But you know, it’s a place to recharge. And I hope that they feel well taken care of when they’re here by us,


Grounded by the Farm  27:55

just based on what I’m reading on. Seems like, definitely. And when a friend told me, I was telling a friend, I was going to be in this area of the country. And she’s I asked Who should I talk to you, she was like, Oh my gosh, this is where you need to go. And I can see why people would want to come back to that again. And especially if you live in a very different environment, this is a chance to see something that’s very unique for some people. And it’s taken for granted by others who have always had it maybe sometimes but you guys have instead of taking it for granted, you’ve packaged it up in a way that makes it accessible to others. So if if folks are gonna be coming through the middle of the country, or they’re here, it’s interesting, I noticed it looked like some sometimes people from the military bases that aren’t very far use this as a way to just get away out of a hectic world they’re in or something and think about her it seems perfect that you have people like that coming back and if they are interested, and getting a little bit touch more food, which is what we really love to talk about is on the farm side of things. Now you know you got Jerry and Jonathan and everybody show you around. You could take a ride in that buddy seat put him to work. He looks darn serious saying that. Well, I want to thank you all I think we’re at the time so I’m going to put in a lot of links so folks can follow back up with you if they’re interested in coming out. I really do. Tell you guys I just met him a couple hours ago had the most amazing burger that Jerry makes down at the shop for the the folks working on the farm and stuff and I’ve got cupcakes to go so I’m kind of live in the sweet life myself.


Kristia Peery Reynolds  29:49

Well our guests always I do try to leave those for people even if I don’t cook for them, you know, because that is extra. It’s not included, but I do leave stuff for them for breakfast. Just because it’s not just an Airbnb, because we are so far away from modern convenience as a modern conveniences, you know, we just don’t have somewhere you can run at 11 o’clock at night if you want something to eat. So I’ll try to leave snacks and drinks and coffee and stuff like that. But


Grounded by the Farm  30:18

I think the hospitality is always I can see it’s part of your heritage, because since I’ve been here, I’ve had a lot of it. Yes. We take pride in that. All right, thanks, everybody. We’ll be back in two weeks with another episode. And in the meantime, we’re going to have some video and stuff for you to check out you’re going to want to see the pictures of this house. Chances are it’s going to bring back some memories to some old photos that your family has somewhere whether you’ve lost track of them or not. They’re they’re great old photos around here that you want to ask questions. This is Janice will talk to you again in two weeks today.

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