‘It means everything to us’: Letcher Countians tell how family history can overcome anything

WYMT Mountain News Weekend Edition newscast at 6 p.m. on Sunday
Published: Feb. 12, 2023 at 2:42 PM EST
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JEREMIAH, Ky. (WYMT) - It is a family affair at most businesses in Letcher County.

At Rocket Farm, rocket logos and a cat named “Rocket” are spread across the property along with their crops.

For decades, however, it has been the Breeding family home.

“It means everything to us. I mean, it has sentimental value like you said, and it also, one thing that we do is we grow and we harvest vegetables and fruits that our own family uses and eats throughout the seasons and everything,” Letcher County farmer Mike Eldridge said.

The community also gets a part of the harvest.

“We provide our produce to Cowan Community Center for their meal programs, and we provide our produce to Cane Kitchen,” Eldridge’s brother-in-law and fellow farmer Timothy Breeding said.

Their progress came to a screeching halt on July 28. Flood water ripped through their crops and the soil it was growing in.

“We figure if we didn’t want it, we ain’t gonna send it out to the community for anybody else to eat,” Mike Eldridge said. “We take a lot of pride in it and when the flood waters receded, it just broke your heart, because we put so much work in it and we take a lot of pride in our little farm.”

The next few months were spent taking soil samples and reshaping their landscape that was destroyed.

“We turned and tilled the soil and put manure and stuff on the soil, compost, but we’re still not 100%,” Eldridge said.

Thankfully, their berries and the high tunnel were just soaked in water running off the mountainside, so that area was salvageable.

Even if they lost it all, however, Timothy Breeding and Mike Eldridge were going to continue doing what they love.

“As long as we’re alive, me or him one is alive, we’re gonna try to grow and produce, because we love the vegetables and everything too,” Eldridge said.

As they continue to recover, the family is still dedicated to also serving the community at local farmer’s markets and through individual requests.