Heavy rains overnight bagged the sandlot soccer game I was supposed to photograph at Check Elementary School Saturday so the trip back gave me a chance to make an overdue visit to the Houston family’s Sweet Providence Farm Market.
The smell of burning wood greeted me as I opened the Jeep door after a drive up the steep hill to the market on the hill overlooking U.S. 221.
Apple butter production was underway in the cool, damp morning air: Apple butter made the old fashioned way — slowly stirred in a huge pot over an open wood fire. Inside the market, the Houston family sells local produce, jams, jellies and some kick-ass barbeque sauce: All fresh, all good. Many people in Floyd County remember John Paul Houston from his days at the Farm Bureau.
Amy and I feel a special connection to the family because they owned the house we now call home for more than 10 years, purchasing the rambling Cape Cod from original owner Eric Quesenberry.
They sold the home in 2001 to purchase what is now Sweet Providence Farm. We bought their former home from the new owners three years later. While selling me a jar of apple butter, one of John Paul’s daughters told me they remember their old homestead fondly and still drive by the place from time to time to see what we’ve done with it.
If you’re looking for some good apple butter, fresh local produce, free-range chickens and more, check out Sweet Providence at 3263 Floyd Hwy North about seven miles out of Floyd. On weekends, you might also find the family playing traditional mountain music on the market porch. It’s worth the visit.