April 28 feature shows farm is not just a place for visitors but a community for farmers
CONWAY, Ark. (Arkansas PBS) — Owned and operated by Ruth and Grace Pepler, Dogwood Hills Guest Farm in Harriet, Arkansas, gives guests a hands-on homesteading experience, including a sense of community and shared purpose, culminating in incredible meals using fresh ingredients from their operation. The Peplers share why their farm is self-described as “extreme homesteading” in an all new “Good Roots” segment premiering on Arkansas PBS, Friday, April 28, during “Arkansas Week” at 7:30 p.m. and livestreaming at myarpbs.org/watch.
The Peplers moved from New Jersey to Searcy County and established Dogwood Hills Guest Farms in 2012. Ruth said what started as showing cows soon grew into new areas. “Gracie went from meat goats to dairy goats, a couple sheep and then a beef cow… and then a dairy cow,” Ruth said. “It was the first time somebody had shown dairy in over 16 years in Searcy County. It just kind of grew from there.”
At Dogwood Hills Guest Farm, guests can immerse themselves in the daily activities of a working farm, from raising barley, milking cows, producing cheese and enjoying farm-to-table meals. Consumers can get a hands-on experience on where their food comes from and how it is produced. The Peplers also host a regular weekly potluck with fellow local farmers and growers.
Gracie believes that 4-H was a big help in getting started in farming. “Learning about the implementation for how it can be turned from a hobby into a career was a big thing,” she said.
Dogwood Hills Guest Farms also offers visitors a chance to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of daily life and connect with nature. Whether picking fresh herbs, petting the goats or taking a leisurely stroll through the farm with their dogs standing guard over the dairy cows, guests have an opportunity to disconnect and immerse themselves in Searcy County.
“[My grandmother] would take me strawberry picking,” Ruth said. “We would stop at her friend’s house who had a milk cow, and we would get a pint of cream to go take home and have oatmeal and strawberries. And there’s nothing better than that.”
Segments and bonus footage of “Good Roots” are also featured on all Arkansas PBS digital platforms, including YouTube, Facebook and the PBS Video app. A blog series accompanies the segments at myarkansaspbs.org.
This episode of “Good Roots,” is funded through a Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network Grant provided by U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered by Arkansas Department of Agriculture. Additional information is available at myarpbs.org/GoodRoots.
About the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network
The purpose of the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN) Program is to establish a network that connects individuals who are engaged in farming, ranching, and other agriculture-related occupations to stress assistance programs. The establishment of a network that assists farmers and ranchers in time of stress can offer a conduit to improving behavioral health awareness, literacy, and outcomes for agricultural producers, workers and their families.
About Arkansas PBS
Arkansas PBS, Arkansas’s only statewide public media network, empowers learners of all ages by educating, informing, entertaining and inspiring communities. Arkansas PBS serves as a daily and essential resource for Arkansans by creating, sharing, celebrating and driving conversation around Arkansas stories and classic, trusted PBS programs through multiple digital platforms, including livestreaming at myarpbs.org/watch, on-demand services and YouTube TV, and the distinct channels Arkansas PBS, Arkansas PBS Create, Arkansas PBS KIDS, Arkansas PBS WORLD and Arkansas PBS AIRS on SAP. Members with Arkansas PBS Passport have extended on-demand access to a rich library of public television programming. Arkansas PBS depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. Additional information is available at myarkansaspbs.org. Arkansas PBS is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro), KETZ (El Dorado), KETS (Lee Mountain), KETS (Forrest City) and KETS (Gaither).