Fun on the farm: Old Baker Farm welcomes classes, families

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Down the road in Harpersville, one of the oldest homesteads in Shelby County teaches some of its youngest residents about farm life.

Cleared from forests more than 200 years ago, Old Baker Farm offers visitors a step back in time. Year after year, the farm educates visitors of all ages on how crops are grown and livestock raised.

&8220;We&8217;ve been studying about farm animals and plants and how to keep them growing, so the farm was a great fieldtrip choice&8221; said Kimberly Fain, teacher at Helena Baptist church&8217;s Early Learning Center.

&8220;There&8217;s a little bit of everything here,&8221; said Jerry Baker, farm owner. &8220;It&8217;s a living history farm. Coming here is experiencing a little bit of what farm life is about.&8221;

Besides crops and a petting farm, Old Baker features corn and hay mazes, hay rides, a replica of an Indian village and one of the oldest barns in the Southeast. Plus, nobody leaves the farm without bringing home his or her very own pumpkin.

Lately, the farm&8217;s been gearing up for their Cotton Pickin&8217; Celebration this weekend, Oct. 28-29. Besides Old Baker&8217;s usual farm features, the Celebration weekend will present a Civil War battle reenactment, arts and craft vendors, an antique tractor parade, hot air balloon rides and bluegrass music.

Today, Jerry Baker and his wife, Pam, manage Old Baker Farm. His grandfather Earl Baker, however, still wakes up each morning to plant crops, pick cotton and chop firewood.

At age 98, Mr. Baker still sleeps in the same bedroom he was born in. He says he plans to retire after he turns 100 years old.

The Baker family has worked the farm for more than 100 hundred years and was one of only 12 farms featured in the USDA 2000 calendar titled &8220;Millennium Celebration of Century Farms.&8221; Since it&8217;s founding, the Old Baker Farm has seen six generations of the Baker family.

Over the years, the Baker farm has raised cotton, soybeans, corn, pumpkins and Christmas trees. The family also looks after cattle, pigs, chickens, mules and horses, as well as Curly Horn, a ram, and Peanut, a 400-pound pot bellied pig.

Old Baker Farm is open weekdays from 3 p.m. to dark, Saturday from 9 a.m. to dark and Sunday from 1 p.m. to dark. School and other groups may make appointments. To contact the Bakers visit or call 672-7209