LUKE ALSTON gave up a stable career as a
Farm Bureau insurance claims adjuster to
pursue his dream of farming, returning to his
family’s farm that his great-great-grandfather
homesteaded in 1897.
At his Holly Springs Homestead farm at
Mena, Ark., he built eight broiler chicken
houses and established a successful agritourism enterprise featuring an on-farm market,
a corn maze, pumpkin patch, pick-your-own
crops, and other attractions.
In recognition of his success as a diversified farmer, Alston has been named Arkansas
state winner of the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt
Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year award.
He currently farms about 80 acres of
rented land and 362 acres of owned land.
His large acreage crops include round bale
silage and pasture.
For six weeks every autumn, Alston hosts
“Fall Fun on the Farm,” featuring a corn maze,
pick-your-own pumpkins, hayrides, and live
music. Later in the fall, he offers Fraser fir
Christmas trees for sale.
On a smaller scale, he grows pick-your-own
specialty crops that include strawberries, black-
berries, blueberries, raspberries, pumpkins,
and muscadines, as well as a variety of produce
crops, such as tomatoes, sweet corn, watermel-
ons, peas, lettuce, greens, herbs, asparagus,
Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, okra,
bell peppers, squash, cucum-
bers, turnips, and beets. Stalks
of field corn are harvested for fall
decorations, along with square
Orchard crops of peaches,
figs, apples, persimmons, and
plums will be in full production in 2020, and muscadine
vines will be in production
in 2019. He also grows cut
flowers, including sunflowers.
He’s increasing the number of
beehives to meet demand for
Alston strengthened his
DEEDEE AND LUKE ALSTON
marketing program by joining
the Arkansas Grown, Arkansas
Made, Farm to School and Farm
to Institution programs, and by
completing produce safety
training. To meet the needs of additional
buyers, he increased plantings of greens,
tomatoes, watermelons, and pumpkins. He
also grows plots of rice, wheat, soybeans,
grain sorghum, peanuts, and other crops to