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iMeet

Dr. Beverly Largent has been a pediatric dentist in Paducah for 34 years. She takes pride in not only treating children’s teeth but educating parents about best practices for ensuring a healthy smile. Hugs from clients are her favorite reward, but after hours, you will most likely catch her engrossed in a good book. iMeet the dentist to many kids, including mine!

Meg and Nathan Huyck own Huyck Farms. It’s been in Nathan’s family for years - remember Schmidt Farms? Meg is also a perfusionist (yeah, I didn’t know either!). They have two precious children and are always busy, busy, busy! This sweet couple met at a roller derby bout and then again at church the next day…the rest is history. iMeet this fun, farming family.

Welcome to iMeet, Meg and Nathan. First things first…how do you pronounce your last name?

It's pronounced “Hike”

Tell us about the Huyck family…

Meg: I was an Army brat, and we moved around a lot when I was little. I was born at Ft. Leavenworth in Kansas City, Missouri, then we moved to Alexandria, Virginia, while my dad worked at the Pentagon. Then Dad was stationed in Belgium and Nashville. Our final stop was northwest Arkansas where my dad retired after 26 years with Army Intelligence.

I spent most of my growing up years in beautiful northwest Arkansas. I went to college at a Christian college, John Brown University, in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, where I majored in Biology - thinking I wanted to be a doctor. By Junior year Id changed my mind and after my B.S. in Biology, I got my A.A.S in Respiratory Therapy. I felt God led me to the program - I grew up with chronic, severe asthma and was hospitalized often as a child.

I worked as an RRT for two years and then attended Rush University in Chicago and received my Master's in Cardiovascular Perfusion. In Perfusion, you move where the job is because it's so specialized. I operate the heart-lung machine used during open heart surgery. I got a job in Paducah, so I moved here knowing not a soul and nothing about what the city offered. But I soon came to love it, though I miss my family in Arkansas so, so much.

I started roller derby with the Radioactive City Rollergirls (The Atomics) right after I moved here and at my first bout on a Saturday in September 2009, I saw Nathan in the stands. The next day I visited St. Paul Lutheran where I saw Nathan again. He saw me, too. We had our first date December 31, and we were married September 11, 2010.

Nathan: I was born and raised in Paducah and went to school at Lone Oak. I attended WKCTC for two years, then to UK for three years and got a degree in mechanical engineering. I almost changed to horticulture after bombing my first test but decided to stick with it and made it through.

Tell us about your family...

Meg: We have a six-year-old boy named Samuel (Sam) Rhame Huyck and a four-year-old girl named Abigail (Abby) Anne Huyck. They are the cutest and so creative. They make life more fun, and busy, and messy (ha ha), but they are the biggest blessings in our lives, and I thank God for my babies.

Sam will be in first grade and Abby in preschool at Concord Elementary in the fall. Sam loves to play with Legos and trains- building awesome and unique tracks every day. Abby plays “house” with her baby dolls and “strollers”. If they're not at school or spending the day with a grandparent, they are at the farm and market with us.

We recently acquired a farm cat. After some TLC and food and water, he has stuck around. Samuel named him Max - Max the black cat. Providentially, now we have an actual black cat for the famous "Black Cat Cave." We may someday have "pet" chickens and cows but not yet.

Tell us about Huyck Farms...

The farm was started by Nathan's great grandparents. Then it went to his great aunt and uncle, then their daughter, Dorothy (Dutch) Thurman, and now it's ours. It was Nathan's dream to take over the family farm since he started working here when he was fourteen years old. Nathan even bought the house across the street from the farm and planted a peach, and apple orchard there.

When the farm went up for auction in December 2016, Nathan's dream came true. We bought the farm and the home, and as much as we could keep here as possible. We renovated and moved into Great Aunt Dorothy's and Uncle Bud's house that summer and opened the farm back up in October 2017 as Huyck Farms.

Last Fall, we grew pumpkins, gourds and winter veggies, we made the famous fresh-pressed apple cider, we had a corn maze, we had the “Black Cat Cave” for kiddos, and we had tractor rides to the pumpkin patch on the weekends. Then we sold apples, cider, veggies, and old-fashioned candy once pumpkin season was over. We also had "Cider with Santa".

This fall we'll have even more home-grown fresh produce to sell and mums galore that we just recently planted. This past winter, we planted a ton of seeds and grew lots of flowers and a large variety of heirloom tomato and pepper plants. We sell those as well as fresh produce and eggs.

We've planted tomatoes, peppers and squash. We truly are trying to continue the tradition of Schmidt Farms. We want people to "take a hike to Huyck Farms." We invite everyone to come see what we have to offer, as well as love and support this small family farm. 

What vegetables and fruits are available now?

We currently sell watermelons, cantaloupes, peaches, apples, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, peppers, green beans, all kinds of onions (Vidalia are my favorite), sweet potatoes, Idaho Russet potatoes, Yukon Gold potatoes, farm fresh free-range eggs, and local honey. We try to buy and sell what's yummy and what's as local as possible depending on the season. And, as what we grew produces, we'll sell our own "Huyck-grown" varied produce, too.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Free time...What's that? I feel like I don't have any free time anymore. But if the opportunity presents itself, I love camping, canoeing, hiking, biking. In college I went caving, canoeing, or rappelling nearly every weekend and I miss it - I love the outdoors. I also love taking my kiddos to the park and date nights with my husband.

Nathan loves the Atlanta Braves. He watches as many of their games as possible, and he enjoys going to their games whenever it works out (like once every two years).

Any vacation plans this summer?

I'll be taking the kids to South Haven, Michigan on Lake Michigan this summer. It's such a neat town with really cool playgrounds and people biking everywhere. I have aunts and uncles there, and it's my happy place - stress-free, comfortable, and fun. Nathan sadly won't be able to go with us instead he'll be keeping the plants alive and the market open.

What's your favorite herb and why?

Lime Basil - love it! Smells amazing. It would be so good in so many recipes - a taste of citrus with a basil bite at the end. It would be good in lemonade and salsas and homemade Thai food.

Would you rather shop in a mall or online?

I love a good deal and I buy some things online, but my go to is thrift stores. St. Vincent Thrift Store is down the road from us and is my favorite. Anytime I need anything (except food), I go there first and they often have it.

I know everyone at iList is super excited that Huyck Farms is open for business. We’re glad the farm is still in the family, and we look forward to shopping all your locally grown goodies this fall. Thanks for sharing your story on iMeet this week.

Elizabeth Stevenson will be a senior at Marshall County High School this fall - and she’s one busy and talented gal. She plans to study pre-med at college and is already a budding musician, playing gigs around the area. Her talents include drawing and painting, and she loves listening to her old vinyls. Give a warm round of applause as we iMeet Liz!

This week’s iMeet is Anita Vowell who has taken the reins at Happy Acres Essentials. She’s in the locally sourced, organic, “smells really good on me” business. You can catch Anita at the Paducah Farmers’ Market most weekends, except when she is vacationing in Gatlinburg with her family in July. iMeet this soap-making, essential oil-toting, mother and businesswoman.

Rounding out Teacher Appreciation Month, iList presents Stacy Thomas, the Youth Services Director at McCracken County HS. While Stacy is not a teacher, her role is no less important. She is a woman of faith who loves to travel - and she’s trying to convince her personal trainer that French fries, Mexican food, and pizza need to be on her diet plan! iMeet this amazing woman who makes a difference in the lives of students.

Continuing with honoring educators this month, iList welcomes Paul Walker. Paul is an associate professor of English at Murray State University. He is trying to add on a new title this fall…congressman. He is a proud father of three who can’t pick just one favorite book but can pick his favorite pizza. iMeet a teacher who tries to make a difference in each of his students’ lives.

iList continues the theme of education and educators for Teacher Appreciation Month. This week we’re chatting with Laurie Edminster from Murray High School. She’s an English teacher involved with countless extra-curricular activities. This mother of three says The Grapes of Wrath might be her all-time favorite book. iMeet a teacher who goes above and beyond her job description for her students.

Welcome to iMeet, Laurie. We’re glad to feature you as part of Teacher Appreciation Month. Tell us about yourself...

I live in Murray and work at Murray High School, where I have taught English for the past 18 years. We moved to Murray in 2000 from Clemson, South Carolina, where I also taught high school English. I have taught in Waco, Texas, as well.

I graduated from high school in SouthCarolina in 1984 and attended Clemson for both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. My parents both worked in education  - my father was a college basketball coach and high school administrator. My mother was a district office assistant and transportation secretary.

Even as a young girl, I knew that I wanted to teach – when I was 5 years old, I would line my stuffed animals and dolls up in rows on the floor, and pretend to teach. I jokingly tell my students that I have been teaching for 47 years!

Seriously, though, in my 29 years of teaching, I have taught every grade from 7th-12th, the subjects including English I-IV, drama, creative writing, reading and study skills, Southern literature, speech, composition, AP Literature, and AP Language. I also teach dual credit courses through Murray State University, EDU 104 and EDP 260, while occasionally teaching English Education students on campus at MSU.

Tell us about your family...

I have been married to my husband Warren for soon-to-be 27 years. We have three daughters: Ashlee (22), Lauren (20), and Hannah (17). Our shelter kitty Misty has been with us for 13 years. Ashlee and Lauren both attend Murray State and are pursuing teaching degrees, while Hannah is a senior at Murray High School. She will also be attending MSU in the fall. Hannah is interested in becoming either a special education teacher or a youth counselor.

We hear you have a daughter who is getting married soon...are you in the midst of crazy wedding planning?

Yes, my oldest child is getting married in July, so we are in full blown wedding planning mode.  All of the prom planning that I have done through the years is coming in handy! Ashlee is a dynamo in organizing.

Tell us about your position at Murray High School...

I currently teach English 2, AP Language and Composition, English 3 Honors, and EDU 104/EDP 260. For the past 15 years (I think), I have been the student council sponsor at Murray High, and for the past 6 years, I have been the prom coordinator. 

I also teach an after-school ACT reading workshop on Mondays from January to March. I sponsor the Dawg Pound, Murray High’s pep club. This is my last year working with student council, but I intend to help out when needed. 

Being involved and investing in student life outside the classroom is important to me. I’m sure I have embarrassed my students screaming for them at a ballgame or band competition, and I am certain that my pep rally antics have mortified my own children. Some of my favorite moments as a teacher involve going to school with my daughters. I won’t know what to do next year without a child in high school with me!

You teach every summer with the Commonwealth Honors Academy. Tell us about that and why you do it...

I spend four weeks of my summer working with Murray State’s Commonwealth Honors Academy, a program for rising high school seniors. I love everything about this program; I get to teach in a genuine living, learning community, designing my own curriculum. 

The faculty and students interact in every aspect of “college life.”  We eat together, live in the dorm together, and attend extracurricular events together. Students take two courses, an elective course and an interdisciplinary humanities/fine arts course.

These classes are founded on a traditional subject but apply the content in a creative way. For example, I am teaching a slam poetry course this summer and I can’t wait to get started. I have worked with the program for 16 years. Each year is different, one of the many reasons why I love it so much. We have students from all over the country attend the academy.

May is Teacher Appreciation Month. Tell us about a teacher that made a difference in your life...

Each of my English teachers inspired me to read and write and learn, but my senior AP English Literature teacher, Wanda Fowler, had a rock-star quality like no other. She orchestrated discussions that were masterful, pulling in the timid students and reigning in the boisterous ones.  More importantly, she took us on adventures through reading and writing about literature. She treated us like scholars. I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that I wanted to do for others what she had done for us.

What's the most important reason that you became a teacher?

The most important reason that I became and remain a teacher is that I believe in the hope and energy of young people. Every generation needs their passion and idealism. They are the world-changers, the peace-seekers, the hope-carriers, and they need someone to teach them, to build them up, to believe in them, and to set them on their journey into the future.

What do you like to do in your free time?

My free time is spent with my family and friends, singing praise and worship songs, cheering on students at ballgames, reading, and watching Netflix!

This will be a tough one...favorite book of all-time and why?

As an English teacher, having to pick one book as a favorite is next to impossible, but I’ll give it a go. The Grapes of Wrath is poetry in prose form. The form and structure of the novel are genius, alternating plot and intercalary chapters, character development so realistic and dialogue as moving as scripture. The love, the tragedy, the sacrifices, the hope – it is life bound in a timeless cover on pages that are new each time I read it.

Any plans to retire any time soon? 

LOL – no.  While I have been teaching for 29 years, I have only been working in Kentucky for 18 years, so I have 9 years to go, but I wouldn’t be ready to retire yet even if I could. I still love teaching, and I simply cannot imagine doing anything else for a living.

Thanks for being our iMeet this week, Laurie. We want you to know how much we appreciate you and all teachers.

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