When I opened Facebook this morning, the first thing I saw was a “Facebook memory” from 3 years ago. It was a blog post entitled “Why A Farm” and it was the first ever post on this website. (If you’re fairly new to following our farm journey, you may want to take a moment and check out why we decided to start a farm in the first place.)
With all that being said, I thought it might be of interest to share all that you, our friends and customers, helped us to accomplish in 2016:
Those of you who know me, probably know that God has given me a love for the people of East Africa. Since 2010 I have been blessed to go on 9 evangelistic mission trips to Rwanda (1), Uganda (2) and Kenya (6). Throw in a Christian camping ministry trip this past April to South Africa and it adds up to 10 trips across the pond.
Now, for the first time, I have an opportunity to go on an agricultural mission trip to an orphan village in Mbira, Uganda. Our church (Long Hollow Baptist) helps to support the orphanage and this will be my 3rd trip there, but the first time I will be focused on helping the missionaries and staff enhance their farming activities.
Suffice it to say I’m both excited and nervous. Excited to be going back and seeing everyone, plus it’s a great opportunity to take what I’ve learned over the past 3 years farming here and hopefully use this experience to help the village become more sustainable. On the other hand, it makes me very nervous to be the “farming expert” on the team, given all that I don’t know!
The primary focus on this trip will be to install an irrigation system. Doing so will allow them to grow crops year round, even during their “dry” seasons. Currently they are blessed to have a good well, but no way to efficiently move the water from the well to the crops. Installing a solar pump with drip irrigation lines will help improve the yield on their existing food crops. It will also give them a chance to raise cash crops, such as strawberries, to help support the work of the orphanage and school, while at the same time saving valuable water.
Our trip is scheduled to depart January 26 and between now and then, I could use your help on a couple of things. First and foremost, I would love to have a team of prayer warriors on board with us for the trip. If you are willing to commit to pray for our trip, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will add you to my “prayer warrior” email list. This way I can email you with specific prayer requests, both before we leave, as well as while we’re in the field.
Secondly, the cost of this trip will be approximately $2,000. The good news is this is the least expensive trip I’ve ever been on to Africa, as we got a great deal on the airfare. The not as good news is this is still not an insignificant amount of money for an “old” farmer. If you feel led to help financially with the cost of the trip, it would be greatly appreciated. To contribute, click on this link and it will take you to the Long Hollow mission page. Scroll down until you come to the Uganda section and click on the “Give Now” button next to our trip listing. From there simply follow the instructions and you can make your contribution securely online.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post. I know it’s a little more personal than what we typically talk about, but we do consider you a part of our farm family and this is what families do. They share their lives with each other.
Thanks again for being a part of ours and Merriest of Christmas’ to you and your family!
Have you been missing your pasture-raised, all natural pork, chicken and eggs since the Hendersonville Farmers Market closed for the year? Well, we have great news for you!
In past years, we have only sold off the farm during the fall, winter and spring, but in speaking with many of you, we realized this is not always convenient for our customers who live in and around Hendersonville, Gallatin and Goodlettsville. As a result, we are excited to announce our new Glenbrook delivery option!
Every Saturday morning we will be delivering prepaid orders to the Glenbrook Shopping Center (end near Target) from 9:00am-10:00am. To order, simply shop online on this website!
You can pay online and select when you want to pick up your order. Then all you have to do is come to Glenbrook on Saturday between 9:00 and 10:00 to pick up your order. It’s as easy as that!
If you should have any questions, please call (615-330-3153), or email (email@example.com). Thanks!
“Know your farmer, know your food” is something we say a lot around here. Given the amount of deceptive/vague labeling on store bought food, we believe knowing exactly where your food comes from is the best way to ensure natural, healthy food for your family.
As we kick off our 3 rd year of all-natural farming, I thought it could be helpful to share some past educational posts, as well as a couple new articles to help our friends and customers become more intentional when buying food for the family. Here’s a short list that you will hopefully find helpful:
I don’t know about you, but we are excited to see fall just around the corner. As you can imagine, summer is crazy busy on the farm. Cultivating, planting, weeding, picking, packing baskets, rinse and repeat over and over. Whew! Getting tired again just remembering!
Fall, on the other hand, signals a time when things begin to slow down a touch and we get a little time to catch our breath. Of course this doesn’t mean there’s nothing happening on the farm. Oh no, far from it. Just means we’re not as crazy busy as during the summer!
Fall also means I now have time to update everyone on all the happenings around the farm. There are new additions to both our animal collection and product offerings. Can’t wait to tell you about ’em, so here goes!
Click here for our fall newsletter…
Recently the Nashville Farmer’s Market was in the news when the announcement was made that this spring they will revert to being a “producer” only market. In other words, only the people who actually make, raise or grow the products they are selling will be allowed to have booths.
The decision has been both applauded and derided, depending on perspective. Local farmers who sell at the market are 100% in support, as are customers who want to buy directly from the farmer growing the food. On the other side are the “resalers” (wholesale produce suppliers) who have been selling at the market for years and the customers who prefer convenience and year-round produce availability.
I posted the article from The Tennessean on my personal Facebook page, as well as our farm page, and received numerous well-stated comments from both sides. As I thought about replying to each one, I realized it made more sense to write this post and explain in more detail where I land in this debate. Obviously, as a local farmer, I have a dog in this hunt, so it’s only fair our customers (and potential customers) know exactly where we stand on this issue.
Let me start by giving a couple of definitions of what is a farmer’s market:
In both cases the emphasis is on farmers selling directly to customers. This is why farmer’s markets were started. To give local farmers a cost effective way to connect and sell directly to local customers. As a new farm starting out last year, selling at a local “farmer’s market” was critical for us. It gave us exposure to new customers that we otherwise would not easily have gotten and a number of those customers have continued to support us through the winter.
While definitely a win for us, participating in this market also taught us some valuable lessons. Unlike the direction the Nashville market is taking, our market is not a “producer-only” market. In other words there are produce vendors there who are “resalers” and do not grow what they sell. Some are very open about this and others…not so much. As the season went on, these are the lessons we learned…
That being said, I would definitely like to see full disclosure from all the vendors at our market. Did you make, raise or grow the products you’re selling? If not, be up front and tell people where they came from. It’s pretty obvious when the bottom of the mug says “made in China”, but not so much when it comes to produce. I believe full disclosure helps even the playing field and gives the local farmer (like us) a fighting chance to be successful at market.
The next time you’re shopping at a farmer’s market, and in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask where that produce came from and how it was grown. It’s your right as a consumer to get an honest answer before spending your hard-earned money. For those of you who really care about where the food you’re eating comes from, we have very simple advice for you… “Know your farmer, know your food.”
We would love to hear more from you and what your thoughts are on this topic. Please feel free to share in our comments section.
don’t know about you, but we have much to be thankful for here on the farm. Our first year of operation has provided us with many more ups than downs and we look forward to next year and all the new experiences it will bring.
As we enter into the holiday season, we wanted to wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving. Hopefully it will be joyful time with family and friends. We’re looking forward to having all of our kids and grandson here to celebrate and believe it or not…we’re planning to have pasture-raised chicken instead of turkey. What can I say? We didn’t raise any turkeys!
For all of you planning to do the cooking this Thanksgiving, I thought I would leave you with a recipe. If you don’t have a favorite gravy recipe (and heaven forbid you don’t plan on opening a can…), here’s one I came across this week and plan on trying myself. It looks delicious!
Finally, what’s your favorite Thanksgiving recipe? We would love it (and I’m sure our readers would too) if you would take just a minute and post it to our comments.
Again, Happy Thanksgiving and let’s go Cowboys!!
As someone new to “commercial” farming, I must admit I did not know a lot about GMOs when we launched our farm last year. However, over the past year I’ve learned enough to realize the use of GMOs is a very complex issue, with the discussion driven by passionate people on both sides who know a lot more about science than I ever will.
For those who may not know, GMO stands for genetically modified organism.
Dictionary.com defines a GMO as "an organism whose genome has been altered by the techniques of genetic engineering so that its DNA contains one or more genes not normally found there. Note: a higher percentage of food crops such as corn and soybeans are genetically modified."
Basically it’s inserting genes from one organism into another in order to accomplish a desired outcome in the host organism.
My intent with this post is not to try and persuade you to believe one way or the other, but to simply raise awareness. I want to encourage you to do your own research and make your decisions based on what you believe is best for you and your family. To help kick start the education process, here are 3 links I would suggest you read:
Hard to believe, but this past week we delivered our last CSA baskets for 2014! Sometimes it has seemed like it was just last month we started on this journey and other times it felt like our 6 month CSA season would never end. We’ve decided that’s pretty much the nature of small farming.
That being said, we would like to thank all of our customers. Some of you we knew before we started, but many of you we met for the first time this year and now consider you a member of our farm family.
While we still have almost 2 months remaining in the year, I thought this would be a good opportunity to reflect on our first year of farming. This past weekend I was entering data into Quickbooks and decided to take a look at what we’ve sold so far this year. Would you believe we’ve sold approximately 750 dozen eggs and 1,500 pounds of chicken?? I know, pretty crazy for a couple of newbie farmers! Throw in the 4 hogs we’ve sold and it’s safe to say we’ve been pleasantly surprised by the demand for our pastured pork and poultry.
On the produce side, we’ve learned that growing fresh, all-natural produce is a lot of hard work. Weeding will definitely help you burn a bunch of calories and I think it’s safe to say I’ve killed more bugs with my hands than 95% of the US population! However we both felt it was worth it when we delivered our CSA baskets and heard great feedback on the quality and taste of what we were growing.
Again, many thanks to all of you who have helped make this first year of farming successful and very rewarding and we look forward to seeing you around the farm soon!
Recently we had the opportunity to host a film crew from RFD-TV for the morning. A former LifeWay colleague, Pam Case, is executive director of their evening rural news show and she suggested they come out to do a story on our transition from the corporate world to that of farmers. We had a lot of fun showing them around the farm, doing an interview and then watching the story the following day on their evening news show.
Personally, I think the piglets and chicks steal the show, but I’ll let you decide. Here’s the story. Feel free to leave us a comment and let us know what part you liked most!
RFD-TV News Story