I like to consider myself as a girly girl. However, I am not afraid to get some of the earth’s soil on my hands and a little dirt under my nails. After meeting Farmer Steve of Homestead Manor, learning about their ‘farm to table’ mission and their modern farming techniques, I was immediately inclined to figure out how we could work together. Farming is not an easy task for one to take on alone, so I called on my fellow Nashvillian, Natasha of Hello Happiness. We had an amazing experience on the farm and I’m so excited to take you on the journey!
I’ll begin with some background information on the 197-year-old Homestead Manor. Located in Thompson Station, TN, just outside of Columbia, the plantation is spread across 50-acres of land, offering an abundance of dining, entertainment and learning opportunities to the community. Natasha and I spent a majority of the day working at The Farm at Homestead – their organic farm which supplies the restaurant and bar on the property with the freshest produce for their menu. There’s also an orchard, greenhouse and herb garden which provides the chef with a variety of natural seasoning and veggies. Starting in May, they will open up their farmers market to sell their goods, along with some of the local farmers’ products.
Natasha and I were so excited about our adventure; I believe we had everyone fooled. I am sure when they saw us walk up, they thought that there was no way these two women were going to get dirty…but they were wrong! We hopped right into the chick coop, and started fluffing the chicks woodchips with bare hands! That’s right guys – Natasha and I were not scared. We agreed that once you have children, there is not much else that will gross you out. Farmer Steven educated us on the kind of feed he uses for the chicks. It’s very soft, organic grain. He mentioned that it was important to feed the chicks the right feed, so they don’t ingest any harmful chemicals. Natasha and I are headed back in May to see how much the chicks have grown and to learn more about the way Steven is raising “his girls.”
After we had finished cuddling up those adorable chicks, we moved out into the field to help gather baby radishes and asparagus. One of the benefits of working out in the field is getting to taste what you pulled out of the ground. There is nothing fresher! The baby radishes were tender and sweet, while the asparagus was crisp and earthy…both would be perfect for a Bloody Mary or a salad. Once we gathered what we could, Farmer Steven sent our veggies straight to the kitchen, where the chef will use them in his dishes; definitely defining farm to table.
Next, Natasha and I headed into the greenhouse where we helped dig up a bed that grew their lettuces. We got on our knees and pulled out all the old roots to loosen up the soil. We spread a mixture of seeds that Steven had specially mixed for Homestead Manor’s salad and left a small section for a new lettuce seed to add into his particular mix. This is how they control the way their salad tastes. Farmer Steven mentioned that there are health benefits to getting dirt under your nails, and I believe it! He said that there were healthy bacteria in the soil that helps your body’s immune system – kinda cool, right?
Farmers are some of the hardest working people I know, and I think it’s imperative to learn about how our foods are produced. Farmers, like Steven, put the time and effort into making high-quality, healthy foods that are good for our bodies. I cannot wait to go back and explore some more! Stay tuned as Natasha and I move the chicks, check out the solar panels for the greenhouse, and help out in the kitchen – it will be super exciting!