Tennessee Organic Farms Bring Life to the Table
As we all become more health conscious, we’re looking for ways to discover how ‘tasty’ can mean ‘nutritious.’ In Middle Tennessee we are blessed with an abundance of farmer’s markets, co-ops, CSAs, and organic farms that make it so easy to shop local and provide our families with healthy choices.
A favorite treasure in my neighborhood is Madison Creek Farms, a 38-acre third generation family-owned farm in Sumner County. Peggy Lynn Marchetti, daughter of country music legend Loretta Lynn, has carved out a life in the heart of Goodlettsville with her husband, “Farmer Mark,” on their sustainable, organic farm.
Like many CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture), they benefit from the investment of folk who buy shares to help the farm’s cash flow, and in return pick up their weekly basket of fresh-picked produce throughout the growing season.
This is a great stop every Saturday from 9:00 a.m. -2:00 p.m., spring through fall, when the farm is open to the public, selling fresh herbs, vegetables, and cut flowers from beds of brilliant dahlias, cosmos, sunflowers and zinnias. While the kids are playing or chasing the chickens, it’s a great chance to make new friends while browsing the fresh picked produce and mouthwatering pies, pastries, bread, soaps and home goods in the Pavilion Market, or wander the garden beds.
Peggy Lynn is the Tennessee version of The Pioneer Woman, with her own charming man. She shares her vibrant charisma and energy through her blog, The Female Farmer, plus a variety of herbal workshops and cooking demonstrations. The irresistible couple also host farm weddings, event collaboration with local restaurant Chef’s Market, and Dinner in the Flower Field ~ a romantic harvest festival celebration.
So why buy organic? “Smart sustainable organic agriculture not only is the key to our future, but is the only way to save this planet and the health and well being of our children,” shared Peggy. “This is about healthy food, for not only your body but for your soul and senses. This is a community farm, and we want you to feel at home here.”
Organic means free of pesticides, hormones, chemical fertilizers, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and animals given access to the outdoors.
“Fresh picked produce is loaded with nutrients,” said Sylvia Ganier, owner of the Green Door Gourmet in West Nashville. “We’ve forgotten what real food is. The best apples are the ones with sunspots that make them sweeter. If they’re a little soft, that’s OK, turn them into apple pie. Fresh, flavorful and nutritious, that’s what we want to bring back.”
Like Madison Creek Farms, the Green Door Gourmet is a sustainable farm, renewing the land by ploughing in cover crops, using beneficial insects, crop rotation, organic soil amendments and compost. “Everything has a purpose,” Sylvia explained. “We even make a tincture from stinging nettles to repel bugs on other plants.”
The Green Door Gourmet is a part of Cumberland Valley Farms, a sustainable farm on the outskirts of Nashville with roots going back to the 1940s. Sylvia and her husband bought the farm 10 years ago, and are now servicing high end Nashville restaurants with fresh, organic vegetables, herbs and flowers.
I signed up as a member of the Green Door Gourmet Farm to Fork Co-Op, so I too could order from an amazing variety of fresh produce and artisan products online – and then have the fun of picking them up!
The farm is open Tuesday – Saturday, 9 a.m. -3 p.m. The Green Door represents about 20 hand-selected regional producers who provide artisan products including olive oils, sauces, relishes, dressings, preserves, soaps, natural skin care, native Tennessee wood products, locally roasted coffee, and oh, my! Jeni’s ice cream is so good, it comes with a spoon so you can eat it on the way home!
It’s a great learning place, with special kids’ garden and even a lemonade stand run by young entrepreneurs on a Saturday morning.
“This is all about the desire for community that is so absent in society today,” said Sylvia. “People want to connect. We provide a way for them to do it.”
So here’s a challenge…plan your own weekend roadtrips and discover the amazing variety of organic farms right in your own neighborhood! Eating healthy is fun… and delicious!