Spring is about 6 or 7 weeks away. Time to get the popup greenhouses out and get these seeds going!
Progress: Last March, many of you helped us raise funds to open our farm to more mushroom workshops. Although we fell short of our goal, a little hard work made up the difference. Thanks to your help, the workshop pavilion pad is getting poured next week (somewhere in the photo above) along with the entrance to our farm! We’re excited about what this means for accommodating growing interest in our certified organic mushroom production and farm practices.
This year is our official harvest of Tennessee’s first certified organic crop of hops on our farm! Most of this year’s harvest will be dedicated to a new product coming out this Fall with some hops available to local brew clubs. Follow us on Facebook to know when these items will be available.
Change: This year we will not be regular vendors at the Woodbury Farmers’ Market due to demand for our mushroom products. We’re still figuring out what days we’ll be there. This year will be our first official apple and blueberry harvest, and we’re excited to make these available through local restaurants or at our local market.
Seeds: We’re planting a lot of our favorites for salsa making this year from newly purchased certified organic seeds. Like our Shiitake mushrooms, whatever vegetable produce doesn’t turn into Raw Salsa will be available direct to local restaurants.
Our friends at Yellowbird Farms take a break from sheep to make Shiitake mushroom logs.
Our first season of mushroom log workshops is now closed as we head into the Winter thankful for another amazing year!
The 20 mushroom workshops we did this Fall on our farm helped introduce several people in our community to a sustainable way to grow edible Shiitake mushrooms. We are grateful to our neighbors who offered us their fallen or storm damaged oak trees for mushroom production. The logs we used helped sequester over a ton of carbon back into our food chain rather than being released back into the atmosphere as fire wood.
We were also excited to begin offering mushroom logs at our local farmers’ market in Woodbury this Summer and look forward to expanding these health & educational opportunities next year.
Despite a personal loss in our family with the passing of Sandra Landers, we were inspired to create Red Reishi and Turkey Tail extracts that now help others and fullfill our mission to be good stewards of our planet and our general well being. We are so grateful to those who seek us out and who continue to enhance our understanding of how our extracts are used.
The sum of the year’s goodness ultimately comes down to each of you. By taking a personal step to buy local, buy organic and support a sustainable lifestyle, your combined action has become the change we want to see in the world. We are forever grateful to see that at the end of a long season. Thank you for that!
This lightning struck White Oak became several Shiitake mushroom logs.
It’s always fortunate when the only damage from a storm is to property. Sometimes that includes damage to favorite old trees that in a matter of hours is reduced to firewood.
If you had a White Oak, Red Oak, Hickory or Sweet Gum tree that recently fell victim to storm damage, we can help you cut it up and remove as much as we can safely. We aren’t a professional tree service, but we can work with a tree service of your choice or cut up 4 inch or greater diameter logs they leave for us. In exchange for the logs we take, we will bring you a few of the logs inoculated with edible gourmet Shiitake mushrooms.
The inoculated logs will grow 90% of their dry weight in mushrooms over the next 3-5 years and keep decades of sequestered carbon in their tissue from re-entering the atmosphere as burned fire wood. You basically get some logs removed, create a healthy super food source (like this amazing bowl of soup) for your family and help address climate change. It’s a win-win-win!
If you want to turn your storm damaged tree into mushrooms anywhere within an hour from Woodbury or Murfreesboro, TN, give us a call at 615-469-7778.
What better way to celebrate the first full day of Spring than inoculating some locally harvested oak with medicinal and edible mushrooms! These one foot Red Reishi, Shiitake and Turkey Tail mushroom logs from Half Hill Farm are available for local pick up ($22) or ordering online if you live outside the area. We accept most major credit cards. Call 615-469-7778 for pick up.
Each log comes with instructions on how to care for your log to ensure it produces for many years to come. You can expect between 50% – 90% of the log’s weight in mushrooms over the years depending on the variety and proper care.
We also offer spawn pegs in 100 count units to inoculate your own logs. These are $12 per unit (100 will inoculate roughly three 4 feet logs) and are created from our cultivated spawn in the farm’s Shroomery lab. 500 or more are $10 per unit. These also come with basic instructions. Check out our other products for the more advanced mushroom grower.
Workshops: We do Spring and Fall workshops for small groups up to four people by appointment. You’ll learn all the basics in a quiet rural farm setting 12 miles East of Murfreesboro, TN and take home the log you inoculate.
You can help change the way people think about their food and health while reconnecting them to a rural farm experience.
Vince and I started our small seven acre USDA Certified Organic farm in rural Woodbury, Tennessee with a mission to become responsible stewards with our resources and to do something positive with our time and energy. We had no idea just how personal that mission would hit home and have created a unique mushroom extract we want to share as well as show people how to create it at home themselves.
To help fulfill our farm’s mission, we need your help to open up our farm to visitors for workshops on growing these and other mushrooms and creating life-enhancing extracts, providing pick-your-own harvests of apples, blueberries and hops, and other educational opportunities.
We’ve created an online fundraising campaign to raise $4,500 that will purchase materials (locally harvested and milled cedar and a special composting toilet) needed to build an accessible outhouse and small 10 x 20 shelter to host workshops and guests.
Here is what you get for your contribution:
$50 – you will receive a 100 ml 1:1 Reishi Mushroom extract bottled in Miron ultra-violet glass (retail value: $40) and a postcard thank you!
$100 – FREE WORKSHOP (retail value: $50) plus a 100 ml 1:1 Reishi Mushroom extract bottled in Miron ultra-violet glass (retail value: $40) and a postcard thank you!
$250 – gets you everything above, plus placement of an inspirational quote of your choice in our outhouse for visitors to read for years to come!
$1,000 – gets you everything above, plus a brass plaque dedicating our pavilion in your honor! There is only one of these special gifts available.
We hope you consider giving and can share this link with others. This will help us accommodate visitors and share our passion for making food our medicine and medicine our food.
The temperature outside right now is at its predicted low of 33 degrees, I’m hoping the crops made it through the night without any frost damage. Judging from the delicate comfrey blossoms in the front yard (pictured above), I think we might have made it.
These cold snaps in Spring are called “little winters.” I think this is Blackberry Winter.
If you are outside often enough over time, you’ll notice there are usually four or five of these singularities in weather patterns that last a day or two. They were named for the most common bloom at the time, except for “Britches Winter.” That particular cold snap refers to the need to have kept your homespun linen wool long underwear (linsey-woolsey britches) handy.
There is a 6th little winter I call a phantom winter that some folks call Whippoorwill Winter. I call it “phantom” because it’s not usually as cold or damaging as the rest.
Here are the five little winters and when they occur in Tennessee:
This week I helped a friend go through his mother’s attic at their historic Century Farm in nearby Readyville, TN and was reminded of a different time in our nation’s history.
Mary Dee Ready Cates grew up there during the Great Depression and appeared to have kept every scrap rag and glass jar they ever used. I was amazed at all of the American name brands on stuff she kept that simply don’t exist anymore. Steve gave me several of these old two and one quart blue Ball Perfect Mason jars pictured above that we found in the rafters around the chimney as well as an old pressure cooker Mary used to can food. They were some of the only items made by American companies that still exist today.
It’s an era that’s easy to romanticize in hindsight, but for many rural citizens in Tennessee at the time poverty was its own Great Depression. My grandmother told me her family knew there was a Depression going on but already lived so hard it didn’t bother them as much. They made their own clothes, toys and food. Things like oranges and chocolate were luxuries. For her family, the lessons of the time weren’t about being prepared as much as it was about being humble.
During the Great Recession, you would never have known we were a nation at war struggling to pay our bills watching the media’s reflection of a consumer culture in complete denial. If it weren’t for our investments in national infrastructure and social safety nets since the Great Depression, that would be a very different story.
We are fortunate to have so many choices today in how we struggle as a nation. Do we value the lowest price and the easy way out of hard work in exchange for the not so hidden costs to our communities, or do we heed the lesson to value something bigger? Humility, living modestly and sustainably, are values that are as important today as they’ve ever been.
We removed an old barnyard fence that was originally designed to keep livestock out of the garden area. It added another 400 square feet to the garden.
I removed some old cedar posts that were used to keep the soil from washing away and replaced them with another short rock wall. This time we used a hand truck to move very large stones weighing over 100 lbs. each.
Vince went ahead and planted a lot more seeds to account for the extra space. We’ll now have space to start herbs this Spring.
We’re supposed to have some awesome weather this weekend here in Middle Tennessee, so I spent some time today building a fire pit where we burned some brush a couple weeks ago.
We’ve got a couple of farm projects this weekend to get us ready for Spring, but sometimes you have to make time to sit and stare at a fire, drink some good beer, and listen to the coyotes howl.
The Winter hours have really kept us busy on the farm. We cleared an acre of fallow pasture, planted apple trees and blueberry bushes, made tons of compost, got seeds ordered and planted, and created garden beds. Thanks to the Rodale Institute and our certifying agent we are now in the inspection phase for USDA Organic Certification.
Our values are our certification at the end of the day, but recognition for going the extra mile doesn’t hurt. Our reward is knowing this labor of love will ensure the food we grow meets the highest quality standards our community deserves.
How to build a firepit using manufactured stone
Here is a very popular tutorial I did for those who do not have access to real stone or want the look of manufactured blocks. Each photo in the series is captioned with instruction. Like us on Facebook to see future projects.
This weekend’s TN Organic Growers Association conference provided a wonderful opportunity to meet one of Tennessee’s organic pioneers. Alfred Farris and his wife Carney moved to their 487 acre farm in Orlinda, TN 39 years ago expecting a hard life following their values. At 82, Alfred attributes their health and well-being to a decision to live harmoniously with the planet.
On Friday, Alfred told us that his mission in life is to be a steward of the soil, caring for and protecting this chance at life we have. He anchors his farm practices to his faith citing the Genesis creation story.
“It’s right there in the Bible,” Alfred says with an assured conviction. “The Hebrew translations for Adam, or ‘Adamah,’ is ‘soil,’ and Eve is ‘life.’”
Alfred and Carney have placed their entire certified organic farm in a trust hoping to ensure the property will be an organic farm forever. Learn more about Windy Acres Farm.