Half Hill Farm’s Ginger Lemonade Kombucha

Slay the potluck with our new seasonal Ginger Lemonade Kombucha – made with all organic cold-pressed ginger and lemon and sweetened with local honey. Available on tap by the cup or growler starting today at our Woodbury store in The Arts Center of Cannon County (open Thurs-Sat 10a-4p)!

Half Hill Farm opens retail store in Woodbury


Half Hill Farm’s Apple Ginger Kombucha hanging out in the Stones River.

Come and get you a half gallon growler of our organic Apple Ginger Kombucha starting this Saturday April 30, 2016 at our new retail store in the Arts Center of Cannon County (here’s a map)! We’ll be open Saturdays at 9 am so you can get your $5 growler refilled for $10.

Kombucha is organic sweet tea fermented and carbonated with yeast and probiotics and flavored with organic juices. This raw, vegan, live culture food detoxifies, helps with digestion, and helps keep blood sugar levels in check. It’s just one way we’re looking out for your health & well being.

This Saturday’s opening will also feature over a dozen Middle Tennessee jewelry makers in the 2016 Jewelry Showcase, selling a wide selection of hand-crafted silver, copper, leather, stone, and beaded jewelry – perfect gifts for Mom!

Every Saturday, we will also have our Nature’s Remedy line of mushroom dual extracts featuring the immune boosting power of the Red Reishi, Chaga and Turkey Tail mushrooms. You can also pick up some fresh made tempeh from our partners at Short Mountain Cultures and enjoy crafts from the art and soul of Tennessee!

Nature’s Remedy: Chaga mushroom dual extract


Half Hill Farm’s Chaga Mushroom Dual Extract is available in 100 and 200 ml bottles.

Chaga mushrooms (Inonotus obliquus) have been used as folk medicine for immune support and gastrointestinal health in Russia for centuries, more recently in treating cancer and the side effects of cancer treatments. Chaga is not an edible mushroom and must be extracted to be consumed. Extracts are made from the sclerotium, a fungal mycelium outgrowth that occurs mostly on Birch trees prior to a rarely seen fruiting body. As the Birch tree mounts a decades long defense against the advancing fungus, the Chaga mycelium creates a host of compounds to fight for its survival, and this is why many call Chaga the “King of the Herbs.”

Uses: Studies show extracts of Chaga mycelium reduce oxidative stresses that lead to many diseases. It has one of the highest antioxident values of any herb and high concentrations of melanin (visible on the sclerotium’s crusted outer surface), ergosterol (vitamin D2) and anti-aging enzymes Superoxide Dismutase (SOD).

Studies of Chaga also show antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Chaga’s adaptagenic effects help balance overactive auto-immune responses while naturally triggering needed immune responses. Chaga is often used to treat eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis and to normalize cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Compounds from both hot water and alcohol extractions, including polysaccharides and terpenes (betulinic acids, phytosterols), have anti-tumor growth properties making Chaga a candidate as an adjunct therapy. Betulinic acid has been shown to help break down LDL cholesterol.

How to Purchase: Half Hill Farm is pleased to add the healing power of Chaga mushrooms to our Nature’s Remedy line of mushroom dual extracts that include Red Reishi (Ganoderma Lucidum) and Turkey Tail (Trametes Versicolor) mushrooms. Our Chaga extract processes responsibly wildcrafted sclerotia (fungal mycelium) of the Chaga mushroom through a lengthy hot water (distilled water) and alcohol (USDA Certified Organic pharmaceutical grade USP) extraction process. Our full spectrum dual extract is manufactured in our FDA registered manufacturing kitchen for our USDA Certified Organic farm and bottled in premium Miron ultra-violet glass for superior preservation (shelf life of 1 year).

Take Chaga daily in morning coffee or evening tea or in combination with any of our mushroom dual extracts. There are no known contraindicators. Below are a few studies of Chaga mushrooms for deeper understanding of this powerful mushroom.

Research on Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) mushrooms

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult your physician before using any of our products for health purposes.

Getting the most from your Shiitake mushroom log

Shiitake mushroom logs in the woods at half Hill Farm

Last night looks like the last of forecasted freezing temperatures for early Spring here in Middle Tennessee. If you have one of our Shiitake mushroom logs marked SP15 (Spring 2015) or earlier, now is the time to prep your log for an early Spring flush.

Shocking logs: Get a five gallon bucket and fill it with rain water or water from a nearby creek and then soak your log for 24 hours. Place the log in a wooded area with roughly 80% shade. You can place it under a bush near your house’s North side if you do not have woods. If you have more than one log, use a larger tub like the one pictured above. The water should not be chlorinated tap water and should be very cold. This hard soak and cold temperature followed by the gradual warming of outdoor Spring temps will “shock” the mycelium into “pinning,” the beginning stages of mushrooms.

Pinning: Each pin that forms pushes through the bark as you see pictured above and will develop into the beginnings of a mushroom within 2-3 days followed by a rapidly growing mushroom over a five day period. Depending on the weather throughout Spring, you could experience 2-3 natural cycles of mushrooms with roughly two week resting periods between each flush.

Harvest: Once you start to see the mushrooms unfurl their outer edge (typically tucked under the mushroom cap), it is time to pick mushrooms. At this point, the mushroom is in the early phase of releasing its spore. Simply cut them off at the log, brush off any debris and either eat them fresh, store them in the fridge for up to two weeks, or dry them to use for months to come.

How to purchase: Each Shiitake mushroom log from Half Hill Farm produces up to 90% of the log’s dry weight in mushrooms over a 3-5 year period. You can purchase your own inoculated logs from 15 lbs. one foot logs up to 50+ lbs. four feet logs at our farm here in Woodbury, TN. Just give us a call and let us know you’re coming!

Spring planting 2015: seeds of change and progress

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.

Spring planting 2014: farming by the numbers

We spent most of the beautiful weekend (ahead of predicted rains) getting everything planted. Due to the frost two weeks ago, we are about a month behind on everything we had to start over from seed. Of course, the dandelions made it just fine!

Based on having produced a little over 600 lbs. of food last year (our first year), it looks like we may do more than three times that much this year, and that doesn’t include mushrooms, apples and blueberries.

What we planted: (watermelons) Chelsea and Sugar Baby, (peppers) Anaheim, Poblano, Peperoncini, Beaver Dam, Cubanelle, Golden Treasure, (tomatoes) Roma and Lemon Drop, (herbs) Sage, Lavender, Basil, (cucumbers) Zimmerman, Sumter, and some Danver carrots.

Where and how to buy: You can find us this year at our local Saturday farmers market in Woodbury, Tennessee (located at the Arts Center of Cannon County) beginning July 5.

We will also have our 1 foot Shiitake, Reishi and Turkey Tail mushroom logs that should produce 10-15 pounds of mushrooms over 3-5 years. Look for our mushroom extract infused chocolates and other unique seasonal products hand-crafted with love on our farm at the market as well. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to see when we’ll be there.

Grow your own mushrooms with our inoculated logs

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.

The five little winters of Tennessee

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:

  1. Redbud Winter: early April
  2. Dogwood Winter: late April
  3. Locust Winter: early May
  4. Blackberry Winter: mid May
  5. Britches Winter: late May

The birds of Half Hill Farm

Right before it rained yesterday, we set up the two 16 family Purple Martin houses in the orchard. With any luck we’ll get a few to hang around with us this year. The birds of Half Hill Farm will eat literally thousands of insects a day this year, far more than we can kill with pesticides. They won’t catch everything, but birds play an important part in the balance of life on the farm.

Besides the Purple Martins we hope to host, we also have four bluebird boxes, but there are other birds I’ve noticed working the property.

  • Northern Flicker: There are about 20 of these beautiful woodpeckers feeding on ants and beetles in the grass. As you walk through the property, you can see their yellow undersides and distinct white spot on its tail as the fly ahead of you.
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler: several were here in February appearing to eat juniper berries.
  • Cedar Waxwing: These are beautifully colored birds that ate lots of juniper berries in late January and early February.
  • Wild Turkey: We’ve seen a flock with as many as 30 slowly walk through the property. Like the Crows and Bluejays, I don’t know if they’re up to any good.
  • Eastern Phoebe: These cute little birds do acrobats and live under the deck on a diet of a few hundred flies a day.
  • White-breasted Nuthatch: We think it likes a piece of cardboard in the compost pile, but it’s the only one we’ve seen. It can walk on the underside of things.

Expanding the barnyard garden

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.

UPDATE 3-12-13: The wall is now complete.