Half Hill Farm among Tennessee’s first to grow hemp

Industrial hemp grows on Half Hill Farm in Woodbury, TN

(Woodbury, TN) — Half Hill Farm is the first USDA certified organic farm in Tennessee to grow legal hemp. The state legalized hemp last year despite decades of federal prohibition under the Controlled Substance Act. Growing hemp requires a background check and permit from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.

Half Hill Farm grows several hundred plants in a pilot partnership with a co-op of farms under Tennessee Hemp Farm. Using various farm methods, participating farms hope to learn how much seed and fiber production they can expect from a plant not grown legally in the United States since the 1950s.

“My guess is hemp will grow just fine here in Cannon County,” said Half Hill Farm’s Christian Grantham. “The exciting part for us is what can be done with it.”

While industrial hemp contains little to none of the psychoactive ingredient THC, hemp seeds produce the highest omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids of any grain. Milled seed is an excellent source of oil and plant protein, and hemp is one of the world’s most renewable sources of industrial fiber.

“It won’t be long before you start seeing several Tennessee products made with hemp grown and processed right here,” Grantham said. ”As part of our farm’s mission, we can’t wait to share the health benefits of hemp through value added products.”

In the mid 1800s, Tennessee farms reported growing over 2,200 tons of cannabis using it to make rope and industrial canvas used in boat sails and to bag cotton harvests. According to state records, production fell with competition from other states.

Growing commercial hemp is still illegal under federal law. Permitted farms in Tennessee work closely with state and federal authorities under new farm rules for states that legalize hemp or recreational & medical marijuana.

Under state law, farms growing hemp can sell hemp fiber or viable hemp seed to a manufacturer and value added products direct to consumers. The first hemp crops in Tennessee will harvest in late September.

Learn more:

VIDEO: Half Hill Farm with Christian Grantham

Half Hill Farm is a small seven acre USDA certified organic farm in Woodbury, TN. We are dedicated to sustainable farm practices that reflect our deep commitment to being good stewards of our planet and our general well being.

Check out this excellent introduction video by our good friend Rob Cantor interviewing me over Memorial Day weekend. While you are at it, be sure to subscribe to our new YouTube channel for future instructional videos from our farm!

UPDATE: mushroom workshop pavilion progress

Construction started this week on Half Hill Farm’s mushroom workshop pavilion. Made of locally milled oak & cedar, it’s a perfect setting to help foster an important relationship with nature through a hands-on learning experience. We can’t wait to share this beautiful space with you this Fall here in rural Woodbury, TN!

We could not have done this without you! Back in March of last year, several of you helped us raise a portion of the funds we needed to build this shelter. We didn’t meet our goal, but with a little hard work and support we are finally creating a space to share sustainable fungi-culture & our love of the outdoors.

We are also humbled by the love and appreciation for the healing products we create out of personal needs and our deep reverence for the natural world. Our 1:1 Red Reishi mushroom dual extract was first introduced as a gift to donors of this project last year and has since shipped to over 40 states to folks seeking nature’s balanced remedy. There is never a day we are not here quietly listening, learning and creating. Every day you reach out to us and share your story of why and how you found us affirms our commitment to serve.

Nature’s remedy: organic Red Reishi mushroom dual extract

Ganoderma Lucidum dual extract

Half Hill Farm is dedicated to sustainable farm practices that reflect our deep commitment to being good stewards of our planet and our general well being.

In keeping with our mission, our organic Red Reishi Mushroom Dual Extracts are now made with USDA certified organic pharmaceutical grade (USP) alcohol. We use a hot water and alcohol extraction process with a 10 micron filtration and bottle at our Woodbury, TN farm in premium Miron ultra-violet glass bottles. Combined with our USDA certified organic Ganoderma lucidum mushrooms and distilled water, our extract provides a full spectrum of beneficial compounds as clean as nature intended.

Red Reishi mushrooms are known in ancient medicine as the “Mushroom of Immortality” used in a wide range of folk remedies. Recent studies find extracted polysaccharides, triterpenes and other compounds from this mushroom have significant anti-tumor, anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties as well as the ability to reduce inflammation and modulate immune responses.

This powerful extract has a natural bitter taste that blends well with coffee or tea. We use a 10 micron filtration that keeps smaller spore and beneficial compounds that appear as suspended filaments in the bottled extract.

Many people prescribed long-term medications or antibiotics, or with chronic illnesses, use this extract in conjunction with or as an alternative to treatments. Often taken in tea or coffee, this extract is also used as natural remedies for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hypertension, insomnia, anxiety, depression, and conditions associated with: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Lyme Disease, Morgellons, Babesia, Bartonella, Ehrlichia, Mycoplasma, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and AIDS/HIV.

Here are links to some research on extracted compounds from Red Reishi (Ganoderma Lucidum) mushrooms:

DISCLAIMER: Please consult your physician before using any of our products for health purposes. 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. 

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.

The sum of this year’s goodness


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!

Turn your storm damaged trees into mushrooms


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.

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.

Local farm makes medicinal extracts from native mushrooms


Farmers turn to cancer-fighting – Cannon Courier – April 9, 2014

(WOODBURY, TN) Mushrooms are revered in ancient herbal medicine as a cure-all for everything from colds and flu to cancer. With recent research validating some of this ancient wisdom, a local organic farm is turning native Turkey Tail mushrooms into medicinal extracts.

Half Hill Farm is a small seven acre USDA Certified Organic farm in Woodbury, TN specializing in apples, blueberries, hops and mushrooms. But a recent cancer diagnosis for one of the owner’s 72 year old mother made mushrooms a priority.

“Cancer has a way of making you change your priorities and rethink your life routines,” said farm co-owner Vince Oropesa. Last year his mother was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. Working with her doctors in Murfreesboro, he began providing her with extracts from a native Turkey Tail mushroom as an adjunct therapy to chemo treatments.

“She was at a stage in her health and age where the doctors left it to her whether to go through chemo,” Oropesa said. “We take it a day at a time, but she has surprised us and the doctors through every turn. She’s a real fighter.”

Months before the cancer diagnosis, Oropesa and his husband Christian Grantham began building farm infrastructure to cultivate edible mushrooms for local markets.

“When we got the news of Sandy’s diagnosis, our priorities shifted as well to research on medicinal mushrooms growing in our own back yard,” Grantham said.

What the farmers found opened their eyes to an opportunity to not only help Vince’s mother, but also many people dealing with cancer and other illnesses.

“It was a real wake up call to pay attention to what was literally growing right under our noses,” Grantham added. “Life has a way of doing that, and it’s up to us how we respond to that opportunity.”

Turkey Tail (Trametes Versicolor) grows wild throughout Tennessee and the world. The anti-cancer properties of extracted polysaccharides (PSK) and polypeptides (PSP) from Turkey Tail mushrooms are approved cancer drugs in Japan. Private research in America has been limited because pharmaceutical companies cannot patent the results. That has prompted the U.S. government to start funding research.

In late 2012, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a $5.4 million grant to study 4-6 gram daily doses of Turkey Tail mushroom extract on stage IV colon and lung cancer. This comes on the heels of promising National Institute of Health (NIH) research on breast cancer. The funding also follows a University of Pennsylvania study showing Turkey Tail mushroom extracts dramatically increases life expectancy for pets with cancer.

“The NIH studies alone showing enhanced Natural Killer (NK) cells and reduced tumor growth in breast cancer patients was enough for us to immediately start Vince’s mother on Turkey Tails,” Grantham said.

Since creating their mushroom extracts, Oropesa and Grantham find interest mostly from people whose illness has them searching for natural alternatives and adjunct therapies. The two say the extracts they are creating on their farm are just as effective as preventative treatment.

“We take our extracts everyday,” Grantham said. “We do Turkey Tail in our morning coffee and Reishi in our evening tea. We’re not doctors, so we try not to talk about how we feel because we don’t want to sound crazy, but it is turning into a life-long routine for us.”

The dual extraction process subjects dried mushrooms to a lengthy hot water and alcohol extraction process that takes a month to complete. The result is a 1:1 concentrated dual extract you can mix into foods or drink.

Most of the farm’s customers for extracts are people whose priorities have changed due to illness. To bring their medicinal extracts to a larger market, the two farmers are taking a page from the medicinal marijuana industry and are infusing their product in food.


Red Reishi Mushroom 1:1 dual extract – available as gifts and soon as infused chocolates from our farm’s online store.

“Most people who aren’t sick don’t quiet understand what to do with our extracts, and that’s OK,” Oropesa said. “But everybody understands chocolate, and most eat them before we have a chance to tell them how good it is for them.”

Half Hill Farm offers Spring and Fall workshops on growing your own edible and medicinal mushrooms on oak logs as well as how to make your own extracts. Their mushroom extracts and infused chocolates will be available online soon.

PURCHASE NOW: Buy our Turkey Tail or Red Reishi extracts online.

Learn more:

DISCLAIMER: I am a farmer. I am not a doctor. Please consult your physician before using any of our products for health purposes. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Our products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. These food products were made in a private home not licensed or inspected.