3rd Annual ‘Feed the Bees’ Sunflower giveaway

Stop by our stores Saturday April 14 in Woodbury, TN (map) or in Bell Buckle (a registered Bee City USA participant) at the Wellness Emporium (map) and pick up a free organic sunflower from Half Hill Farm!

Each sunflower that made it through the Spring frost will grow between 7-12 feet tall and was inoculated with mycorrhizal fungi to network your garden with a little Earth magic. This is our third year sharing our sunflowers as part of our farm’s commitment to spreading sanctuary for native solitary and honey bees. Our sunflowers are available with every purchase while they last.

Save the bees – diversity is key: You may not realize it, but there are several varieties of native bees that each have their own specialty when it comes to pollinating the landscape. Planting a variety of flowering plants is the best way to attract them, and hosting them in bee condos is a great way to encourage them to come back year after year. Solitary bee condos are also a great way to educate children and neighbors to respect the fragility and diversity of bees without the worries or hassle of keeping a hive of honey bees.

Discover the diversity of native bees:

1. Macropis nuda.
2. Agapostemon texanus.  US sweat bee
3. Peponapis pruinosa. Squash & gourd bees
4. Bombus impatiens. The Impatient Bumble Bee
5. Osmia lignaria.  The Blue Orchard Bee
6.  Hylaeus sp.
7.  Habropoda laboriosa. The Southeastern Blueberry Bee
8. Xylocopa varipuncta. The Valley Carpenter Bee
9. Bombus morrisoni.  Morisson’s bumble bee
10.  Perdita minima.
11. Xylocopa virginica. Eastern Carpenter Bee
12. Bombus vosnessenskii.
13. Bombus affinis.
14. Megachile sp. Leafcutter bees
15. Andrena cornelli. Miner bees
16. Anthophora  centriformis. Digger bees, or anthophorids
17.  Nomada sp. The Wandering Cuckoo Bee
18. Augochorella pomoniella. Sweat bees

 

Half Hill Farm opens Wellness Emporium in Bell Buckle


left to right: Vince Oropesa, Christian Grantham, Heather Williams, Scot Smotherman, Jenny Hunt

We are very grateful for everyone who made it out Friday to the grand opening of our farm’s second store in historic Bell Buckle, Tennessee. The Wellness Emporium of Bell Buckle features all the products our farm proudly makes in Woodbury, TN plus other health & wellness products like industrial hemp products, extracts and local honey.

Special thanks to our new team member Scot Smotherman (business development), Lori Smith and Jessica Cimon for the wonderful flowers, for Heather Williams with the Chamber for bring the giant scissors, and Mayor Jenny Hunt for the very warm welcome. We look forward to bringing many years of better health & well being to our new friends and neighbors!

Confusion over state hemp law leads judge to arrest business owners

We don’t want to go to jail or have our business shut down for helping people, but that is the situation we now face here in Tennessee.

This past week, 21 business owners were arrested in neighboring Rutherford County after Rutherford County District Attorney General Jennings Jones secured indictments from Circuit Court Judge Royce Taylor citing a 2015 law that limited sales and possession of CBD. The problem, as Tennessee Hemp Industries Association President Joe Kirkpatrick points out, is that the law was updated in May 2017 unanimously by the Tennessee State Legislature and signed by Governor Haslam (Tennessee Public Chapter 369). That mistake could have caused harm to those doing it legally.

The definition of “industrial hemp” is a clear exception to the definition of marijuana under both state law and the 2014 Farm Bill, which created the industrial hemp pilot program. The TNHIA does not take a position on marijuana legislation, only on hemp legislation. If the products in question are “industrial hemp” derived, the TNHIA takes grave exception to the actions of Rutherford County law enforcement.

Unless the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department and the Murfreesboro, Smyrna, and LaVergne municipal law enforcement investigators can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the CBD products were derived from a “marijuana” source rather than an “industrial hemp” source, they are in clear contravention of the law allowing the growth, processing, blending, and marketing of such products, and the victims of this action should be entitled to petition for any economic and/or punitive damages applicable under the law.

- Joe Kirkpatrick, President Tennessee Hemp Industries Association

The new 2017 law removes industrial hemp and any dirivatives with .3% or less THC from the state’s marijuana criminal code and allows for legal possession without a doctor’s prescription as long as the product is clearly labeled and sourced to a licensed grower or producer. Judge Jones relied on an older version of the law requiring stricter rules.

We have seen first hand what this amazing plant can do for veterans and for families helplessly caught in a policy-driven opioid crisis that has our country in a state of declared national emergency. It is unfortunate that the lawful good we can do is declared criminal by a Rutherford County District Attorney while those fomenting this national opioid crisis continue to profit on addiction and death.

Despite our confidence in state law and the products we carried that helped many customers from all walks of life, one DA and a circuit judge has undermined that confidence for us and an entire industry. We hope more clarity and education about the law does result from this. Due to the confusion and actions taken against other businesses, we have removed CBD products from our Woodbury store until we receive clarity from the 16th Judicial District of Tennessee on state industrial hemp laws. You can purchase our TN Public Chapter 369 compliant CBD products at the Wellness Emporium of Bell Buckle, TN.

UPDATE 02-17-2018: We’ve now restocked our Woodbury store with our CBD hemp oil products following clarity from the court.

UPDATE 02-28-2018: District Attorney Jennings Jones has dropped all charges against store owners. If you are a district attorney in Tennessee and have law enforcement or politicians coming to you with this issue, take note and don’t make costly mistakes like this.

Half Hill Farm expands to second retail location in Bell Buckle

(Woodbury, TN) – Half Hill Farm is opening a retail store in neighboring Bell Buckle. The new location will be the second for the maker of hand-crafted kombucha, extracts, tonics and other natural health products.

Half Hill Farm’s Wellness Emporium in Bell Buckle will feature all of the products the farm manufactures in Woodbury plus other products that promote better health and well being.

“We are excited and humbled by the opportunity to expand locally,” said Half Hill Farm co-owner Christian Grantham. “The Best part of our growth is that it comes directly from customers feeling good and making healthier choices.”

Half Hill Farm is a certified organic farm that got its start growing mushrooms. Their popular mushroom extracts now ship all over the United States. The farm plans to expand its extract offerings as well as offer craft sodas and teas.

Local demand for Half Hill Farm’s kombucha and apple cider vinegar tonics made at the Arts Center of Cannon County has the company searching for larger manufacturing space as well to bring on wholesale accounts.

The company aimed to make kombucha, a fermented and carbonated black tea flavored with juices, at its Woodbury location and sell it at markets but never out produced local demand. Half Hill Farm doubled their brew tanks this year and are reaching their maximum production.

“We had no idea people even knew what Kombucha was,” said co-owner Vince Oropesa. “We love Woodbury and have been working hard over the last year to keep our manufacturing based here.”

Half Hill Farm’s team is also growing to help with growth with the support of Scot Smotherman, Manchester native, UT Knoxville graduate and small business owner. Smotherman has worked for decades in sales for the tech industry.

“I have been extremely impressed with Half Hill Farm’s commitment to product quality and their genuine concern for their customers’ health has motivated me to support their growth and expansion,” said Smotherman.

Fermented food & beverage, vinegars, and herbal extracts are seeing a revival as consumers are reintroduced to time-tested natural remedies and fermented food culture. Growth in fermented foods has led Middle Tennessee State University to create a first of its kind fermentation program to help better position entrepreneurs and an educated workforce.

Bell Buckle is consistently rated in the top ten of Tennessee’s small towns due to its historic designation & charm, large seasonal festivals and the world-famous Webb School, the South’s oldest preparatory boarding school.

“The Town of Bell Buckle is delighted to have Half Hill Farm as our newest member of the Bell Buckle community,” said Bell Buckle Mayor Jenny W. Hunt. “Bell Buckle is committed to a healthy lifestyle for both its residents and visitors, and Half Hill Farm will compliment that commitment and further enhance our focus of happier and healthier lives.”

Half Hill Farm hopes to open the Wellness Emporium in Bell Buckle shortly after the New Year. You can follow progress on their website or follow them on social media.

Get a free sample of Half Hill Farm’s Kombucha and tonics at their Woodbury store located at the Arts Center of Cannon County at 1424 John Bragg HWY, Woodbury, TN 37190. You can find their kombucha on tap at The Turnip Truck in East Nashville.

Website: https://halfhillfarm.com
Facebook: https://Facebook.com/HalfHillFarmTN
Twitter: https://Twitter.com/halfhillfarm
Instagram: https://instagram.com/halfhillfarm

Nourish your craving gut with a spoon of GingerBeet Tonic

Half Hill Farm’s GingerBeet Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic

The transition to Fall is one of our favorite times of the year. Summer harvests are winding down, the last mowing is near, and we can finally prepare wonderful treats that store away nutrients for another time like our new GingerBeet Tonic!

Our first small batch uses folate rich beets grown organically by Green Door Gourmet combined with organic and mineral-rich nettle, red clover, dandelion leaf and root as well as local honey and organic apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar has many health benefits including aiding with digestion. GingerBeet Tonic also helps nourish your gut’s natural craving for vitamins and minerals.*

This is our farm’s third apple cider vinegar tonic in addition to FireRoot and Elderberry and is now available online and in our Woodbury retail store at the Arts Center of Cannon County. All three would make a perfect seasonal gift that promotes better health and well being!

How To Use GingerBeet Tonic: Before using our tonic for health reasons, please consult your doctor. You can take our tonic by the tablespoon three times a day as desired or try these ideas:

  • Add 2 teaspoons per 8 oz serving of soda water with a few pepper corns, a pinch of salt and a bay leaf garnish for a sweet and savory shrub!
  • Blend two tablespoons with one tablespoon of flax or coconut oil to make a sweet vinaigrette for salads.
  • Drizzle over vegetables or fish to replace salt or butter.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Always consult with your physician before using our products.

How herbal bitters help stimulate digestion

Half Hill Farm’s Dandelion Bitters – Herbal Extract

Bitters have been used for centuries to help stimulate our natural digestive processes that help address a host of issues like heartburn, gas and bloating, upset stomach or nausea. Bitter flavors are increasingly missing from modern diets as many of these conditions are coincidentally on the rise.

Good digestion is at the heart of better health and well being. The problem with some drugs used for digestive issues is that they neutralize the body’s way of telling you your diet isn’t working. Some drugs alter the balance of naturally occurring enzymes and gut bacteria to relieve symptoms rather than addressing their long-term causes. If you want to help your body’s natural digestive process work better, you need to understand how bitter flavor receptors work and stimulate them.

How bitters work: Flavor receptors for bitters (T2 receptors) begin on the back of the tongue and populate the entire gastrointestinal tract. Their presence in the gut control functions of digestion and initiates hormonal and neural pathways that affect metabolism. That fact alone should tell you how important a role these receptors play in balanced digestion.

Bitters help awaken your body’s natural digestive process by stimulating the liver to produce bile, the pancreas to produce digestive enzymes and the stomach to produce important acids. The stimulation of bitter receptors throughout the digestive tract helps digest fat, reduces absorption of toxins, and helps the gut absorb nutrients. Using bitters as a digestive aid is the perfect companion to foods that encourage probiotic gut flora.

A natural solution: Half Hill Farm’s Dandelion Bitters is our latest natural remedy to support your body’s natural digestive functions for better health and well being. It is available in 2 oz dropper bottles online or in our Woodbury store in the Arts Center of Cannon County.

Our Dandelion Bitters uses all organic dandelion leaf and root, orange peel, fennel seed, ginger, and cardamom in organic 45% USP alcohol. Take 10 drops before a meal or as needed to soothe an upset stomach.*

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Always consult with your physician before using our products for health reasons.

Farm Fails and How I Learned To Love Weeds


The only surviving blueberry bush at Half Hill Farm

I know it’s silly, but I’ve anguished over how to write this post for about two years.

What it boils down to is a struggle between my vision for our organic farm and what life had in mind. It literally took me a couple years to believe what was really happening.

About a year into farming, a family battle with cancer focused me on the emerging science and healing power of mushrooms that grew without any effort on our farm. It’s what I could do, so I poured myself into cultivating and perfecting a quality product I needed to work for people I loved. It took a heavy toll on the farm. We stopped going to our local farmers’ market. The hops slowly faded into the hillside. Season after season, the deer were having their way in the orchard, and I started growing way more dandelions than anything I actually planted.

Failure and Success: I felt like a total failure even though something amazing was happening at the same time. Customers began calling me from all over the country because they had heard about our mushroom extracts. Our farm’s creation of a natural remedy from our first forage in our woods was changing people’s lives. I got letters and phone calls from people telling me they felt I had saved their life. I cried many times with people on the phone who called to encourage me to keep doing what I was doing. It took a lot of healing customers to convince me it was really happening, and every one was a timely miracle.

It was a life lesson and one of the most humbling experiences of my life. Here I was trying so hard to bring another pound of produce to market when the land had a much bigger purpose in mind with mushrooms and herbaceous weeds if I would just listen to life and let it be. Eager for a purposeful life, that’s exactly what I did..

Half Hill Herbals: As our extract business grew, Vince came on full time and we moved production into an FDA-registered manufacturing kitchen in Woodbury. We expanded our mushroom extracts, partnered with certified organic growers and added new herbal tinctures, extracts and tonics. As I listened and grew with our customers I could see more clearly the path we were always on and how it unfolded in our products and stories of healing. I fell more in love with our weeds, sometimes spending hours identifying and understanding them. I still have a lot to learn and a lot more to share.

      

It literally took mowing down all but one survivor of our 100 blueberry bushes last month to find the language and finally come to terms with the fact that our farm is not what I envisioned. The farm is actually something bigger and more powerful: a beautiful mess of weeds, fungi and a platform for understanding, connecting with, and sharing the healing power of nature.

There were times I sat and cried on the hillside wondering what I was doing selling cucumbers by the pound from two farmable acres. I’ve learned to listen a lot more and trust what the land has been telling me all along. With smarter stewardship and patience, the land will show you its gifts. Weeds and wild herbs that were once in the way of another small crop row have captured my imagination, my heart and my soul.

As I look five years ahead, I see a lot less struggling with mowing and keeping a tidy garden. I see more mushrooms, clover, yellow dock, elderberries, burdock, nettle, mint, yarrow, bee balm, mullein, plantain and yes, dandelion. I see sanctuary. I see more healing. I see life and sharing our future together in the weeds!

Shop Half Hill Farm online or visit our retail store in the Arts Center of Cannon County.

How to watch the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse in Middle Tennessee


Trudy Capootie quality checks the Solar Eclipse viewers at Half Hill Farm.

On Monday, August 21, 2017 at 1:29 p.m., a total solar eclipse will pass almost directly over Woodbury, TN and last a whole 1 minute and 47 seconds. The partial eclipse will begin 12 p.m. and end at 2:55 p.m. It’s a once in a lifetime event for most people, and a swath of America will share this celestial event with us.

In a time when shared experiences are increasingly rare, the solar eclipse can bring together millions of people at the same time to marvel at the universal precision and geometry of something greater than us. If the weather is good, you will likely want to look up and share in the experience yourself.

FREE Solar Eclipse Glasses: We’re giving away solar eclipse viewers that you see Trudy modeling above. They are yours free with any purchase at our store in the Arts Center of Cannon County while they last. These viewers are ISO compliant for direct observation of the Sun – and they were made right here in Tennessee!

When and Where to view the 2017 Solar Eclipse: Click the map below to see NASA’s interactive 2017 solar eclipse viewer. Once loaded, click the map to see instant calculations for that point on the map.Here are a few local events you may want to consider:

Fighting your cold and flu with Elderberry Tonic


Half Hill Farm’s Elderberry Tonic

Happy Summer Solstice 2017! To celebrate this longest day of the year, we’d like to introduce you to our new Elderberry Tonic! This is tonic number 2 in a series that started earlier this year with FireRoot. You can now purchase both at our store in Woodbury, TN (click for map) or online.

Elderberries have been used for centuries as a remedy for flu and respiratory infections and is one of the most used medicinal plants worldwide. The reason you can find elderberry formulations among your local drug store’s cold & flu medications is because it’s a natural remedy that works.

Cold & Flu: In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in Norway, 60 patients aged 18-54 suffering from influenza-like symptoms for 48 hours or less were given elderberry or placebo syrup four times a day for five days. Flu symptoms were relieved on average 4 days earlier in those receiving elderberry extract. Elderberries have been shown to be effective against influenza A & B as well as herpes simplex. In another study, the flavonoid-rich elderberry was shown to prevent H1N1 flu infection.

Better Health: Elderberries and elder flowers have many other uses. Extracts of elderberries can reduce blood pressure and may help reduce cholesterol. Many studies also demonstrate reductions in oxidative stress that can lead to many diseases including cancer.

Combined with the benefits of apple cider vinegar, local honey, echinacea and the bold flavor of ayurvedic ginger, cardamom and clove, our Elderberry Tonic is the perfect protective remedy.*

How To Use Elderberry Tonic: Before using our tonic for health reasons, please consult your doctor. You can take our tonic by the tablespoon three times a day as needed.

  • You can also create some amazing shrubs by adding 2 teaspoons per 8 oz serving of soda water.
  • Blend two tablespoons with one tablespoon of flax or coconut oil to make a tart vinaigrette for salads.
  • If you have to have a bowl of vanilla ice-cream, drizzling at least a tablespoon on top can help ease your guilt.
  • Add a couple ounces to Bourbon or moonshine for Elderberry Sours

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Always consult with your physician before using our products. 

Made in Woodbury: Celebrating one year with expanded hours

It’s hard to believe we opened our retail store one year ago today! What’s even harder to believe is how much we’ve grown with you! Thank you!

Since opening with our kitchen partners, we expanded our mushroom extract offering. We also started our line of natural extracts and tonics and helped our community replace sugary sodas with the goodness of locally fermented kombucha on tap.

To celebrate our growth, we’re starting year two with more hours and more opportunities for better health and well being. Our retail store in the Arts Center of Cannon County is now open Tuesday – Friday 10-6 and Saturday 10-4. While you visit, check out the locally handcrafted items in the White Oak Craft gift shop, get season tickets to shows, or sign your kids up for Summer Youth Conservatory!

WE ARE GROWING: We also need your help! We are proud to make these products right here in Woodbury, TN and need more space to grow and keep it here. The Arts Center has no more space they can rent to us. We are turning away wholesale orders due to our limited production space, and it’s time to grow. While we continue to serve customers through the end of 2018 at this location, we are also looking for space to buy, build or rent for manufacturing and future retail. Let us know if you can help us take our business to the next level!