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!

Half Hill Farm’s new seasonal kombucha flavor: Blood Orange

Half Hill Farm's Blood Orange Kombucha

NEW FLAVOR: Our farm’s new seasonal Blood Orange kombucha is now on tap at Half Hill Farm at the The Arts Center of Cannon County in Woodbury, TN (1424 John Bragg HWY Woodbury, TN 37190) and Wellness Emporium in Bell Buckle, TN (13 Webb Rd. E Bell Buckle, TN 37020) – it’s sunshine in a bottle made with all organic ingredients: blood orange, local honey, cardamom & clove!

Half Hill Farm restocks CBD hemp oil in Woodbury

Half Hill Farm is now restocking our CBD hemp oil products following clarity provided  by Circuit Court Judge Royce Taylor (TN Judicial District 16). The judge acknowledged in his order of injunctive relief that hemp-derived CBD products are legal under state law. Half Hill Farm removed CBD products with an abundance of caution until we could understand whether the court intended to uphold or challenge state law.

Yesterday, Judge Taylor provided injunctive relief to business owners arrested in Operation Candy Crush ordering the return of keys and cash registers seized in raids. He also placed the burden of proof on District Attorney Jennings Jones to prove the store owners knowingly sold “marijuana,” as the indictments claim.

Judge Taylor, citing Tennessee Public Chapter 369, said the state must prove that the CBD products sold by those arrested and seized by law enforcement came from marijuana and not industrial hemp which is legal in Tennessee.

The 2017 law passed unanimously by the legislature defines industrial hemp as including “any industrial hemp-derived products that do not contain more than three-tenths of one percent (0.3%) of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in a topical or indigestible consumer product” (TCA 43-26-102(4)(B)). Industrial hemp also includes viable and non-viable plant, plant parts, or whole plant extracts with the same THC limits and additional restrictions if the source is growers and processors licensed by the state (TCA 43-26-102(4)(A)).

State law also explicitly removes industrial hemp (non-viable industrial hemp OR products made from non-viable industrial hemp from a licensed grower or processor) from state marijuana criminal codes (TCA 39-17-415). Despite some irresponsible television and print reports citing poorly written press releases, it is legal for consumers to purchase, consume and possess industrial hemp products without a prescription.

Half Hill Farm was part of the state hemp pilot program. We wanted to create extracts but could not plant the seed we wanted or sell the product to consumers. Recent changes in state law and Department of Agriculture rules fixed both those problems (allowing high CBD variety seed and legalizing any industrial hemp derived products) and created a market for legal, safe industrial hemp products. The legal distinction in state law between marijuana and industrial hemp creates a market for state grower and processor hemp products and for retailers to offer those products with competitive choices. Without these protections the state’s hemp pilot program would likely fail.

Here is a picture of the 2017 law beside a picture of our product’s certificate of analysis. You can view these documents in our stores.

You can purchase our CBD Hemp Oil products at our store in Woodbury (Half Hill Farm – 1424 John Bragg HWY Woodbury, TN 37190) and in Bell Buckle (Wellness Emporium – 13 Webb Rd E Bell Buckle, TN 37020). You can also view full lab reports for each purchase.

UPDATE 02-28-18: 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.

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.

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. 

FireRoot Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic – the troll chaser


Half Hill Farm’s FireRoot Apple Cider VInegar Tonic – the troll chaser

Our small organic apple orchard here in Woodbury, TN will never produce enough apples for market, but with a little help it will be enough to make some amazing apple cider vinegar tonics!

A famous example that inspired our farm’s first seasonal apple cider vinegar tonic is Rosemary Gladstar’s recipe for Fire Cider. We call our tonic FireRoot, a spicy decoction of certified organic horseradish, onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, orange, lemon, cayenne and black pepper in organic apple cider vinegar & mother lightly sweetened with local honey.

Half Hill Farm’s FireRoot apple cider vinegar tonic is just one way our farm honors traditional folk remedies. Each ounce of prevention will chase your trolls and light a fire under whatever’s thrown your way. FireRoot is available in both 8 oz and 16 oz bottles online or in our retail store in the Arts Center of Cannon County starting Thursday February 2.

Better health and well being
Apple cider vinegar has been used for centuries as a natural folk remedy for indigestion and a host of ailments. Research shows daily use of 1-2 tbsps naturally lowers morning blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, dramatically lowers mealtime glycemic levels associated with chronic diseases, helps people lose weight and may satiate appetite. There is some evidence showing anti-cancer properties, but the mechanism is not well understood. Less is known about widely reported uses as a cold and flu prevention, but it is suspected that apple cider vinegar’s alkalizing affects in the body helps prevent cold & flu. Using apple cider vinegar to decoct ingredients like garlic, ginger, and turmeric certainly helps increase the tonic’s antimicrobial and antiviral potential.*

To make FireRoot, our farm starts with all organic ingredients and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar that contains the mother, the naturally occurring probiotic yeast and bacteria that ferments the cider into vinegar. This will appear as a light sediment, so shake well to get all the botanical goodness in every serving!

How to use FireRoot Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic
If you’re a fan of bold flavor, take a tablespoon of FireRoot every day before or after your biggest meal. By using FireRoot with food, you can also lower your intake of salt and fat. Here are a few suggested uses below. Check back for recipes using FireRoot!

  • Blend FireRoot with flax oil or coconut oil to make an amazing salad dressing!
  • Spice up your chutney recipe by replacing the vinegar with FireRoot.
  • Use FireRoot in place of butter or salt on steamed vegetables or beans or blend into marinades for meats.
  • Blend with Bragg’s, sesame oil, and lemon juice to make a tangy dumpling sauce.

FireRoot is our farm’s first seasonal tonic release this year. Follow us on Facebook or Instagram to learn when other tonics will be available.

* Please consult your doctor before using any of our products for health purposes. These statements have not been reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration. Our products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.