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:

Hemp extracted CBD now available in Woodbury

Cannabidiol (CBD) has received a lot of attention through recent efforts to change our nation’s cannabis laws due to a growing body of evidence suggesting many health benefits. Many people use CBD in treating seizures and other neurological disorders, anxiety, depression, cancer and pain.*

CBD is a naturally-occurring constituent of both the industrial hemp plant and marijuana that engages our endocannabinoid system. CBD extracted from both plants are molecularly identical, but extractions of marijuana can contain illegal amounts of the psychoactive constituent Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) while industrial hemp extracts do not. The distinction is one reason why imported hemp products (fiber, seed, oil) under importation rules of the United States Department of Agriculture and United States Customs and Border Protections are legal in all 50 states. Additionally, there are no interstate commerce restrictions on the sale and consumption of these imported hemp products in the United States.

When the Agricultural Act of 2014 (U.S. Farm Bill) was enacted into law, it established state pilot programs with strict controls on U.S. hemp growers and producers including the varieties that can be grown, required background checks for growers, and coordination with state and federal authorities. The federal law also allowed states to enact statewide rules on products created from domestic hemp crops, including requirements for prescriptions and state commerce restrictions.

Half Hill Farm was Tennessee’s first organic farm to grow hemp under Tennessee’s hemp pilot program with the intent of creating quality CBD extracts for our customers. After the first year’s crop, our farm left the program because of limits on varieties we could grow at that time. Recent changes to Tennessee’s industrial hemp laws are moving in the right direction. One recent change removes hemp from state marijuana criminal codes by defining all products derived from domestic hemp that contain less than .3% of THC as “industrial hemp.” The new law also provides an exemption for possessing “non-viable” industrial hemp by non-license holders as long as the product is from a licensed source. We do look forward to more changes that will allow us to grow and process varieties so we can compete with imported products.

In order to serve our customers the highest quality hemp extracted CBD now without the restrictions associated with domestic crop production, we are proud to partner with Endoca, a leader in quality imported organic and GMP certified CBD & CBDa hemp extracts.

You can now purchase Endoca CBD oil drops and capsules in our retail store at the Arts Center of Cannon County. Each batch is third party lab-tested for concentration and certified organic compliance. Certificates and lab tests are available for review.

DROPS:
  • (3%) 300mg Hemp Extract (300 drops – 1mg CBD per drop – $31)
  • (3%) 300mg Raw Hemp Extract (300 drops – 1mg CBD + CBDa per drop – $31)
  • (15%) 1500mg Hemp Extract (300 drops – 5mg CBD per drop – $150)
  • (15%) 1500mg Raw Hemp Extract (300 drops – 5mg CBD + CBDa per drop – $150)
CAPSULES:
  • (3%) 300mg Hemp Extract capsules (30 capsules – 10mg CBD per capsule – $31)
  • (3%) 300mg Raw Hemp Extract capsules (30 capsules – 10mg CBD + CBDa per capsule – $31)
MORE CBD PRODUCTS
  • 150mg CBD Chewing Gum (10 pieces / 15 mg CBD per gum – $14)
  • 750mg CBD Hemp Salve (30ml – $59)
  • 500mg CBD Suppositories (10 suppositories / 50mg CBD each – $49)
  • 20mg CBD Hemp Lip Balm ($8)

Here is more information on CBD:

*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 new products. Half Hill Farm Inc does not sell or distribute any products that are in violation of the United States Controlled Substances Act. All of the cannabinoids in products we offer, including CBD, are natural constituents of industrial hemp and hemp oil.

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!

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)!

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.

Free fermentation workshop – make your own kombucha


Half Hill Farm’s Christian Grantham demonstrates how to make kombucha at home

THANK YOU to everyone who came out Saturday October 29 for our free fermentation workshop demonstrating how to make your own kombucha from home! The workshop also featured our kitchen partners and fermentation revivalist and New York Times best-selling author Sandor Katz!

The health benefits of Lion’s Mane mushroom extract


Half Hill Farm’s Lion’s Mane Mushroom Dual Extract

Over the past couple years we’ve grown a lot by listening and learning from our customers and following the latest research. After expanding into a new inspected kitchen earlier this year, we added Chaga mushroom and propolis extracts. Today, we are proud to add the power of certified organic Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) mushrooms to our Nature’s Remedy line of mushroom extracts!

Adding this healing edible and medicinal mushroom to our mushroom extracts gives you another natural alternative approach to better health and well being. Our Lion’s Mane extract can be used with our other mushroom extracts or as an adjunct therapy in consultation with your doctor.

Uses for Lion’s Mane extract: Half Hill Farm’s Lion’s Mane Mushroom Dual Extract combines extractions of both water and alcohol soluble compounds using certified organic ingredients in a formulation widely used by ethnobotanists and scientists in lab studies. Recent studies show cyanthane derivative triterpenes hericenones and erinacines from Lion’s Mane are unique classes of Nerve Growth Factors (NGFs) that show significant neuroprotective effects, stimulating nerve regeneration and re-myelination of neurons and helping improve memory and brain function.

Lion’s Mane mushrooms have also been used for over 2,000 years in Chinese medicine for digestive diseases. Studies linked below show extracts of Lion’s Mane mushrooms are active against ulcerative colitis, Irritable Bowel Disease, pancreatitis, Crohn’s Disease and gastrointestinal cancers (liver, colon, gastric). Unique compounds of Lion’s Mane mushrooms (palmitic acid, threitol and D-arabinitol) also help reduce blood sugar and regulate lipid levels in blood.

Recent studies on Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) mushrooms:

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.

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.