Turnbull Creek Farm is a Certified Organic, small family farm in Bon Aqua, Tennessee, located just outside of Nashville. We specialize in growing a variety of produce and cut flowers. We also do floral design services for weddings and special events.
We moved to this small piece of land in 2003 , and have since then worked to make it as productive, effecient, sustainable, beautiful, and loved as our little farm can be.
A "farm" has always been a part of my life.
I grew up getting in hay every summer on my grandfather's farm. I am quite sure this work shaped me into who I am now. It was family time, but family work time. We worked hard, we all participated, and we were all happy when it was over. I look back on it all now with such fondness: learning to stack hay correctly; racing to get stuff loaded out of the field before a thunderstorm; jumping in the creek to cool down as often as we could get away; all of the snakes, bird nests, baby rabbits, and the hawks circling overhead; the swallows swarming and diving around the field for all the insects stirred up; and how hot the hayloft was as we unloaded the wagon. And of course, my whole family was there - my grandfather with his white hair under his big straw hat, who taught me I could do anything with my life. His farm manager, James, who always took the time to teach me something, even though I was just a pesky girl. My grandmother, who cooked three huge meals a day for us all and kept the "behind the scenes" flowing seamlessly. And my mother, so graceful and determined, who knew how important this time together was and who made sure we were there every summer to be a part of it all.
I tell all this because, as I thought about what I wanted to be when I grew up, I didn't so much think about being a farmer, but about the quality of life I wanted for myself and my family. My husband and I have studied many different things, all over the world. We have travelled and moved around and changed courses in midstream plenty of times. I studied science and environmental studies in college, and have a Master's Degree in Elementary Education. My husband is a Master Craftsman, and has studied with some of the finest woodworkers on the planet. He is a succesful builder of fine, custom acoustic guitars. We are by no means traditional farmers, in terms of what American stereotypes of what to be a "farmer" means.
However, we are traditionalists in the sense that we strive for authenticity. We want our work on this planet to have meaning, and for it to nurture ourselves and the world around us. Our goal is to create a sustainable, real economy, in which we are paid directly and adequately for the good work that we do, by the community that we build around us. It is not always easy, but we are proud to be raising our family this way, and the bottom line is we love what we do.
I taught elementary school in a public school classroom before I decided to commit to farming full time. We were then living in southern Vermont, and I was lucky enough to work at Lilac Ridge Farm in Brattleboro under the tutaledge of the Thurber family. This was a 500 acre, 3rd generation organic dairy farm that also grew 5 acres of produce and flowers, and collected maple syrup in the winter. What an amazing learning opportunity it was, and I am forever grateful to their warmth and wisdom.
We moved to Tennessee soon after our son was born, and bought this small piece of land just 10 miles from my parents' house. We began building our dream right away, plowing up the back field that once was a goat pasture, closing in the garage for my husband's guitar building shop, and putting up our heated greenhouse. It has been non stop since then, learning, refining, expanding, and simplifying. My husband's business has blossomed over time, as his confidence and artistry has developed. He is more than plenty busy, but still dedicates much time to his role as "Infrastucture Manager". There is no way I could do it without his support, encouragement, and know-how. Thankfully, I have found many wonderful people who love to come out and spend a day working - their bright shining faces have gotten me through many a hot, muggy August day.
Every year is different, with new successes and challenges, as well as outright failures. Farming is a continually humbling experience, and I don't think I will ever be able to refer to myself as an expert. However, we continue to find joy in the work, in feeding ourselves, in developing a community around us, and in the freedom and beauty we experience on a daily basis.
We are thankful.
"Eating with the fullest pleasure - pleasure, that is, that does not depend on ignorance - is perhaps the profoundest enactment of our connection with this world. In this pleasure we experience our dependence and our gratitude, for we are living in a mystery, from creatures we did not make and powers we can not comprehend" Wendell Berry