Seeing Red: Great Ways to Enjoy the Strawberry Season

By Tammy Algood / Photography By Jill Melton | Last Updated April 27, 2015
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For 175 years, farmland on Old LaGuardo Road in Lebanon has been in Nelson Steed’s family. In his lifetime, he has watched the area transition from pastures as far as you can see to an influx of housing developments.

In 2005, Nelson and his wife, Emmie Lou, decided to throw the dice. They transformed their beef cattle, hay and corn farm to a pick-your-own strawberry operation. Everyone is a winner, thanks to that decision.

"We started with 2,500 strawberry plants nine years ago, and today, we have 42,500 plants in the ground. It has been a life-changing success for us," Nelson says. Their decision has preserved precious farmland in the area, and has served as a learning experience for customers of all ages who make Circle S Farms a regular berry-picking stop. School buses pull up with loads of children who are there for end-of-the-school-year tours.

Nelson uses no insecticides or chemicals on his fruit and has found that the Chandler variety of strawberries grows best in middle Tennessee. These are large berries with lots of juice. Nelson likes to eat them with a splash of milk and a sprinkle of sugar most days, but his favorite treat is Emmie Lou’s homemade strawberry ice cream.

Their goal of showcasing agriculture and getting people outside remains. They allow customers to eat all the fruit they want while in the patch. And with a playground, picnic tables, and a covered pavilion, Circle S Farms is a great place to welcome spring.

Col. Nelson Steed
Circle S Farms
1445 Old LaGuardo Road
Lebanon, TN 37087

Hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the season except for Mondays and Thursdays when they let the patches rest. Like the farm’s Facebook Page to learn when berries start to ripen and news of special events. The Steeds also grow blueberries, blackberries and Christmas trees.

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