Tennessee Women Farmers Tell Their Stories
Women (and their families) "man" an increasing number of small farms. For the past few winters, farmer, Tallahassee May, has organized a lunch gathering of women farmers in middle Tenessee. It's a time for creating community, sharing stories, business woes and successes... and family. We celebrate these women and their dedication to feeding Tennesseans well. Here you can learn more about some of them.
MaryLindsay Sherrill – Sherrill Homestead
How did you get into farming? I first got into farming at a volunteer day in 2011 at Green Door Gourmet. We spent all morning picking turnip greens and I thought to myself, man this would be a great job. Sylvia hired me a few weeks later with zero experience and five years later here I am with a farm of my own!
What do you like best about it? I love so many things about being a farmer. Getting to be outdoors all day everyday is probably the best part. Cooking with the freshest vegetables, eggs, and herbs is also a close second.
How can readers get your products? You can find us at the downtown Nashville Farmers Market every Saturday beginning in May! Or email us if you'd like to pick up direct from the farm.
Tana Comer – Eaton’s Creek Organics, Joelton TN
How did you get into farming? This could be a long explanation or the synopsis version.. either seems daunting. The concise one. It probably started by living on a farm in early childhood, having grandparents who farmed and spending all my playtime outside. The Kentucky countryside became my passion during high school, then college and then living on several farms. I wanted a change in careers after working in social work and criminal justice for almost 20 years. So after much soul searching, I was led back to my love of the land.
What do like best about it? Everything.
How can readers get your products? Eaton's Creek Organics has a plant sale in April at the Turnip Truck in East Nashville. We will be at the Nashville farmers market for our CSA shareholder pickup this season. Also, our produce finds the plate at Margot's cafe and bar, City House and Marche Artisan restaurants.
Robin - Hill and Hollow farm, Edmonton, KY
How did you get into farming? My life turned around at age 27. i decided to offer myself as a working shareholder at Angelic Organics CSA in Caledonia, IL. Initially I was just hoping to trade labor for food, as I was an urban dweller at the time. One day hoeing the winter squash patch and I was hooked. That was 1994 and the rest is history!
What do you like best about it? The freedom to work each and every day alongside my family, the gift of freshly harvested food adorning my table each meal. Hard to beat that!
How can readers get your products? Come to the metro Nashville Farmers Market each Saturday from May through November. We also sell our farm's wool products on line at Etsy.
Laura Dison - Manager at Green Door Gourmet, Nashville
How did you get into farming? I stumbled into it, really. I went to an agriculture-centric liberal arts college in Western North Carolina but wasn't interested at the time. Once I finished school, I landed a job with a floral designer in Kentucky who graciously taught me everything she knew. Following a series of serendipitous decisions, I ended up back in my hometown, Nashville, growing AND designing flowers at Green Door Gourmet Farm!
What do you like best about it? I get to be outside all the time! I get to experience the seasons change, minute by minute and day by day, and that makes me feel supremely grounded. Working the land is challenging, to say the least, and I learn new lessons in gratitude and humility all the time. Best of all, I get to help provide an alternative to conventional food and flowers for the Nashville community -- it doesn't get much better than that!
How can readers get your products? Readers can sign up for our 16-week Flower CSA share (June-September) online at www.greendoorgourmet.com (Restaurant Flower CSA subscription also available!), visit us at our farm store at Green Door Gourmet (7011 RIver Road Pike) plus the East Nashville Farmers Market (Wednesdays) or Vine Street Farmers Market (Saturdays), purchase our Buckets of Blooms for weddings and events, and attend one of our Field to Design workshop series this season! E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Tallahassee May – Turnbull Creek Farm
How did you get started? I grew up spending a lot of time on my grandparent’s farm in Brentwood. I always wanted to live on a farm when I grew up, but it took me awhile to figure out what that meant. I got my Master’s Degree in elementary education and taught grade school for a few years. I started working on vegetable farms during my summers off, and realized that was how I wanted to be spending my days. We moved to our farm in 2004 and broke ground right away.
What do you like best about it? I especially love being outside all the time – except maybe some days in winter. But even then I love being out in the elements and living my days tuned in to the cycles of nature. I also love growing good food, and eating it.
How can readers get your products? I sell my vegetables and cut flowers every week, year round through my online market, Fresh Harvest. You can also find my produce at City House restaurant, and a few others in Nashville. I sell my flowers to local florists in town and also do a flower CSA.