Meet Mr. and Mrs. Farmer of Rosie Belle Farm
"When we traded homemaking for careers, we were implicitly promised economic independence and worldly influence. But a devil of a bargain it has turned out to be in terms of daily life. We gave up the aroma of warm bread rising, the measured pace of nurturing routines, the creative task of molding our families' tastes and zest for life; we received in exchange the minivan and the Lunchable."
–Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life
Spend any time with Paul and Pat Schertz (aka Mr. and Mrs. Farmer) of Rosie Belle Farm and you would think they were born into the farm life. You wouldn’t know that Pat was a successful litigator, turned jewelry designer before landing in Tennessee where she is happily milking goats and cows. Paul was a successful real estate developer before the recession in 2008. But now they run Rosie Belle Farm with 12 cows, 35 goats, 20 hogs, hundreds of chickens, 50 ducks, 9 dogs and one rescue horse. They have 135 CSA members, and live a lot like your great grandparents might have.
Their 1894 Victorian farmhouse which they bought in 2015 has no heat or air conditioning (which keeps guests limited to fall and spring and the Motel 6 up the street). Before their farm in Pulaski, they had a farm in Leipers Fork, which at 30K per acre “is a crazy place to grow carrots,” according to Pat. They are much more suited to their 53 acres in Pulaski, where they concentrate on dairy and meat production, but love to get their hands in the dirt as time permits. Mrs. Farmer is a fantastic cook, with a knack for old time preserving and using everything in some way shape or form. “Paul and I participate in competent poverty,” laughs Pat.
Pat also appears to be tireless. Her and assistant, Hannah, milk three cows twice a day and goats too—a vocation seldom found in Tennessee. She makes yogurt and cheese from the fresh milk, as well as butter and homemade flat breads. Lately she’s been fermenting foods, which requires no heat (as opposed to pickling). Her fermented tomatillo salsa is fantastic. In their CSA, they offer homemade flatbreads, Labneh cheese, yogurt, eaggs, beef, chicken and pork, as well as lamb, goat, rabbit and duck. In addition, you’ll find dips (hummus, pesto, fermented bean), feta cheese, butter and even her "kitchen Sink" cookies, if you’re lucky. In addition to the prepared food, another bonus to their CSA, is that they deliver it to your home labelled and neatly packaged. “We aren’t good at following rules or being on time,” says Paul, both of which are required when having pick-up points for a CSA.
We sat down to a lunch of Pat’s crispy flatbread, tomato salad, fermented tomatillo salsa, cumin spiced pickled squash, hummus, olives, feta cheese, pistachio pesto and homemade Labneh. A perfect summer lunch on a hot day. Then we headed to our air conditioned cars.
“The animals are my happy place, when they hear my voice they come running.” –Pat Schertz