Five years ago, I left a 10 year career in corporate finance/accounting to pursue my idea of creating a small, sustainable organic farm. Through a crazy mix of hard work, perseverance, luck (both good and bad), and wonderful customers willing to buy the fruits of our labor, my family and I have created a successful little farm just outside of Nashville.
With no prior farming experience, I dove in head first and hoped for the best. The land had a history of growing things. Corn, cows, and gardens have taken shape in the fields of Foggy Hollow Farm before I gave it that name, but never a large mixed vegetable, fruit, and egg operation. This was to be something new to both me and the land. The first year was filled with mistakes spotted with the occasional success. Harvests that I would now consider miserable failures were treated with awe and celebration. Over time, I have learned to listen to the farm’s soft whispers at it has tried to teach me how to be a better farmer through observation and I have marveled at the two-sided power of mother nature as she has both nourished and destroyed my efforts. We have made our mark on the land, most visibly through fences, greenhouses, and hoophouses, but more importantly through the less visible increases in life and fertility that we have given the soil. The tons of compost spread by hand, the self-supporting qualities of the cover crops we have turned under, and the cycling of nutrients that the goats and chickens have provided have created a farm with more vitality than when we began. In turn, the soil has provided us with a larger bounty each progressive year. All in all, I feel we have set a firm foundation for a successful farm for years to come.
With this foundation set, it is time for me to step back as the vegetable farmer and assume a different role in the Nashville local food movement. Access to land is perhaps the largest barrier to those wishing to pursue farming. There are many out there that wish to do as I have done, but do not have the means to secure the necessary land and infrastructure. With this in mind, we have begun the search within the Nashville farming community for a new steward for our vegetable operation. Our hope is the transition can take place over the fall with continued vegetable production resuming as early as next spring. In the meantime, the farm will continue to produce and bring to market Tennessee’s only certified organic, pasture-raised eggs. John Patrick (Dad) will continue the egg, goat, and blueberry operations at Foggy Hollow Farm. Also, in an effort to increase the sustainability of the farm, he is currently working on transitioning the chicken flock to all heritage breed birds and establishing a regional heritage breed chicken network.
I would like to thank all of those that have supported the farm for the past five years. We have had an incredible network of family, friends, fellow farmers, and customers that have helped it to grow into its current state. I have no doubt that this network of support will remain as we continue with the farm’s mission to provide the freshest, most delicious food while leaving the land better than we found it. While Foggy Hollow Farm is only in its infancy, it has become a part of the Nashville local food movement and it is our intent that it will continue to contribute to the movement for years to come.
If you have any questions, please utilize local food’s unique ability to talk directly to your producer by seeing me (or any of my family) at the farmer’s market or sending me an email.
With deepest thanks,