Visiting a farm stand is like going to the theater — if we’re impressed by what we see, we’re always wishing we could get “backstage” and see how they’re creating all that magic.
Farm tours are just one more way we live vicariously through our friends and treasured farmer’s market vendors who farm. Don’t get us wrong, Los Angeles is never boring, but sometimes we wonder how we’d look in Hunter boots and overalls full-time — leading, say, several baby goats through a field lined with our freshly blossoming seasonal fruit trees.
As we’ve learned, living that farm life is rarely quite so romantic (and a lot of hard work), but we still swoon over the idea and love to talking with farmers about what they do. Follow along with Lauren Palmer of Bloomsbury Farm in Smyrna, Tennessee just outside Nashville. Since 2009, Lauren has been growing a farm and a community that’s sprouted it’s own CSA, an adorable children’s camp, and even a dreamy overnight locale…
Name: Lauren Palmer
Farm: Bloomsbury Farm
What we grow: Over 100 varieties of fruits, veggies, herbs, sprouts, flowers. (I just can’t say no.)
Any animals? About 50 chickens — friends and family get the benefit of these. Oh, and ‘yard art’ like my retired show horse and two stray donkeys, two cats and two dogs.
Thing I wish more people knew about farming: We are an ’18-month’ industry, already planning what your family will eat next season. We have to order the seed, prepare the field, plant, harvest and pack, so, we are forward thinking.
Our claim to fame: We have an amazing crew — we grow people! We love what we do and it shows, from our delivery driver to our warehouse and field, the food just tastes better with the care that we put into it.
What’s it like being a farmer right now? Another colleague said it was like drinking from a fire hose! Holy wow, we are trying to feed so many and from all angles we are getting lots of asks. Happy to be on this end of the spectrum and we love that people are seeking us out like never before. Having a farmer in your back pocket is not going away. Now, more than ever, we are finding ways to be more sustainable and reach more.
The best thing about having a farm: Simply have a space for more than just food. More and more, we are creating community, becoming a space for respite and creativity for people. My farm has allowed me to be creative in what vegetables we grow and now we are open to stays on the farm as well. We don’t want you to leave! We want you to have a full immersion experience with us!
The toughest thing about having a farm: Well that’s easy, mother nature, but also human nature — if you know, you know.
Favorite thing to grow + cook lately: Kohlrabi! From slaw to dips to chips. Runner up is the lion’s mane mushroom! Hello!
Daily uniform: Jeans and over-alls, plus a multi-purpose bandana.
Favorite tips or resources for those who want to learn to grow their own food: Grow the things you eat the most and that bring you joy! Herbs are a good handy kitchen staple right outside your door.
Favorite resources to understand your values around food + farm? Barefoot Farmer! Jeff Poppin has been out to the farm as of recently and we really enjoy each visit, and his ‘been there, done that’, no-nonsense way of growing. My week long stay at Stone Barns was an intense look into entrepreneurial farming and I look back frequently at notes I took that trip.
What I’m not farming, I’m… drinking a beer with buddies! I love socializing and eating at the latest spot in town.
Where we’re available: Franklin Farmers Market year-round and now two days a week at our place! We love people seeing where it all comes from and shopping.
Current mantra: Grow to gather.