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Bloomsbury Farms:

A Place To Bloom

Article by Ashley Hutcheson

Photography by Provided by Bloomsbury Farm

Originally published in Brentwood Lifestyle

As you weave your way to the very edge of Williamson County, you encounter the beauty that lies on the East line of the county adjacent to Rutherford. It’s hard for those living closer in to the populated locations to fathom the expanse; you seem hours away instead of minutes. Following directions, the final turn is into Bloomsbury Farm’s driveway. Looking more like a county road, it’s a very, very long driveway. Along the way you’ll see owner Lauren Palmer’s home, the first of many barns, a chicken coup, an event space, a chandelier hanging from a tree that immediately makes you feel the warmth of summer evenings with friends.

Seconds in Lauren’s presence and you feel comfortable, wanted and energized. Minutes in her presence and you realize you’d be hard-pressed to find someone more passionate and fulfilled by their occupation.

Born and raised in Tennessee, Lauren went to David Lipscomb University to pursue an education in social work. Fated to make her life’s work about reaching out, helping and providing support for people, Lauren has taken social work down to its most root form, farming and providing sustenance for her community and surrounding communities.

Even more captivating than the obvious parts of the farm, you immediately see the hoop houses located on the farm. While most of the vegetation outside seems to be waiting for spring, there is very much life flourishing in the houses. One step into the hoop houses and the smell of Earth and vegetation envelopes you. Your eye is immediately drawn to the gorgeous rows of tiny bright green sunflower sprouts practically ready to eat out of their container flanked by plats of seedling patiently waiting to find their soil home outside.

In the center of the house, off to the side, is a small room. Set among the narrow shelves are rows of roughly 5-pound white bags producing pillowy, fluffy, beautiful mushrooms. The Lion’s Main looks like a cloud and practically pulls your hand toward it to test its actual reality as a mushroom and not a cloud growing before your eyes. The gorgeous white and gray Oyster Mushrooms evoke visions of succulent dishes smothered with rich mushrooms sauces and fresh salads.

One of the first things you will hear Lauren mention is their 300-plus strong Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. A CSA directly connects farmers to consumers.

Bloomsbury CSA supports, but is not limited to, Brentwood, Franklin, East and West Nashville. All of the CSA baskets are ready to eat when received and are available for both the summer season and a fall/winter option. Lauren will tell you that she and Bloomsbury are blessed with really great support:  "We’re really great to the Earth and we’re feeding people.” It’s clear what fuels the energy and passion that drives Bloomsbury.

Bloomsbury is Certified Organic and Certified Good Agricultural Practices (GAP). These high accolades come with their own sets of strict standards. Certified Organic is US government-approved and are free from pesticides, chemicals and dyes. GAP Certification has three auditing bodies and looks at numerous factors of a farm not limited to: water testing, food safety, harvesting equipment and record-keeping, along with countless others. Partnering with regional wholesale food distributors, such as Creation Gardens and FreshPoint, Bloomsbury products are in multiple local restaurants; a favorite being Nashville’s Butcher & Bee.

Based on output, it’s almost unfathomable that out of their 400-plus acres, Lauren and her team are cultivating only 15 acres of their 30 farmable acres.

Every Saturday of the year, you can find Bloomsbury at The Franklin Farmers Market located on-site at The Factory at Franklin. During late spring through late fall, you can also find them at the Nolensville Farmer’s Market located near the Nolensville Rec Center. Bloomsbury also does “open farm Friday” in the afternoons from May through December.

Aside from food, you must have drink and more specifically, good beer. Bloomsbury has provided key ingredients for local breweries. Tennessee Brew Works seasonal farmhouse saison, Basil Ryeman, includes Thai and sweet basil from the farm. And Jackalope brewery includes Bloomsbury thyme in their farmhouse saison, Das Bji.

Bloomsbury hosts events and get-togethers and has an event coordinator on staff. The farm hosts a limited number of spectacularly set weddings; around ten a year. Spring Break and each summer for 2 to 3 months Camp Bloomsbury promises to send your children home dirty or your money back! The curriculum encourages free play in a framework encouraging creativity, observation and inclusiveness while cultivating tangible and meaningful projects.

Every now and then, Bloomsbury will throw an Epic Bonfire with s’mores bar, local beer, “a fire as tall as a house and good humans.” Better than
any studio yoga you will find, periodically there is Yoga on the Hilltop--a 2- hour event led by a local instructor capped off by wine and small tastes.

If you are looking for a fuller immersion in the serenity Bloomsbury offers, you can stay on-site at their Airbnb offering. There are bread-making classes, cigar and whiskey tastings, outdoor movie nights, once-in-blue moon opportunities for a dinner hosted by Outstanding in the Field and many other distinctive and fascinating events.

Lauren’s happy when the farm is part of the community, and being part of birthdays, weddings and special events in people’s lives is one of the many ways Bloomsbury accomplishes that. For spectacular photos follow Lauren and Bloomsbury Farm on Instagram at bloomsburyfarm.

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