Tucked away off a long road on the border of Smyrna and Dolan Springs, about 35 minutes from Nashville, is a magical place with more than 400 acres of rolling hills and meandering creeks. Here, visitors can buy organic produce, have a picnic, get married, or just stop by to meet the owner.
“This is what I believe in,” says Laura Palmer, the owner and creator of this unique destination located on Bloomsbury Farms. “I want you to see and touch and feel all the food and get to know me and what we’re all about.”
What she’s all about is sustainable farming, community, family and fun. Her father, Myron, who was raised on a dairy farm and later became an avid orchid grower, went by the motto: "Bloom where you were planted."
“I grew up in a house full of flowers,” she says. “Blooming was part of what we felt in the house and on the land. My dad’s family is all from here, and it felt great to also plant roots here and to actually grow food and bloom multiple things. So, his motto rings true to me.”
Her parents purchased the property when she was in elementary school, and then added onto it twice to bring it to the size it is today. In 2009, Lauren decided to create and develop her own dream on Bloomsbury Farm, and turned it into a true working farm.
She practiced sustainable farming right from the beginning, and the farm is now both G.A.P. (Good Agricultural Practices) and U.S.D.A. Certified Organic. “It’s a cleaner way to farm,” says Lauren. “We use certified seeds and we’re making sure there are no pesticides, so we’re only bettering the soil as we continue to grow. I’m giving back to the land, and I’m hoping my daughter can continue farming on these same pieces of land.”
Lauren tries hard to make sure her high-quality vegetables, fruits, sprouts and herbs are available to as many people as possible, and she does this in a number of ways. Every Saturday, year-round, she can be found at the Franklin Farmers Market.
“We go all out and we bring everything to market,” she says. “We not only take fruits and vegetables, but a great salsa as well, and we work with a pasta maker who makes kale pasta. We also bring mushrooms, herbs, flowers, and occasionally, eggs. It’s a very well-rounded market table.”
Another way she facilitates access is with Farm Fridays, a super cool event that has grown into a total farm experience. “I had a few shoppers at the Franklin Farmers market who lived closer to the farm, and they asked if they could have early access to the produce we were harvesting that day,” says Lauren. “It then became a day to feed people and have drinks and hang out. There’s a playground I had for my daughter, so parents, bring your kids. It’s very family-oriented and we want you to stay.”
Bloomsbury Farms also offers Picnic Basket Kits. “We have blankets waiting for you,” she says. “There’s cheese and hummus and olives, and you can purchase one of these baskets and have a picnic on the grounds. While the kids run around, have a snack as you’re hanging out. In the fall, we’ll crank up the fire and you can get to know your neighbors and everyone else who is here.”
Chef Edgar is also on-site on Fridays to cook up the most incredible fare. “It’s sort of Mexican street-food driven, but there is also squash and zucchini and all kinds of produce he incorporates into it.”
Lauren is also proud to offer an amazing CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. Its spring and fall CSA programs are eight weeks, while summer is 24 weeks. People can sign up on the website, and there are various-sized bushel baskets available, so regardless of the number of people in a family, a perfect size can be selected. “We have three seasons and I’m very tempted to do a winter season because we’ve done so well with it.”
In addition to the retail side of the business, Bloomsbury Farm also supplies restaurants in the area. “We deliver produce to Nashville twice a week every week of the year, so chefs can get what they need,” she says.
Its farm products also can be found at grocery stores, such as Whole Foods, Produce Place and Turnip Truck. “I’m getting people this food any way I can,” says Lauren.
Visitors to the farm also find chickens and goats, as well as barn cats and farm dogs. “Our farm is an experience,” says Lauren. “We also do high-hospitality events, such as full-service dinners and mini retreats.”
Private events, such as business retreats, school reunions, rehearsal dinners, and farm–to–table dinners, are held in the designated gathering areas and pavilion. A small number of weddings also are held on the farm every year, and after the ceremony, couples can enjoy a cocktail hour and candlelit reception dinner.
For those who would like to spend even more on this amazing farm, there’s the Loft, an on-site Airbnb. A converted horse barn surrounded by big, beautiful trees overlooking gorgeous horse pastures, it features a bedroom, bathroom, laundry room and more. For cooks wanting to take advantage of all the surrounding farm-fresh goodness, the gourmet kitchen is outfitted with a six-burner Wolf range and sub-zero refrigerator. In the evening, guests can sit outside and relax by the fire pit, roast marshmallows, or enjoy a glass of wine. Come morning, watch the sun rise while sipping a cup of coffee.
Another very unique offering is its education programs. “We have a home-school program that now takes place five days a week. We’ve done summer camp for the last three summers, but when COVID hit, we decided to create early education programs, so we now have four teachers that run three programs. There are courses that include birdhouses and gardens and that just thrills me the most right now. It’s one of my passions.”
Many local families who home-school can plug into the courses for one or all five days a week. There are varied offerings on different days – for example, science on Mondays and Tuesdays and math on Wednesdays and Thursdays. “So there’s an opportunity each semester to focus on these education pieces,” she says. “The whole program now has 70 kids who all kind of plug-in on different days.” Her 7-year-old daughter, Palmer, is in the program full time.
Lauren lives on the farm with her daughter and husband, Nathan Brown, whom she just married in September. Her parents still reside on the farm and help whenever they can. It’s a real family affair.
“I’ve been in business for 12 years, and it’s been lots of fun to create,” says Lauren. “It’s such a large space and so inviting that the next 12 years we're going to be even more magical. I’m very much a ‘yes’ person. If you want to create it, I say let’s do it.”