Go Back in Time On a Rabbit Circle Rural American Farm Tour – Tennessee Home and Garden, May 2019

By Meghan McDonald

Jennifer – Tour Guide at Rabbit Circle

Get back to Tennessee’s rural roots and hear firsthand what it’s like to be a 21st-century farmer when you book a Rabbit Circle Rural American Farm Tour. Rabbit Circle’s founder, Jennifer Davis, was born and raised in the countryside of Robertson County. Now she connects individuals and groups of all sizes with the farmers who grow their food (as well as tobacco, indigo and hemp) and introduces them to the rich culture of farming communities. Rabbit Circle offers three standard tours that leave from Nashville, as well as the opportunity to design a custom tour focused on your specific interests.  Read More More at Tennessee Home and Garden

100 Years- What’s Changed

Newspaper clipping 1930

I found this newspaper clipping while going through my Granny Head’s scrapbook. It dates from about 1930. Pictured is my Great Grandfather Raymond Head and his 4 children.

The caption under the first photos reads: ” A recently-bought flock of Montana ewes on the farm of Raymond Head, near Springfield, is inspected by county Agent Harmon Jones and Mr Heads son Robert. The sheep are expected to play a big part in making up the loss caused by dealing dark fired tobacco market;”

2019 is the first year that there will be an industrial hemp crop in Tennessee. A recent article in the Tennessean reads ” Faced with the decreasing profitability of tobacco and an expanding market of hemp products, some of Tennessee’s longtime tobacco farmers are abandoning the state’s traditional cash crop and embracing a lucrative but largely uncharted hemp industry.”

Another story from Forbes online reads. “How Hemp Is Giving Renewed Life To America’s Tobacco Farmers”

It seems as though there is an ongoing conversation with Black Patch tobacco farmers that’s lasted for well over 100 years. What will be the next big crop that replaces the income from tobacco?

Robertson County has a long proud history

Aunt Fannie Hart

Mary Frances Barbee Was born October 30 1844. She was 73 years, 3 months and 2 days old at the time of her death, February 1, 1918. She was a consistent member of Corinth Church for more than 40 years. 

She was married to N.H. Hart, June 30, 1962. Of this union were born 11 children. Seven sons and 4 daughters, all now living, grown, married, settled members of the church. 

On February 2, a short funeral service was conducted at the home by her pastor, Reverend Whitefield and concluded at the grave in the old Hart graveyard, where she was laid to rest. It was a touching and beautiful sight to watch six of her stalwart sons gently lower the lifeless body of their mother to the grave. She had lived to a good old age and died as she had lived, loved and honored by all who knew her. This is a short history of a good woman that has paid the last debt and gone to her reward. 

I was asked to assist the preacher in the funeral service, but on account of the inclement weather did not get there, so will write about what I should have said, not as an obituary, but as a small tribute to her memory. 

More that 70 years ago when I was not much more than a babe and about the time she was born, my father moved to but a little more than a mile from her father’s home. Here a real and pleasant acquaintance began that has lasted all these years since. She was a great favorite in school, and in fact with all who knew her. 

Nearly 40 years ago I settled as a doctor in sight of her home. Some of her children had grown up and others were unborn. I watched the younger children grow up and attended any of them when sick and for almost all these years was the family physician, a relation, perhaps next the preacher, the most sacred. 

A 3rdof a century ago, when I married her niece, who loved her almost as she loved her own mother, she became to me “Aunt Fannie” and I reverenced her almost as much as much as did my own dear aunts that went to their homes many years ago. There were 3 traits in Aunt Fannie’s character that I wish to mention her as predominating more I think than in any person I have known. They were industry, unselfishness, and appreciation. She always wanted to be doing something, wanted to be at work and to show her unselfishness at work for someone else. 

First, of course, it was her family, her children; next her relations then her neighbors. I wish I could know how many of those have some little piece of her handwork as a keepsake, that they will now appreciate more now that she is gone. It mattered not how small and insignificant the present from her husband, children relatives or neighbors she showed keen appreciation of her countenance. Can you wonder that she loved everybody? Because everybody loved her. All these years I have known her I can call to mind now word about her but in praise. 

She was the youngest daughter of a large family and survived them all except one brother, the youngest child of the family, who though living in a distant state, came often to see sister Fannie whom he adored. 

A good woman has died, and may Heaven’s Blessings rest on those left behind. 

Oak Lawn, Feb 2 1918 H.S.

Tiny Seeds of Hope

In mid March,  tobacco farmers around middle Tennessee start their crops in large floating greenhouse gardens. Tobacco seeds are tiny. They are about the size of a sesame seed.   They have been the main cash crop around here for generations

Matt Start Tobacco Green House

My Granddaddy always said that tobacco was a 13 month a year crop. The plants spend 7 weeks in the green house, 90-120 days in the field, 6 weeks drying in the barn and another 3-4 months of stripping.  Almost as soon as a farmer finishes one crop, they start gathering supplies and preparing for the next season. There isn’t much down on a farm. Every step counts.

Book a local farm tour.

We will show you around and introduce you to the local farmers and their traditions.

Mechanical Tobacco Seeder – Starks Brothers Farms
Steve Stark

Spring is in the air

The buttercups are out. If you aren’t local this news may surprise you, but spring is already making its presence known, even before it officially gets here.

There’s a secret spot down by the river that’s loaded with buttercups. Buttercups bloom locally for a couple of weeks. We will be stopping by the river until the middle of March.

Farm to table dinner supports the Farmer Veteran Coalition

White’s Family Farm hosted a farm to table dinner to benefit the Farmer Veterans Coalition.  “Cruising in the Corn” was an evening of music, history, stories, drinks and food.

 

Jake from Nash a local instagram hero and his trusty people Jodi and Kelley took a private tour with Rabbit Circle out to the farm for  dinner. We all enjoyed  local favorites,  Drunken Pig BBQ, prepared a smoked pork butt. Justin Dorris and his crew prepared the smoked meat in the traditional southern style of BBQ. They smoke their meat with the same slabs of wood that tobacco farms use to smoke the beloved “dark fire” tobacco  . Nelson’s Green Bier Distillery,  Black Horse Beer  and Petri Cigars were also at the table.  Petri  cigars  are made with a blend of local Robertson County Tobacco.  Petri Italian cigars won  the title Gold Medal Best Cigar at the Panama Pacific International Exposition in 1915.   The hardwood smoked pork and tobacco from the Black Patch are what legends and fine meals are made of.

 Photo Credit to The Robertson County Connection