There are numerous gardens in Williamson County. Some are beautiful arrays of colorful flowers, and some are filled with vast collections of vegetables and fruits. Gardening is a talent. Something that is ever evolving from various climate changes, from new to tried-and-true methods developed over the years, understanding of the earth and plants…there are so many facets involved that it takes a master gardener to create a thriving environment for producing.
The Farm at Homestead Manor is a true example of master gardening. Cultivated to elevate diners’ experiences and supply the local community with agri-educational opportunities, The Farm at Homestead is an on-site working farm, encompassing more than ten acres of land used to sustainably support the restaurant. The business is overseen by a property manager and a pair of agricultural curators.
The 75-plus types of vegetables, herbs, flowers and fruits at Homestead are organically grown in the garden, orchard and greenhouse under strict accordance with USDA Organic Certification Regulations. In the future, The Farm hopes to implement aquaponics into its system.
In addition to the farm, there is an orchard, which was originally part of the ca. 1819 property. It will be groomed and harvested, and its fruits used in both the restaurant and the bar.
Steven Bailey, who founded one of the largest Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in Texas before relocating to Williamson County, is now leading Homestead’s agricultural operations as the farm director. With nearly a decade of experience with urban farming and restaurant consulting, Steven is working closely with the Harvest kitchen to help further elevate future menus and drive Homestead closer to becoming a completely sustainable movement.
The best advice that Steven has for farmers and gardeners is to take action. “Start small but take action,” he said. “If you really want to farm, then start by volunteering on a farm, getting a job on a farm or even leasing a small plot of land from a neighbor and getting after it. Urban farming can be done on just a tiny area in your backyard.” He goes on to say, “The farm-to-table movement has been awesome, but it has also romanticized what we do to the point where everyone wants to do it – but when it’s time to weed for seven hours and it’s hot outside, people bail out. The only way to really know if you want to do it is get going and start something small.”
Steven’s passion for farming is rooted in telling the story of where the food comes from. He has been hoping to bring animals to Homestead in the near future. Currently, there are plans in the works for pigs and sheep to be added to the farm. “I’m excited to push the envelope and help develop the most progressive menu in middle Tennessee through a completely sustainable farm,” said Steven.
For those interested in farm operations, Homestead offers elements of agri-tourism. The orchard will be open to visitors and guests to pick from (reservations required), and The Farm will be used in a variety of community-driven educational purposes. Once developed, walking trails among the trees with historic markers will tell the story of the Battle of Thompson’s Station and its significance to Tennessee and American history.
Harvest at Homestead is located at 4685 Columbia Pike in Thompson’s Station. It is open Tuesday through Friday for lunch and dinner and Saturday and Sunday for brunch, lunch and dinner. To learn more about Harvest at Homestead, visit homesteadmanor.com.