When you think about visiting a new city or town, you might not always consider agritourism. But you should. It’s a fairly new thing, so new that my computer doesn’t know that word. Agritourism is touring working farms or ranches and learning about their agricultural operation. If you’re searching for this type of tour abroad, then it will most likely include or feature a farm or ranch stay. Here in the US, it is generally a tour of multiple farms in one day. That’s the beauty of it, you see multiple farms and get a feel for the people of a community and not just one farm.
Nashville hasn’t many farms. It’s a city for sure. So when I visited I decided to get out of town just a little further and see some history. A quick search on AirBNB Experiences led me to Jennifer at Rabbit Circle Farm Tours. She and I connected and when I arrived I grabbed an Uber out to her location. It wasn’t cheap, but didn’t break the bank at $40. Jennifer and her family have been residents and farmers in this area practically before the US was a thing. They know everyone; every farm, every story, every bit of history in Orlinda, Tennessee.
First order of business, after meeting the cat and dogs and seeing the chickens, was fresh, hot biscuits. Jennifer whipped up some biscuits and gravy while we chatted about the history of her home and the circle that brought her back from Alaska to family land, hence the name “Rabbit Circle.” (Take the tour to get to know the details.) She’s here now though and thank goodness.
After breakfast, we hopped in her truck and headed off to explore Orlinda, Tennessee and the surrounding counties. Orlinda was established in 1885 and is known as the “sunniest spot in Tennessee.” We stopped first to meet Jennifer’s horses and then headed up the road another mile or two to see one of the numerous tobacco barns that dot the farms all around Orlinda, and to learn about tobacco farming in Tennessee. It’s still a cash crop and planting and harvesting is still done best by hand. Right now soybeans and cotton are competing with tobacco for first place when it comes to the number one crop grown in Tennessee. It’s grown in sixty-six of the state’s ninety-five counties. Yep, still a thing. Y’all the smell coming out of that barn was pure heaven. Like diving into a jar of pipe tobacco. Damp and sweet and I know it might be bad for ya, but holy heck it smelled goooood.
Windy Acres Farm makes the Gucci of grain. They mill organic non-GMO grains that are shipped all over the country. And they do it old school. That seed machine back there is made of wood and the very same kind of machine my Dad used when he was in high school in Ohio back in the 1950s. Windy Acres is a cooperative effort of several families committed to the stewardship of the land and animals they raise. To get a feel for seed prices click here.
The cows are really unique. Look at their short legs and black tipped faces. They’re a special breed of cow known as British White and they are grass-fed and pasture-raised. Certainly much chunkier than our Florida cows. I didn’t get a chance to taste one. Or maybe I did, since I had the meatloaf for lunch.
We stopped into the beauty parlor after lunch to say hello and get the latest gossip. Jennifer told us that if you want to know anything or want anyone to know anything, get to the Cross Plains Beauty Salon and either listen or talk while getting a new ‘do.
We grabbed lunch at Tesha’s Cafe and Bakery where Skyler makes all the desserts. She brought us out a sampler plate with every single pie and cake she’d made that day. Not going to lie, it was the Chess Pie that won my heart. My favorite every time. It’s there to the left between the Chocolate Creme and the Orange Coconut Cake.
One of our last stops was at Orlinda Furniture Company where Curt and Harris use hand tools and joinery methods to create beautiful custom furniture.
When the tour wrapped up, Jennifer’s mom gave me a ride back to Nashville and spend another hour giving me a tour of Belle Meade and downtown. Do you know the history of the word “hooker?” I do. And General Hooker had his cadre of “fallen doves” right in downtown Nashville.
Curious about East Nashville? Check out my list of favorites here. Want to take a tour of Nashville farms and agriculture? Check out Rabbit Circle Farm Tours. Jen will show you a day full of adventure, history, farm know-how, food science, animal care, and so much more. I can’t wait for another visit to go again. It’s different every time, you know. She has all the farms on speed dial so one day it could be grain, the next donkeys. You have to go to find out!