Eric, Dylan, and everyone at Bells Bend Farms have been a joy to get to know over the past few years. My wife and I intentionally sought out a different rhythm of life several years ago when we knew we were soon to become parents. Bells Bend Farms has been a big part of that. We have been CSA members for over 5 years and every year I learn more about what grows (and tastes good) in this area. On a tour of the farm several springs ago, we found our then 3-4 year old son busily stripping off the sugar snap peas and cramming them down his mouth. His little sister is a pickier eater but carrots (especially the multi-colored ones) are her favorite. A CSA gives us the incentive to try new produce and new ways of preparing more traditional fare. For me, garlic scape season is maybe the best 2 week period of the year. I love the variety of food grown and the length of the CSA season. Both in a CSA year and from year to year we’ve enjoyed a great rotation of food - from leafy greens (mustard greens are the best) to legumes, to roots, gourds and fruit, I can honestly say I eat better and healthier during the CSA season. The May-December time frame ensures that we’ll have great food and great value for most of the year.Bells Bend Farm is just a few miles down the street from my house. I love picking up my produce on the way home, chatting with my farmers and the neighbors about the week and the food before heading home. We make it a point to attend the farm dances that are held a few times during the CSA season. Fresh and wholesome food is great, but enjoying it with friends and family amplifies the value. Even my friends who live too far away or just don’t get the farm lifestyle love helping pick hops or coming to a dance.
My husband and I first bought a CSA share when I was pregnant with our first child. We were hooked and have participated every year since. Once you have tasted in-season veggies that were in the ground that morning, that didn’t travel thousands of miles to get to you, it’s hard to go back to buying them in the grocery store. Participating in a CSA is not just a means to get some outstanding produce. It’s much more. You gain a connection to your farmers, to the weather, you learn what is in season, you try things you’ve never heard of and love them (or learn to love them). You start to look forward to each season because it’s going to bring an incredible food that you’ve missed since last year.My kids are 6 and 4 now. I have caught myself saying to the 6 year old - ‘Stop eating all the turnip greens raw or we won’t have any for supper!’ She has always helped herself as soon as I put the basket down. I love that I can just let her - I don’t have to worry about chemicals. And it’s funny how my 4 year old will eat every carrot from our CSA basket if I don’t stop him, but will hardly touch the ones from Kroger. I don’t blame him. The ones from Bells Bend are so sweet! The kale that the farm grows is so good, you can’t find anything like it in the stores. The tomatoes...I could go on and on...As far as value, I feel like I am absolutely robbing the farmers sometimes. It seems like a big chunk of change at the start of the season, but when you see what you get every week, it is so worth it. It’s plenty to feed a family of four and I often times will share with my neighbors as well.So, bottom line, if you’re on the fence about joining a CSA, I would say go for it. There’s no way you’ll regret it. We have been with Bells Bend Farms since 2013 and couldn’t be happier. They have top notch produce that is a good mix of familiar and uncommon. I really like that you put your own basket together - so I can choose exactly what size eggplant or pepper that I want. And Eric and the crew couldn’t be nicer.
Bells Bend Farms has been my family’s CSA of choice for 6 years now. They were our first CSA and we have purchased our produce from them every year with the exception of one, only because they couldn’t deliver to our local market that year. In comparing our time with Bells Bends versus the larger farm that we tried, I would have to say that there is no comparison. We love Bells Bend first and foremost because of the fact that we know and love our farmer (we didn’t meet our farmer(s) with the other CSA). Eric looks at his work on the farm and his stewardship of his land with reverence and responsibility. He is truly one of the kindest, friendliest people I know and I am lucky to have him and his team growing my family’s food. Picking up our weekly farm share from Bells Bend is time I truly savor. It is a community building experience that has deepened my roots in Nashville.I feel that eating the produce from Bells Bend has kept my family healthy over the years. My kids love the produce and can easily taste the difference between Bells Bend produce and grocery store produce. Eating food that is organic, bio-dynamic, and grown in soil that is not depleted of minerals is so nutrient rich that our immune systems are stronger because of it. Since we get a variety of vegetables, I have also become a more adventurous cook. I love that we are regularly given the opportunity to eat nourishing, nutrient dense foods that does not cost any more than going to the grocery store. As long as Bells Bend is a working farm, my family will be their customers.
We have enjoyed the various produce from Bells Bend Farms for many years. Our kids like to visit the farm throughout the season also, since it’s close. The kids have been inspired to grow their own small garden. Our family likes the beets, lettuces, onions, tomatoes and butternut squash most, but we’ve discovered some our favorite dishes when we search for recipes to use the other produce we receive in our weekly bounty. It’s always great to see the farmers at pick-up also.