Sequatchie Cove Farm

Sequatchie Cove Farm is a diversified farm of 300 acres nestled in the shadows of the Cumberland Plateau, located 35 minutes northwest of downtown Chattanooga. The farm is bordered by the Little Sequatchie River and is surrounded by thousands of acres of pristine Tennessee wilderness. The farm is run by Bill and Miriam Keener, Kelsey and Ashley Keener (and their kids Fletcher, Oliver and Ella Mae), Miriam’s parents Jim and Emily Wright, and an assortment of seasonal helpers from our community and beyond.

Our appreciation and respect for the land is constantly growing. We continue to get to know the nuances of soil life and relationships between bacteria, fungi, insects, animals, water cycles and weather cycles… Everything is constantly changing and although we humans can create some change through our management decisions,

in the long term we know that nature will have the last say…that is why we strive to work with natural systems and are always prepared to adapt our management and decision making processes to fit the circumstances that nature provides for us. We feel like the most important thing we can do as owners and managers of land is to try to leave our small piece of the world healthier, cleaner and more beautiful than when we found it.

For over 20 years we have dedicated our lives and livelihoods to conservation of our land and the environment, we plan to spend the rest of our lives continuing to do so in the most responsible manner we possibly can.

 
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Plants are crucial to our health

Plant life is crucial to our health, and all other life on the planet…plants are the filters that produce oxygen for our lungs, their root systems hold the soil intact by preventing erosion, absorb rainfall and micronutrients, and provide countless interconnected relationships with bacteria, fungi, worms and insects. Leaves harvest life-giving energy from the Sun, which eventually becomes the energy of all living beings on Earth, whether it is us eating a leaf of spinach, or a grasshopper eating the leaf and flying away to become the feast of a bird, or a ruminate harvesting grass which eventually becomes nutrient dense meat, or a crop grown into a dried grain to be eaten by a pig or chicken. We also cannot forget the value of the natural beauty of flowers, forests, and savannas. If it wasn’t for our incredibly diverse plant life, we would be living in a very dismal place indeed.

 
 
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Produce

All of our produce is grown using Organic and Biodynamic practices, ensuring that it is of the highest quality and as nutritious as possible. You can find our seasonal produce at the Farm Trading Post and the Main St Farmers Market.

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Fruits

We grow: raspberries, blackberries, muscadines, and blueberries. All of these items are extremely seasonal and only available in small quantities. Please contact the farm for details on availability and seasonality.

For more information on what fruits are available contact Miriam Keener @ (423)942-9201

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Native Plants

Miriam also has a very limited supply of her Native Plants propagated from seed.

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We aim to have a positive impact on the environment and provide healthy, nutrient dense food.

 

Animals, and our calculated management of them, are our tools that we have to create a positive impact on our environment, as well as provide a healthy nutrient-dense super food to fuel our family and community. Large herds of herbivorous animals have shaped the face of the planet for millennia. Their behavior patterns, until very recently, have been to move frequently and stay in very tight packs to keep themselves safe from large carnivorous predators. This intense movement of animals across the landscape in turn created an extremely healthy and diverse plant life. Although the plants would be defoliated, they would also be very well fertilized with manure and have plenty of time to tap into the root’s energy reserves and regrow before another herd passed through the area. This natural system perpetuated interconnected relationships between plant, animal, soil and water, until humans began to interfere and become the most dominant predator of all. It did not take long for us to wipe out the remaining large competitor carnivores and with our huge brains. Humans began to learn to manipulate our environment to control our food sources even further so we didn’t have to work so hard. Because of this, the main focus of agriculture has been to feed our ever growing population and of course to gain power and conquer the world (hence the rise and fall of civilizations as we know it). Recently though, people have begun to take notice of our deteriorating health, climate, and soils around the planet, and we have begun to link this to our management of land and the way that we manipulate it to feed ourselves.

What we have discovered is that our tunnel vision focused on power and wealth has completely distracted us from the fact that all humans rely on the same natural systems that have always provided life on this planet… We are beginning to realize the absolute importance of clean water and air, and the interdependence of our infinitely complex web of life that makes this planet such an incredible place!

Although this might all seem like common sense, do not be fooled…this way of thinking is in stark contrast to the way 99% of all food is being produced today! Luckily for us, there is a growing number of farmers and consumers that are waking up to the dire situation that we are in, and instead of complaining and blaming things on the current president, we are actually doing something about it! We have the power to reassess the way we live our lives across the board and lead drastic changes to make our planet and our lives more sustainable and enjoyable, hopefully leaving our children with a life worth living.

SCF pledges that none of our animals has ever been in a confinement feedlot, been subjected to any inhumane treatment, or given growth hormones or antibiotics. Our cattle and sheep have never eaten anything but fresh grass, and our pigs and poultry have always roamed free outdoors and been supplemented with 100% natural Organic grains.

 
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Beef

Growing grass-fed and grass-fattened beef is one of our specialties. Beef cows are able to roam freely, eating healthy grass and enjoying fresh East Tennessee air and sunshine. We work to mimic nature, and using this natural model of grazing, we heal the land, clean up the waterways, produce healthier grass, and feed the earthworms - which all increase the meat quality. And of course, no steroids, no antibiotics, no growth hormones, no feedlots or grain finishing - ever. The beef is dry-aged and hand-butchered the old fashioned way: by the Westmorland family in New Hope, TN, by men and women whose names we know, using knives, one beef at a time. It is a long, slow process; it takes 2 to 3 years to produce one beef - but we know you would not want things any other way. Come visit anytime and shop at the farm Trading Post - sign up for our email and Facebook and we will let you know when we have a farm tour and other events.

 
 
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Pork

Sequatchie Cove Farm is back to raising Heritage Breed pigs! Right now we have Gloucestershire Old Spots http://www.gospbc.co.uk/. We stopped raising pigs for a couple of years because working with and raising any animal the right way, - takes - work and time. Now that we have a little extra time, we decided to have pigs once again. Like all of our animals, they are raised outdoors on pasture, and since they are pigs, in the woods next to the pastures. We are using them to create special savanna-like pastures that we will rotate the pigs and layers through. Fresh air, sunshine, rain, and foraging outdoors in the woods under open skies is the life we want our pigs to lead. Because we milk cows, and cheese is made here on the farm, we always have a little extra milk, lots of whey, and occasionally some cheese that didn't make the grade for the pigs’ feed. During the fall, they have acorns, hickory and walnuts, and their favorite treat - persimmons. This, along with some corn and bad pears, is their diet. Like our chickens, cows, and sheep, and even our fruit and vegetables, the pigs are tended by hand and raised with respect. It is the only way we will have it at Sequatchie Cove Farm and we know you want it that way also. Check out our pork packages with bacon!

 
 
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Lamb

The Mild Lamb You’ll Love

We raise the breed of sheep, Katahdin Hair Sheep, here at Sequatchie Cove. This particular breed is the only sheep bred in North America specifically for producing the highest quality meat in our lush and humid environment. Katahdins are particularly hardy and healthy animals that do not require much more than good healthy pastures and the watchful eyes of the Shepherds and guard dogs that keep the predators at bay. We raise our animals with lots of loving attention. We strive to mimic nature in all of our farming practices, so our animals only eat the native grasses and shrubs that grow in our area. We move them to fresh grass daily alongside our cattle in order to produce a superior forage, and ultimately, the end product for your table. We believe that healthy soil and pastures are essential for providing you with healthy food. These animals, just like our beef, are never given any kind of growth hormones, antibiotics and are never confined to a feedlot for grain finishing…green pastures and open air is all you will find here! Our lamb is processed at around 8 to 12 months of age at a family owned USDA slaughter house in South Pittsburg, TN.

 
 
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Poultry

 

Brooding chicks, raising pullets, feed, grains, grass, Urban chickens and uber chickens. Chickens eat grass, weeds, seeds, bugs. They scratch the ground. They add valuable fertilizer to your garden and they lay eggs - amazing.

We have a whole set of devotees who will eat only the eggs that our chickens lay. So what do we attribute this predilection of great taste to? We will let you in on the well-kept secret, passed on from antiquity, for raising chickens so that they lay the most amazing eggs - it is quite simple: “think like a chicken”.

Chickens love to get up at first light and run out and scratch, eat, drink and start laying. We let the laying flock out in the dark of dawn and the flock is already tuned up to a melodious hum as the crepuscular rays begin. Most of the hens flutter out and start scratching and pecking, however there are 4 or 6 that are ready to lay, they can’t wait, and with due celerity they pop around the corner, cock their head, study the nesting boxes for a minute, swoop in and start laying. The flock stays busy all morning and all day - scratching, pecking, investigating. By about 11am or so, 90% of all the eggs they are going to lay are laid. Jim (with his great grandchildren, as well as Ashley, Bill, and an assortment of other helpers) gathers the eggs and Emily sorts them.

In the evening, Jim goes out at dusk, tucks the flock in to bed, and locks the door so the varmints can’t have chicken pot pie. We have learned many times over that there are many creatures that love chicken sandwiches. We move their ‘house’ every couple of days so they always have fresh grass and bugs to nibble on. We also supplement them with certified organic grain - the flock has settled on a mix of organic corn, organic field peas, organic flaxseed meal, organic sunflower meal and minerals. Organic means that all the grains were raised with no pesticides, no herbicides, no fungicides, no -cides of any sort, non-GMO, no antibiotics, nothing synthetic. Just soil full of life.

So when you do your next egg degustation you will know the flavor is all about the whole karma of the hens and their lives (and ours) - the pecking, the laying, the gathering of eggs, the sorting of the eggs, the movement. The hens bundle up all this energy in the shell and we deliver it to you in cartons weekly at the Main Street Farmer’s market or at the farm. They always sell out so be sure to get there early.

 So think twice before you compliment someone for having the 'brain’ of a chicken - we “think like a chicken” every day here.

Also check out our pastured meat chickens and turkeys!!

 
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Cheese

Nestled in a cove on the floor of the picturesque Sequatchie Valley, Sequatchie Cove Creamery produces farmstead cheese using time-honored European traditions with a distinctly Southern flair. Our cheeses are made using the raw milk from cows who spend every waking moment on grass, letting the expression of the land shine through in its flavors. Fresh forage, sunlight, Tennessee mountain air, a good bit of science, and a dash of artistry are the tools we rely on daily. We strive to nourish and honor ourselves, the nature around us, and the awesome community that supports us.