Franklin’s favorite pick your own blackberry farm has partnered up with Frothy Monkey to offer fresh, local blackberries at all three of our locations throughout the summer. Look for these delicious berries in our food/drink specials and baked goods all summer long. Thank you Carol Warren and Dale Whitehead for taking a minute to answer a few questions.
What’s the history of Boyd Mill Farm?
Boyd Mill Farm is named for the Boyd Mill, which for a century or so (circa1820) was a gathering place for the community on Saturday mornings. The ruins of the Boyd Mill are still visible in the river on the edge of the berry field. We at Boyd Mill Farm are striving to again make the farm a community gathering place, whether for the music at the Blackberry Jam Music Festival each June, or coming to pick berries and other fruit in July and August.
How long has BMF been growing blackberries?
Boyd Mill Farm has been growing berries for 12 years, and we have been open to the public for 10.
BMF took a hard hit in 2010’s flood. How have you bounced back from that? Is there anything you all have done differently moving forward from that disaster?
In May of 2010, the farm was almost done in by the flood waters. We had 8 feet of water roll through our valley, covering the plants, the farm equipment, vehicles, and putting 3 feet of water through the house. That first summer, we got about 50 gallons of berries from the blackberry plants. We lost many plants in the process. We started slowly rebuilding, inside and out, and we learned what it means to live in the Volunteer State! This summer (three seasons later) we will probably yield about 400 gallons. We are still not quite back to pre-flood standards but definitely moving in the right direction!
Since the flood we have streamlined our composting and care practices, and the plants have greatly benefited. Nothing artificial or chemical is used to grow our plants.
BMF seems to be selective in the restaurants they choose to partner with. Why is FM a good fit as a purveyor of your product?
We are very selective with how we choose and grow our plants, so we are also very selective with whom we partner in the community. Frothy Monkey has provided the perfect outlet- we are big fans of the restaurant and how they have embraced the local farms. We are all about shopping and eating local, and FM is a great example of that.
BMF just had its annual Blackberry Jam Music Festival. With this year having the biggest turnout to date. How do you all plan to keep the momentum and top yourself next year?
In the continuing effort to give back to the community, Boyd Mill Farm plays host each year to the Blackberry Jam Music Festival, always held the 4th Saturday of June. This was our 10th festival and the biggest one yet, with all proceeds going to Hard Bargain Association. Frothy Monkey was a stage sponsor this year and one of many area businesses to contribute in large and small ways. This is truly a community event. As we move into our second decade, that is what we really want to continue. We hope to focus on local food, music and charities in an even bigger way, and we have BIG plans for the musical artists for next year!
What is your favorite use for BMF blackberries? Do you have any tips or recipes?
Boyd Mill Farm has many favorite recipes, but recently we’ve been partial to what we find on JustaPinch.com, because our berries are used in their test kitchen, located here in Franklin.
Every customer has their favorite cobbler recipe, but the best tip I can give is this: do not wash berries before freezing (makes them mushy,) and if you are storing for more than several days in the fridge, use a light vinegar wash: 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water. It will preserve the berries for twice as long.
Carol Warren and Dale Whitehead
Boyd Mill Farm