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Lebanon, TN, 37090

615.444.9490

We are a farmer owned, grass based, sustainable small farm in Wilson County, Tennessee. We offer Farmstead Milk Soaps and Herbal Lip Salves through our online farm shop, and pastured heritage meats, eggs, and artisan cheeses to our local community.

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A Season Of Cheese

Little Seed Farm

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As hard as it is to believe, after 37 weeks and 22 different cheeses, our first full season of milking and cheesemaking for our herd-share has come to a close. What a season it was! Finally, after years of planning and preparation, we started to live our dream of providing local and sustainable food to our community. It has been incredibly fulfilling and we are so thankful for our amazing herd-share members who decided to jump on board and give us a chance. We'll be back at it in May and can't wait! 

In the meantime, our lady goats are pregnant and taking a little vacation before their due dates at the end of April and we, the farmers, are taking a little break as well! There are still chores to do - everyone needs to be fed, watered, and moved to fresh forage, but our milking routine has slowed from machine milking 6 does twice a day to handmilking one goat (Mayday) once a day (we've been spoiled and can't give up our fresh milk and cheese!). This is giving us a little extra time to take a deep breath and prepare for next season. We'll be expanding our milking herd which means we'll be able to accept new members! If you are interested and would like more information let us know! You can reach us at farmer@littleseedfarm.com.

Here's a little (er... well, large) recap of the cheeses our herd-share members enjoyed to tide you over 'til the milk flows again.

- Eileen

BOSKO - an aged bloomy with crushed juniper berries, rosemary, and fennel seeds 

BOSKO - an aged bloomy with crushed juniper berries, rosemary, and fennel seeds 

RED CHILE CHEVRE

RED CHILE CHEVRE

CRESCENZA

CRESCENZA

CALIMA - our goat's milk brie style cheese

CALIMA - our goat's milk brie style cheese

ROSEMARY FIG CHEVRE SPREAD

ROSEMARY FIG CHEVRE SPREAD

CAMEO

CAMEO

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RICOTTA

RICOTTA

RUBY - honey infused chèvre round, studded with cranberries

RUBY - honey infused chèvre round, studded with cranberries

CURDS! - raw goat's milk cheddar curds

CURDS! - raw goat's milk cheddar curds

FIGATA - a soft cheese, aged wrapped in whiskey macerated fig leaves

FIGATA - a soft cheese, aged wrapped in whiskey macerated fig leaves

CARRERA - aged bloomy with ash line

CARRERA - aged bloomy with ash line

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FRESH CHEVRE

FRESH CHEVRE

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VINE 

VINE 

SKYR - Icelandic style yogurt

SKYR - Icelandic style yogurt

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QUARK

QUARK

WINTER'S WALK

WINTER'S WALK

Blue Eggs & Eileen

Little Seed Farm

Among the more exciting aspects of moving to our farm last spring was the prospect of having our own blue eggs. At least for Eileen it was. She was obsessed with the Araucana breed of chicken that is known to lay beautiful, pastel blue eggs. Within the first week of moving to Little Seed Farm we were on the hunt for local breeders that had an Araucana laying hen.

It’s quite easy to find young chicks that six months later will grow into adult laying hens and lay their first egg, but six months seemed like a lifetime to wait. We needed an actively laying bird, and we needed one now.

After much hunting, we found a farm about an hour and a half away that had ONE left. Despite not yet having unpacked 99% of our boxes, or really done much in the way of preparing for our first chickens, we were off to the races. Our new blue egg layer would need some friends, and we also wanted to pick up a few guineas to help control the abundant tick population upon whose turf we had encroached, so we loaded up our dog crate in the Subaru and head out to get us some birds.

To say this lady’s poultry farm was a bit “redneck” would be an understatement, but hey, she had the blue egg layer we needed and a few guinea hens to boot. We picked out the birds we wanted and off her son and daughter went with a huge net to hunt them down. Once they were bagged, we headed home to the sound of guineas screeching, a sound we would become all too familiar with over the ensuing months.

When we arrived home we unleashed the birds into their coop area and watched them attentively for an absurd amount of time. I love thinking about those days when we got our first animals. It was like being a kid again. Such awe and amazement. I think we half-expected the Aracauna to plop out a blue egg right in front of our faces, but she didn’t, so we waited. We waited, and we waited. As a matter of fact, we’re still waiting. That’s right. A year and a half later she has yet to produce a SINGLE egg. Heck, I’d be happy with a white egg at this point.

We knew she was a bust after a few months, but by that point we already had a big enough chicken flock to keep us in eggs and we were so busy with the goats, pigs, cows, etc than spending a day or two hunting down a singular Araucana just wasn’t in the cards. Blue eggs would have to wait.

And then came our opportunity. A few months ago we were looking to expand our egg laying flock and we had some friends hoping to unload a few of their chickens. These chickens happened to be of the blue egg laying variety. They only wanted to give up one blue egg layer, but that was fine with us. I brought her home and put her with the other layers and we waited. We waited, and waited. And then she laid a brown egg. Dang it! At this point it was pretty hilarious and we resigned ourselves to a life without blue eggs.

But escape the blue eggs we could not. Another friend had a handful of “Easter Eggers” he was looking to sell. He claimed that some would lay blue, some would lay beige, and so if we bought 5 or 6 we’d be certain to get at least one blue egg layer.

Then on one fateful morning, after waiting for a glorious blue egg to appear in the nesting boxes, it did. Eileen had her blue egg, finally.

 - James

DIY Natural & Talc Free Healing Baby Powder (Dusting Powder & Dry Shampoo Too!)

Little Seed Farm

The easy peasy, pure & soothing baby powder I made last night.

The easy peasy, pure & soothing baby powder I made last night.

It's official, I'm "nesting"! I've entered this interesting stage in my pregnancy, the final stretch, where all I can think about and all I want to do is prepare for our baby's arrival. While with most women this stage involves massive amounts of cleaning, for me (unfortunately for James)  it means an obsessive unending stream of creative projects!

If babies like checker board patterns they should totally get off on Mondrian, right? Right?!?!!! (sigh)

If babies like checker board patterns they should totally get off on Mondrian, right? Right?!?!!! (sigh)

They range from the borderline absurd (see modernist infant visual stimulation cards above) to the useful and enjoyable - a mobile and goat art (duh) for the nursery, flannel burp cloths and wipes, a ring sling for babywearing, and natural baby skincare.

We plan on using our Farmstead Milk Soap when bathing our babe after lots of great feedback from happy parent customers (apparently it also removes poop and puke stains from fabric - good to know!), but hadn't thought much about other baby care products until recently. After some research, I decided to add baby powder and a diaper cream to my project list.

DIY Talc Free Baby Powder

Why talc free? There is some controversy regarding the safety of talcum powder. Back in the day, it contained asbestos (a known carcinogen), but from the 70's forward, all talc used in bath and body products in the US is asbestos free. So what's the issue? Some believe that even the asbestos free talc is carcinogenic and studies have been unable to prove otherwise.  Bits from the American' Cancer Society's page "Talcum Powder and Cancer" like this:

A few expert agencies have evaluated the cancer-causing nature of talc.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is part of the World Health Organization (WHO). Its major goal is to identify causes of cancer.

  • IARC classifies talc that contains asbestos as "carcinogenic to humans".
  • Based on the lack of data from human studies and on limited data in lab animal studies, IARC classifies talc notcontaining asbestos as "not classifiable as to carcinogenicity in humans".
  • Based on limited evidence from human studies, IARC classifies the perineal (genital) use of talc-based body powder as "possibly carcinogenic to humans".

and this:

It is not clear if consumer products containing talcum powder increase cancer risk. Studies of personal use of talcum powder have had mixed results, although there is some suggestion of a possible increase in ovarian cancer risk. There is very little evidence at this time that any other forms of cancer are linked with consumer use of talcum powder.

Until more information is available, people concerned about using talcum powder may want to avoid or limit their use of consumer products that contain it. For example, they may want to consider using cornstarch-based cosmetic products instead. There is no evidence at this time linking cornstarch powders with any form of cancer.

made me think that it might not be a bad idea to look into alternatives. As for cornstarch, it's a great talc replacement as long as your baby doesn't develop a yeast diaper rash (apparently relatively common) in which case you're actually feeding the yeast with the corn starch. Also, the majority of corn starch used in baby powders are going to be from corn that was conventionally grown with pesticide use and is genetically modified.   

Enter healing clay! Bentonite is a clay formed from the weathering of volcanic ash and is rich in minerals. It is silky smooth and non irritating as well as highly absorbent. It is purported to aid in healing all sorts of skin ailments - everything from acne to eczema - including diaper rash. 

This couldn't be a faster or easier project! You can use the bentonite clay powder straight up as is, or you can infuse it with essential oils**. You'll only need 5 drops of oils to 1/2 c of clay powder. I chose to use lavender because of its antiviral properties and soothing scent. Simply put your clay into a ceramic or glass mixing bowl, disperse the essential oil over the surface of the powder and mix with a spoon until thoroughly incorporated. Once mixed you can put into a powder shaker and you're ready to go! You can easily make your own container by drilling holes into the lid of a vitamin bottle, or repurpose an empty spice jar. 

This powder isn't just for babies! You can use it as a dry shampoo or body powder to keep dry on these sticky summer days. 

Hope you and your little one enjoy!

- Eileen

**Please note: Some people are opposed to using essential oils when caring for children and babies. I've found that most popular natural baby skincare lines use them safely and successfully for their healing and sensory qualities and have chosen to do so as well. This is something for you to research yourself and decide what is best for you and your baby.

 

Raw Milk Cheese From Little Seed

Little Seed Farm

Our raw goat's milk brie style cheese - Calima.

Our raw goat's milk brie style cheese - Calima.

Many of you have probably seen photos of our cheese and ramblings about a "cheese herd-share" or a "cheese CSA" on Facebook or Instagram and wondered what was going on. Well, let us fill you in, because it's been a huge leap for us this year and we just realized that we never posted about it on the blog!

my "office" has the best view

my "office" has the best view

Last fall our family started helping us with what turned into a pivotal project for the farm: renovating the "old barn" - transforming a dilapidated, brown recluse infested, dairy barn from the 70's into something we could actually use. Over the course of the winter my Step-Dad and Grandpa helped us create a larger space for milking as well as sanitary rooms for handling milk, cleaning equipment, and making cheese. It was a fun and special time that we'll never forget - weeks of family dinners and the satisfaction building something lasting together. A time that deserves it's own blog post! We ended up with a space that exceeded our expectations in every way and has allowed us to make our cheese available to our community - a dream come true. 

In early May, not really knowing what to expect, we launched a raw milk cheese herd-share where members of the herd-share receive a portion of the herd's milk production as cheese each week. The members are actually co-owners of the goat herd. We have had an overwhelming response and are now delivering cheese to members in West Nashville, Donelson, and Murfreesboro.

Ruby - our cranberry chèvre with a touch of honey and cinnamon

Ruby - our cranberry chèvre with a touch of honey and cinnamon

Each week our members get an email telling them what their cheese of the week will be along with recipe ideas, pairings, a little bit about how the cheese was made and its history. Making such a wide variety of cheeses has been exhilarating. I love discovering the cheeses that really bring out the special qualities in our milk and the challenge of finding new ideas feeds my creative nature. Since starting distribution in May we've made everything from more well known cheeses like feta and brie to more exotic offerings like haloumi and crescenza. It has been fun to share the cheese love with our community - my secret wish is to turn our members into certifiable "curd nerds" and I think I may well be making some progress! 

Skyr, our icelandic style, extra thick yogurt.

Skyr, our icelandic style, extra thick yogurt.

In addition, the herd-share format makes everything much more personal, which we've really enjoyed. All of our co-goat-owners are amazing people and we've been so lucky to meet such an incredible group of people. It's nice to be more and more a part of the community as we go along and we couldn't ask for a more welcoming bunch!

- Eileen

 

Combining the Herd

Little Seed Farm

Walking the herd back to pasture for the first time.

About a week ago we decided to combine the baby goat herd with the big goat herd. For the past 16 weeks the babies were managed separately as we slowly weaned them off milk and transitioned them to a grassfed diet. Most farms would wean the baby goats onto grain and hay, or a combination of grain and pasture. We decided to go straight to 100% pasture. All of our goats that are not being milked are entirely grassfed. This is possible because of our rotational grazing system.

We've found that purely grassfed goats thrive in our grazing system and maintain incredible health and body condition. Thus far the baby goats are exhibiting that dynamic. All of them look fatter and healthier than they ever did before. I love seeing a baby goat rumen at work, they look like little UFOs.

Their final meal together on the suck bucket

Combining the herd is a big deal since we rely on the goats to walk and follow us for literally miles of completely open pasture. In preparation for incorporating the goat babies into our system, I rotationally grazed them for a few weeks on their own. They did great and I knew they were ready to be combined with the big girls.

The little doelings get picked on a little a bit, but for the most part they get along fine. After a week they pretty much have the routine down and in a few more weeks it will be seamless, as it was previously.

They grow up fast those little hellions. 

-James