Beth and her husband Terry, a retired dentist, live on acreage in the Lindale area, and are actively farming three acres, close to their home. But they're doing it in a rather special way. They've enlisted the help of Tyler Cullender, a young man with a PhD in microbiology from Cornell University, and they are working together with him on sustainable, regenerative techniques of raising food for local families, as well as for their own. They use horse and cattle manure, fish emulsion, and compost to fertilize their plants, and use drip-tape irrigation so as not to lose water to evaporation. The techniques they use mean that their produce is organic and non-genetically modified, which is good for the earth, and good for those who eat it.
Beth came by her love of plants and gardening rightfully. Her father was a certified Master Gardener, teaching alongside Neil Sperry and Howard Garrett across the state. Beth began learning about plants even then, and now has a deep love not only for plants that produce food, but for flowers and trees, as well. She was brought almost to tears several times as she gave me the tour of her little farm.
Beth nearly cried, for example, telling me about the plant that played a small part in the love story between her husband and herself. It's called "American Beautyberry," which is a native perennial plant found in forested areas.
Beth said she was still unsure if a second marriage was a good idea after years of being a single mom. One day, though, Terry took Beth for a walk on his family's land. The land had been home to a lovely bed and breakfast for awhile, and had a nature trail to enjoy.
On their walk, Terry saw Beth admiring the berry-covered beautyberry plant, and he told her it was a common weed. Beth disagreed that such a lovely plant was a weed, and quoted from Emerson, "A weed is but a plant whose virtue is yet unknown." They laughed and continued on their walk.
As they strolled along the path, Beth noticed white hearts, cut out from pieces of wood and decorated with quotes, hanging from the tree branches. Beth and Terry stopped to look at one of them. It was painted with the quote, "A weed is but a plant whose virtue is yet unknown."
Beth said that was when she knew that life with Terry was going to be good on that piece of land. The abundant plants, fruits and vegetables growing happily there now seem to prove that is has been a great undertaking, as they care for the earth and care for each other on Beth's Little Farm.
Make sure to visit Beth, Terry and Tyler when they bring their delicious produce to downtown Lindale each Tuesday and Saturday.
They are located in the Fatt Apple storefront across from The Pink Pistol on Highway 69, next to Victor's Music Exchange.
You can also visit the farm's Facebook page here. The farm has its own website, too, Bethslittlefarmmarket.com.
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