Sequatchie Cove Farm & Creamery
Kelsey Keener, Farm Partner / Padgett Arnold, Creamery Co-Owner
Tell us a little bit about your farm and what you do. What got you into it?
KK: Sequatchie Cove Farm is 300 acres of land in the Sequatchie Valley. We raise organic produce, grass-fed beef, lamb, organic pasture-raised chicken, eggs, and pork. We have been in operation since 1999, and there are currently four generations living on the farm.
PA: My husband Nathan and I own and operate Sequatchie Cove Creamery, a farmstead creamery producing cow’s milk and cheeses on Sequatchie Cove Farm. We have been farming alongside the Keener family since about 2002. We are passionate about high-quality local food, seasonal food preparation and culture, and building community through our connection to food and farming.
Why do you think the farm-to-table concept is important?
PA: I believe in bringing about mindfulness and a closer connection to our food. Recognizing that connection while building communities and economic prosperity – whether it be through farming, food service and hospitality, or other means of engagement – is a key component of creating a better future. The farm-to-table concept easily meshes with this philosophy and has clearly made an impact on furthering this movement.
What’s the best part about working with local restaurants specifically?
KK: Working with restaurants is great because they can order more volume and are able to help spread the word to folks who may not know about us yet. We’ve even started partnering with some chefs to do on-farm meals, and we also sell to some local grocery stores.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face when it comes to running your business?
KK: Farming is tough. There are so many unpredictable variables, such as weather extremes, pests, predators, long hours, and seven-day workweeks. At the end of the day, it’s barely profitable, so you really have to love the lifestyle.
What are some of your favorite ways to eat foods you produce at your farm?
PA: It’s tough to narrow it down. My all-time favorite go-to snacking cheese is Shakerag Blue. It is amazing on its own or paired with dried cherries or fresh strawberries and a drizzle of balsamic. The cheese I use most for everyday cooking is the Cumberland. It has a nice level of acidity, similar to cheddar. It works really well for so many uses.