Honoring the Past while preparing for the future of the Orchard.
Breeden’s Orchard is located about 30 minutes east of Nashville atop a hill in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee. Marynell and Tommy Breeden owned and operated the orchard for the first 45 years. They grew peaches and apples, held school trips, pressed cider, and Miss Marynell fried and baked her pies. In the 2010 decade, the orchard got to be a bit much for a man and wife in their 70’s to handle and keep up with. In December of 2017, the orchard ownership changed hands when the Dorfman family bought it.
Never having tasted a fried pie or run an orchard, it seemed like a perfectly natural fit for a family with over 90 combined years of experience in the comedy club business.
There is a lot to learn and a lot to do. Mistakes and successes to be reviewed to help us prep for the future of the orchard. This fall we will undertake a solar project by adding solar panels to the roof of the store. This winter we will start our re-planting of the orchard. The trees on the orchard range in age of 20 to 35 years and should be replanted every 15 to 17 years. You will notice that we have cleared out the trees on a 3-acre parcel of the orchard. We are excited about the new varieties of peach and apple trees that we will be introducing to the orchard. Sure, it will take about 4 to 5 years before we can taste one of their fruits, but we can all watch the trees grow and hopefully flourish.
We also plan to break ground on the Barn at Breeden’s Orchard this winter. The Barn will be a boutique event barn to be utilized for smaller weddings and corporate events as well as space for local businesses to hold yoga, meditation, workout, or craft classes. It will be perfect for school trips, birthday and holiday parties. Adding a commercial kitchen to our space will open up a community-style kitchen available for rent to local food truck companies, chefs, and caterers.
While this season we are really just getting our feet wet, next season we will host a weekly farmer’s market, introduce more baked goods, including sweet and savory hand pies, house-made breads, bacon, sausage, and other goods.
This summer has taught us a lot about you. You all love your fried pies! You love white peaches, Red Havens and Elbertas. You all can’t wait for You Pick to be back (well, neither can we). We learned that Tennessee peaches are pretty dang awesome and that each peach variety has its own delicious taste. We learned that Mother Nature is not to be trifled with. We learned not to let the husband just go out and plant pumpkins with wild abandon.
While we continue to learn, grow, and evolve we hope you will enjoy taking this ride with us.
Flash forward to 2020… We’ve learned so much in 3 short years.
Our Solar project is complete, This summer please stop by to see our visual display about the project and the generation of solar energy. We owe a big thank you to Lightwave Solar for all their help and guidance in putting together the display.
The event barn has been nixed as a project. We would have had to sacrifice a whole grove of peach trees to create a septic field and that was not an option for us. In an orchard, trees trump all.
Our kitchen is tiny but strong. We cranked out close to 4000 fried pies last year along with many other baked goodies. We dove into bars, cookies, quick bread, pies and will continue to grow that part of the operation.
We hosted a farm to table dinner with Edible and have been home to Mr. Aaron’s and his delicious fresh pasta.
We have had 6 baby cows and countless baby goats. The goats are for fun, because who doesn’t need some goat love after a long day. The cows, like the peach and apple trees, are going to be a constant source of learning for us.
We had a great time doing our first few field trips last fall. We appreciate all the schools that were our guinea pigs. We learned and improved from each of the trips and our apple season field trips are a lot of fun. We are currently working on a pollinator field trip and a life on the orchard field trip. Ideally, we would like to have 3 options for K thru 5-grade students.
This summer we plan to introduce some new activities for the kids that visit. We will continue to work with local farmers and vendors to bring the freshest fruits and vegetables.
Late 2020 will bring a planting of the 4th grove, the one you see as drive up the drive.
Update April 2020
Well, that was then and this is now… April 29th at 3:30 AM I got that punch to the stomach when the doorbell rang in the middle of the night. Of course, it was bad news… but since my mind went to a very dark place, to hear that the orchard was on fire was actually a step up. I told my husband on the ride to the orchard that as long as we had peaches on the trees we would be ok.
Fire is the great neutralizer. You see it in the movies and in pictures, but when it’s yours, you understand that on a whole different level. It took Chad’s work of heart and charred, bent, and reduced it to soot. Telling Chad, Max and Wendy were going to be the hardest part. I broke them that day. Chad put everything into that building. Max loves the orchard like I didn’t know that anyone but me could. And Wendy, who we bullied into leaving layabout status, well… she cried. Side note… I am the one who cries.. not Wendy. Wendy is strong, fierce, and powerful.
Later that day we cried with Miss Marynell, Michelle, and Aspen. It may be our place now but it was theirs first and it still bears their name.
The next morning, I sat in the parking lot and started to build my vision of the future of the orchard and my playlist. I mean it is Nashville, right, so we need the right songs. Our vision for the future includes all of you.
All the plans, all the work, all the lists for 2020… up in smoke.
So, just like when your mind starts to wander while meditating. We begin again.
So, 2020, we call your bluff. We’re upping the stakes. We got this. You just watch.