Every meal at Blackberry Farm starts with a bounty of fresh, organic ingredients that are grown and raised on site. Come explore farm-to-table dining at its finest.“The idea of farm-to-table cuisine is timeless — our ancestors ate this way long before we started talking about it,” says Sam Beall, proprietor of Blackberry Farm, a Relais & Châteaux property sited on 9,200 acres in the Great Smoky Mountains of eastern Tennessee. “Today, it’s more about people being conscious of what they put into their bodies.”
Sam represents the second generation of Bealls to run the estate, which has established itself as an award-winning epicurean destination that produces as well as prepares delicious food. Gardeners John Coykendall and Jeff Ross cultivate a staggering range of heirloom produce, beehives yield fresh wildflower honey, three heritage breeds of chickens provide fresh eggs, and the milk from East Friesian sheep serves as the fundamental ingredient for artisanal cheeses crafted by Dustin Busby. Using this sustainably harvested bounty, chefs Joseph Lenn and Josh Feathers express each ingredient’s essential flavor with a straightforward Southern cooking style that has been dubbed Foothills Cuisine. “Both chefs are from Tennessee, and this is what their mommas cooked for them,” explains Beall, who underscores the farm’s deeply rooted Southern character and its community of passionate professionals. “Blackberry is not about one person, owner, or chef, but a team of artisans — gardeners, cheese makers, a butcher, and others.”
Photos on these two pages: China rose winter radishes are one of several heirloom varieties that are harvested from the property’s gardens.
Rock away the afternoon on the main house lawn.
Sumac-dusted bison with chanterelle mushrooms, beets, spinach, and hazelnuts offers a taste of autumn.
Weekly Garden Dinners, held during the height of the growing season, offer an opportunity to meet the gardeners while dining al fresco.
Flavorful fresh eggs (top, right) are collected from mobile coops that house Delaware, Speckled Sussex, and Partridge Rock chickens, which roam free and feed on a varied diet, including garden pests.
Guests are invited to get their hands dirty working in the garden with John Coykendall and Jeff Ross or milking the estate’s flock of East Friesian sheep (left). “You can be a part of the experience,” says Beall, “and perhaps return home stimulated and inspired.”
Cheese maker Dustin Busby uses fresh sheep’s milk to produce an array of seasonal cheeses (right) — like rich and tangy Brebis, buttery Singing Brook, and pungent, aged Blackberry Blue.
Shitake mushrooms (bottom) are cultivated on the farm, while morels, chanterelles, and black trumpets are foraged for in the woods.