Madison Creek Farms
Nestled in a rustic area just a few miles from Hendersonville is scenic Madison Creek Farms, located on Willis Branch Road in Goodlettsville. Owned by Mark and Peggy Marchetti, daughter of country music superstar Loretta Lynn, the homestead is a model for sustainable, organic farming in Sumner County. More than 6 acres of the 38-acre farm is dedicated to growing local vegetables, flowers and herbs, all using renewable agricultural methods.
The farm was originally purchased by Peggy’s father, Mooney Lynn, in 1960 and she and her twin sister, Patsy, were actually born there. After moving away for many years to pursue a songwriting and performing career, Peggy and her husband, Mark (also a songwriter), decided to move back to the homestead in 2000 to follow their dream of owning and operating a farm.
The Marchettis originally began farming by growing and selling flowers to area florists and retail stores. Ultimately, they grew their business until they were the largest specialty cut flower growers in Tennessee, selling hundreds of organically grown arrangements each week. However, their flower business took a significant downturn with the onset of the recession in 2008. To counter the loss of revenue, the Marchettis began growing organically grown produce and herbs. Several years later, they converted a portion of the farm into an outdoor event venue used to host weddings.
The continuing health of small, sustainable farms is extremely important to the Marchettis. According to Peggy, there are fewer than 30 small farms left between Sumner and Williamson counties.
“Smaller farms have lower operating and maintenance costs that make them more affordable,” she says. “However, they still have to be operated in a smart and efficient manner. One of the biggest keys to being sustainable is to figure out what your assets are, and to play to those.”
To counter this everything-available-all-the-time trend, Madison Creek and other small farms rely upon the time-honored values of superior products and outstanding customer experience.
“Our society has become impatient; we want, and we want. We want tomatoes and watermelons year-round, not just during their natural growing seasons. What we introduce here at the farm is the absolute pleasure of waiting. I promise our customers that the heirloom tomatoes that we grow will not taste anything like store-bought tomatoes. The extra flavor and nutrients in our produce are worth the wait.”
Along with their passion for small farms, the Marchettis are also champions for the use of renewable, organic farming methods that leave a positive impact on the environment. At Madison Creek, the Marchettis strive to use and reuse all aspects of their farm by operating in a self-supporting ecosystem.
“Any waste that we have is turned into our compost pile for next year,” she says. “We operate as a closed loop system. We do not use any outside inputs. For example, we do not buy any fertilizer. Our fertilizer is here with our chickens; their waste helps provide us with more compost, and they also produce eggs which we eat and which we sell.”
The farm also uses donkeys for grazing and as compost providers.
To increase the sustainability of their farm and to increase their involvement with the community, the Marchettis created a Community Supported Agriculture association in 2007 (see page 26).
“The little farms like Madison Creek introduce something different, they introduce the real world of farming,” Peggy says. “When you come out to our farm to get lettuce, the lettuce looks and feels different than lettuce in the store. It is still in the ground, and it is alive. Until you cut it, it is a living, breathing natural thing.”
Mark adds, “When we came to the farm, I learned that you have to build things from the soil up. There are spiritual, emotional and physical aspects to being a small farmer. The farming experience helps to build a strong sense of community that flows from your soil to your soul.”