By REBECCA HAZEN
Rising Fawn Gardens is dedicated to sharing land with others through education, wellness, and sustainability.
The 600 acre property in Rising Fawn, which has both Lookout Mountain and Lookout Creek as boundaries, is owned by Karen and Steve Persinger.
The Persingers bought the property in 2007. At the time, they both had full-time jobs, so they would just come down to the land to take care of it.
“Eventually we started farming and we had a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) for a few years,” Karen Persinger said.
Now, they only grow enough vegetables for themselves, and to give some away to others. In 2013, they started growing turmeric and ginger.
“The turmeric was happenstance,” Persinger said. “Our son was at Auburn at the time, and he was studying agriculture communications. He was working part-time and they had a turmeric study going on. He brought some home and he said, “You ought to try these.’”
They have been growing turmeric ever since. They average about 600 pounds a year, and sell partially wholesale to some fermenting companies in Nashville and local juicers like Southern Squeeze in Chattanooga.
They also process the turmeric, dehydrate it, and make their own ground powder, spice blend, and tea blends.
They started growing ginger soon after they realized that the turmeric was successful. The ginger is primarily sold as a tea blend.
“Part of our mission is to share what we do,” Persinger said.
Three years ago, Persinger went through an herbal medicine introductory course.
“I fell in love with herbalism and wanted to grow more plants that we could incorporate into our lives and in our diets naturally,” Persinger said.
Now, Rising Farm Gardens has a medicinal garden, which has the plants that the tea blends are produced from. Everything is organic.
Persinger says that her favorites for daily use are tulsi, also known as holy basil, lemon verbena, and hibiscus.
People are invited to come to the medicinal garden for visits, and for workshop events, which have been scaled back during the pandemic.
A recent workshop that they held was “The Pollinator Project,” where guests walked through the garden and identified plants that were good for pollinators.
“We talked about how we can put more plants out to support pollinators at our homes. We all have an opportunity to do that. I am always glad when we can introduce people to experts that can teach us things,” Persinger said.
There will be two upcoming medicinal garden tours this fall, one on Sept. 10 and one in October. The tours can be registered for online at risingfawngardens.com.
“When people come on tours, we invite people to touch, taste and smell,” Persinger said.
Rising Fawn Garden’s tea and spice blends can be purchased online at risingfawngardens.com.
There is a small amount of items available for purchase during workshops and retreats.
“If anyone ever calls and wants to pick up an item, we are so happy to do that,” Persinger said.
Rising Fawn Gardens also has a retreat house, which they call the Yoga House. It was built in 2016, and it is rented out for workshops and retreats.
“I started practicing yoga over 20 years ago. I went through a teacher training, and taught for quite a few years. I decided that I wanted to share this land in a way. This is why the retreat house came to be,” Persinger said.
The Yoga House has a full kitchen, private sitting area, and wrap-around deck. The house includes one full bathroom as well as two half baths and a sleeping loft upstairs for guests who choose to stay the night.
Upcoming retreat events include a Mindfulness in Nature Meditation Retreat on Sept. 18, and Sacred Sound Morning Meditation with Ceremonial Cacao event on Oct. 2.
“We compost and we recycle here. We encourage our guests to follow that kind of regimen. We like to encourage that level of consciousness,” Persinger said.
There are also walking trails throughout the property. Visitors are welcome to walk the trails on Open Farm Days and other scheduled events throughout the year. The land is in a conservation easement so it is protected from development.
“We’re a hobby business. Really, the intention is to take care of the land and to find a way to share it,” Persinger said.
For more information about events, the gardens, the Yoga House, and the online store, visit risingfawngardens.com. They can also be found on Facebook and Instagram.