For the Nash Family, the green, green grass of home is a 500-acre farm north of Shelbyville, Tennessee. Howev- er, it wasn’t always that way. The story of Nash Family Farms began over nine decades ago on a small farm in central California. It was there that Wallace and Ida Nash, along with their three young children, started a little side business selling extra milk from their cows. As many a farming story goes, the business fell on hard times. Three years later, the cows perished due to an illness. So what did the young family do? They began again, in the middle of the Great Depression. Their resilience and perseverance paid off. Four generations later, the fruits of their labor have grown into a full-scale dairy operation that currently includes approximately 1,800 cows.
My Tennessee Home
In 2013, due to falling market prices, lack of water, and increased cost of doing business in California, the Nash family decided to make the big move to greener pas- tures. Today, the 90-plus-year family legacy continues to thrive in its Tennessee home. Climate-controlled barns, equipped with misters and fans, comfortably house the dairy cattle. Spring and fall crops provide much of the high-quality feed that keeps the herd happy and healthy. The result is delicious and nutritious milk.
ody Nash is the 4th generation to carry on the family tradition. Working together with his wife, Kara; his sister, Stephanie; and his mom and dad, Terry and Steve, the family keeps the day-to-day operation running smoothly with the help of more than twenty employees. Through the years, there have been several bovine stars who were extra special. Some have taken the spotlight at county fairs and livestock shows and even brought home a blue ribbon or two. There was Miracle, a sweet Jersey heifer, and a Brown Swiss named Belle. Today, the big brown eyes of Belle’s daughter Maple might beckon you to get a little closer. “Everyone knows her. She’ll let you walk up to her and pet her,” Cody says.
In 2020, Cody expanded the family business to include a creamery. “This is our first step of making a product from dairy farming that people can enjoy directly,” Cody says. The Nash Family Creamery sells handcrafted ice cream and will begin selling its cheese, both made at the cream- ery, sometime this summer. In the summer months, they will have a specially selected super-sweet variety of corn available. The store also stocks products from other area farms, including meats from Potts Meat Processing in Wartrace; beef from Pleasant Valley Farms in Shelbyville; honey from TruBee Honey in Eagleville; barbecue, and hot sauces from Captain Rodney’s of Lewisburg; and fruit cider from Morning Glory Orchard in Nolensville.
The Art and Science of Ice Cream
So what’s the secret of the incredibly creamy ice cream at Nash Family Creamery? The process of making the ice cream starts with a high butterfat sweet cream. “We make it 5 gal- lons at a time using high-quality ingredients and lots of natural flavors. The process is stream- lined to get the ice cream to an extremely cold temperature to preserve the smoothness and creaminess of the ice cream,” Cody explains. From there, he adds special ingredients to create 20 delicious artisan flavors, including Buttered Pecan; Minty Chocolate Swirl; Cookies & Cream; Strawberry Swirl; Southern Pecan Pie; and more. The Premium Homemade Vanilla and Chocolate Brownie Batter rank at the top as best sellers. And if you can’t make up your mind and want to try it all, there’s the Cow Trough — a jumbo-sized sundae with seven scoops of ice cream, four house-baked cookies, hot fudge, marshmallow topping, and whipped cream. Take-home ice cream is also available in pints and half gallons. Cody shares that 8 oz cups of ice cream, with spoons included under the lid, will soon be available at farmers markets and festivals in Middle Tennessee. You will also be able to purchase them at several retail locations in the area, along with Nash Family Creamery cheese.
The Nash Family is currently working on adding farm tours and experiences for guests, clubs, and schools to enjoy. In the meantime, visitors can enjoy the picturesque views from the creamery. For the Nash Family, farming is a way of life built on family heritage and sustained with modern technology. “Al- most every single dairy farm has a family that runs it. It’s not just milking cows. It’s growing the feed for them and getting the milk to market. There’s a lot that goes into it,” Cody says. -GN