Rushy Springs Farm’s first season was 2004, but it was established on the back of a lifetime of experience. It began as a diversified chemical free vegetable, herb, greens, and fruit producer. However, year by year, economic imperatives have forced specialization. Currently, production is concentrated in high quality garlic, a few carefully chosen heirloom tomato varieties, and over two dozen exceptional chilies that cover an extensive array of flavor and heat variations. In addition to selling fresh chilies, primarily at the Knoxville, TN Market Square Farmer’s Market and high end restaurants there, they are transformed into world class salt brine fermentation chile sauces as well as dried whole chilies and single variety gourmet chile powders. Rushy Springs Farm attempts to model all improvements along the lines of biodynamic, permaculture, devic, and other quantum technologies.
The centerpiece of Rushy Springs Farm’s unusual chile collection is one that is so unusual that, in fact, it is unique. It came here as a purchased plant that turned out to be a recessive gene hybrid. Fortunately, something inside Tennessee Jim must have been expecting and waiting for this gift to arrive. For, not having any experience with the variety he thought that he had purchased, he had no reason to believe that the plant was anything other than an open pollinated heirloom. All he knew for sure was that it was the best chile he had ever tasted. But, not only did he save seed, but he potted the plant and prepared to keep it alive through the winter. During the winter he rooted some clones. Then there were four. The fruit are the size and shape of wild cherries and have a similar texture. So they were christened Tennessee Cherry Chile. And so it goes……
Now there are three greenhouses, two built over beds of Tennessee Cherry Chile plants (one bed will see its third season in 2013, the other its second). I have some great citrus trees that also need protection. Whatever room is left is crammed full of chile plant; not only the green houses, but Tennessee Jim’s front porch and bedroom as well. Among these are three more exclusive Rushy Springs Farm exclusives; Tennessee Cherry Chile, Jr (from Tennessee Cherry Chile seed), Aji Tennessee, and Aji Canario.
It is quite a struggle to keep these emerging cultivars from disappearing. It would be so under the best of circumstances. But this decade has seen the most extreme weather ever recorded here (as in most places). This has created an epic struggle. And even under the best of circumstances Rushy Springs Farm has always suffered from a lack of help. Extreme circumstances has made this shortcoming critical.
Anyone interested in participating in a heroic struggle should consider getting involved. For anyone with vision should be able to see that the trip is not without rewards at the end of the rainbow, both experiential and financial. Tennessee Jim is constantly on the lookout for competent, committed help either as hired labor, bartered labor, volunteer labor, or intern.