Jimmy Simpson told us early this Spring to wait on planting. “Knee high by July,” he said. “As long as we got it in by June 15, we’ll be fine.”
We were getting worried we were planting our organic corn late this year after seeing our neighbor’s corn knee high by June.
We’re trying not to count our ears before they’re harvested, but we’re pretty darn proud of our 14 feet tall organic open pollinated Trucker’s Pride corn. Not everyone is so lucky this year, so we’re counting our blessings instead. We have to admit it’s a combination of a little luck and old-timer’s wisdom.
To be perfectly honest with you, it’s actually our second planting this year in the same field after we discovered the first attempt in late May never put a single seed in the ground.
We found that out the hard way, but it made us miss the drought conditions that destroyed most of Tennessee’s corn crops. Better late than never, especially when you’re making moonshine. It also allowed us to use seed corn Jimmy had personally hand-selected and shelled for next year. His mules didn’t seem to mind the extra work either.
Sometimes people need a good reminder of how things used to be. We could speed things up with tractors or increase our yield with a few chemicals, but when it comes to making good whiskey, some things just can’t be rushed.
A good team of mules are hard workers. Sometimes they’re slow, sometimes stubborn, but dedicated to getting the job done.
This is the second year we’ve teamed up with the Middle Tennessee Mule Skinners Association to disc our organic corn fields. Twelve teams came out Saturday and helped make farming look easy. The field they disced will become the corn that makes our authentic Tennessee Moonshine.
If you missed this year’s discing, be sure to come to our grand opening Saturday April 21 for free mule wagon rides, tours and Moonshine tasting. You can also catch a performance by the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band. And if the timing is right, we’ll have a few bottles of Shine for you to take home a genuine taste of this unique Tennessee experience.
Video from our Spring Planting 2011 at Short Mountain Distillery.
Saturday morning April 14 starting around 10, bring the family and a couple of lawn chairs out to the distillery to watch us disc our organic corn fields with 12 mule teams from the Middle Tennessee Muleskinner’s Association.
We had so much fun discing the fields last Spring with mules that we decided to do it again this year. It might take a little longer to get done, but every thing about it just feels right to us. See y’all Saturday!
Bobby Self brought his combine and a couple of friends to the farm today and helped us shell about 300 bushels of our first organic corn. He had already finished his harvest, and like most neighbors he wanted to do what he could to help us get our first batches of whiskey and moonshine going at Short Mountain Distillery.
There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not humbled by how much people are connecting with what we’re doing on Short Mountain. They want to help because they want to see our country get back to work. They know we’ve gone out of our way to make sure our equipment was made by our friends and neighbors right here at home. They see our shared values and our determination in action. Most importantly, they see America’s story.
I want to invite you to connect with a growing community of neighbors and friends who are ready to help export to the world a genuine taste of Tennessee’s rich agricultural heritage. Join us on Facebook and be a part of our shared dreams and aspirations at Short Mountain Distillery.
John Whittemore steers the corn picker and gravity wagon to harvest. We’re harvesting our first seven acres of organic corn today and hoping to get at least 50-60 bushels of shelled corn per acre. The corn will be shelled and stored on site and later stone-milled at Still House #1.
Starting next year, the farm will plant 20 acres of rotational organic corn crops on the 300 acre farm while securing the rest of the distillery’s grain needs from local farmers. We’re aiming to complete our USDA Certified Organic process next summer to preserve the land and water for generations to come.
John Whittemore shares how organic and permaculture farm practices used by Short Mountain Distillery honor our agricultural heritage. You can hear the guys from the CO-OP putting together our grain bin in the back ground.
Short Mountain Distillery planted 7 acres of organic corn you see featured in this video. The test went very well, and John is busy planning 20 rotational acres of organic corn on Billy’s 300 acre farm for next year.
John Whittemore got the corn cultivated on what was likely the hottest day we’ve had so far. This is where our moonshine and whiskey are born, just like it has been on Short Mountain for well over 100 years.