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MOOve on Over to Nash Family Creamery

Photo courtesy of Bree Fabbie

Calves stick their heads out of their pens, hoping to find a finger to suck on or a hand to pet their fluff.  


“Moooooooo!” echoes through the barn as the calves start to find their voices at just a few weeks old. 


Small children, with their parents following closely behind, eagerly climb on a wagon being pulled by a typical green John Deere tractor for the first tour of the day.  


A man sits at a wood picnic table shaded from the bright spring sun by a red umbrella.  


He’s got the look of a small country town boy you’d see starring in a Hallmark movie, sporting a T-shirt with a Columbia windbreaker over top, jeans, cowboy boots and a ballcap.  


Oh, and he drives a truck.  


Cody Nash, fourth generation dairy farmer and owner of Nash Family Creamery, opened the creamery in 2020 and began offering farm tours to educate whoever stops by. 


“Most people don’t know what a dairy farm looks like. They have no idea how milk is produced or anything like that, so it’s really eye opening, I feel like, to a lot of people,” said Nash. “And to some people it’s really nostalgic cause there’s a good chunk of people in Tennessee that a generation back or two have some sort of farming roots. So, it’s kind of cool for those people to see what agriculture looks like now versus what their grandfather typically farmed like.”  


The creamery and café are in a building that would pass for a barn in a picture book, but inside it smells much better than one full of animals.  


Country music and small talk fill the small café as people try to pick from the 20 different flavors of fresh ice cream and all things cheese. 


The dairy products are made in-house using the milk from the farm farther back on the property.  


The heart behind the farm – the people and the cows – haven’t always been in Tennessee though. 


Nash’s great grandparents started from scratch in central California in 1929.  


“My grandfather then took it over and took it up to like 200 cows, but then he got sick pretty early on. So, my dad came back from college, I think like his junior year and just started runnin’ the thing,” said Nash. “It was either that or the place was gonna get sold.”  


But due to stricter laws and regulations California put in place in the early 2000s, the dairy industry out West started to go South, literally.  


“We looked all over the U.S. growin’ up. We’d go to Texas, we’d go to Arizona, we’d go to Missouri, Kentucky, just all over the place, and then finally found this farm,” said Nash. 


The Nash’s settled on about 500 acres in Chapel Hill, Tennessee on what was previously a Tennessee walking horse farm. 


“He bought it, built nearly everything from scratch, everything that’s like dairy related back there, those were built out here while he was also running the dairy out in California. So, he had like two dairies running at the same time across the country which is kind of crazy,” said Nash. “I was just a senior in high school, so I wasn’t worth much, but kudos for him for pulling that off.”  


After the barns in Tennessee were built and ready, the move began.  


It was a yearlong process to move from California to Tennessee. Around 1,800 head of cattle, farm equipment and some employees made the trip. 


“For tax purposes you had to do the same thing within six months. So, he built a portion of the dairy in six months, and we milked on Christmas day 2013,” said Nash. “It was a very cold Christmas that year, it was like zero degrees, only a couple times it's been that cold since.”  


Stephanie Nash is a younger blonde version of her brother, wearing boots, athletic shorts and a blue oversized Nash Family Creamery crewneck.  


She does the tour side of the dairy farm to educate younger and older generations alike.  


“We milk about 1,200 cows right now. We do a lot of artificial insemination. We’re big on genetics,” she said. “We have two breeds of cattle. We have Holsteins, which are the black and white ones, and then the brown ones, Jerseys. We have the largest of the dairy herd and the shortest of the dairy herd.”  


If anyone is an expert on the cows, it’s Stephanie.  


She spends most of her time with them and is a passionate advocate on social media for farmers and agriculture.  


“I’ve been raising babies with Mr. Max. He worked for my grandpa in California. Him and Mrs. Max are 95 and 96. He really taught me how to manage calves, how to make sure they’re good and healthy for the next generation,” said Stephanie Nash. “A lot of people don’t understand this, but again these cows are not your beef and your filet mignon and all of that. They’re not out in the fields eating grass. These are dairy cows.”  


All the cows at the Nash family dairy farm wear collars around their neck that function almost like a Fitbit.  

They track the cows' heart rate, food intake and more to make sure they are healthy and ready to milk. 


The tour opens visitors’ eyes to the milking process, how cows are taken care of and everyone’s favorite part: the babies. 


David Fields had been begging his family to take him on the tour ever since they went without him earlier in the year.  


Fields is an older man wearing a plain T-shirt and shorts with a tattoo covering most of his left leg and just as curious as some of the kids on the tour, including his 3-year-old granddaughter.  


“I grew up milking cows on a small, small farm and, so I’m a big proponent of the industry and just the animals,” said Fields.  


Tours of the farm are not only given for family fun but to educate the public in a hands-on way.  

“One of the reasons I wanted to come was for our kids and their kids. I want them to see the experience. So, we’re starting to do the Tennessee farm life with chickens and now I might have to get cows myself,” said Fields.  


Cody Nash closes his eyes and takes a breath as he thinks back to being little and checking the cows at sunrise with his dad and hanging out with his grandpa at the weigh station.  


Now, he gets to carry on those legacies through the dairy farm as it turns 95 this year and attracts new minds to agriculture through the creamery and tours.  


“There’s a tractor!” a kid screams as he jumps out of his car, dust flying up around him.  


The first tour is back, and it is time for the second group to climb on and see behind the scenes. 


The calves patiently wait for the next group of friendly voices to enter the barn so they can have more fingers to suck on and all the attention before they grow up and move to the other side of the farm to be milked. 


This article was written by Bree Fabbie

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