Grab your basket for picking blueberries and get ready for a fun-filled day. When your basket is full, have a Cajun meal. Listen to music, experience nature, and enjoy the irresistible scents of fresh blueberries, caramelized sugar, pie crust and cinnamon at the dessert baking contest. Dr. Deanna Naddy invites you to attend Highland Realm Blueberry Bash for a relaxing and fun-filled day. The event will offer blueberry picking, blueberry baking contest, vendors, food trucks, live music, and kids’ zone. The Blueberry Bash is a free event and is set for 3-8 p.m. Saturday, June 12, 4411 Hampshire Pike, Hampshire, Tennessee.
Highland Realm is a chemical-free blueberry farm, set on 200 acres of beautiful fields and woodlands, preserved through a conservation easement with the Tennessee Land Trust, according to Naddy. She believes land is sacred.
“Highland Realm has a rich history and even brighter future,” Naddy said. “I have three sons, 12 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. I live on a 200-acre farm in southern Middle Tennessee near the town of Hampshire. "I have a doctorate in nursing from the University of Alabama in Birmingham, and an extensive career in nursing and nursing education. I have a passion for health and natural healing modalities. I believe land is sacred and must be preserved.”
Naddy and her family purchased 153 acres of farmland in 1974 from a descendant of Samuel McClanahan, whose family owned the property since the early 1800s, according to Naddy.
The Naddy family raised their three sons on the farm. The family purchased 50 acres of clear fields and woodlands adjacent to the farm in 1985. Following a divorce in 1995, Naddy continued running the farm until she retired from a career in nursing education in 1999. At that time, she started a healing retreat center offering classes, as well as multiple alternative healing therapies, establishing Highland Realm.
“Healing the land became my passion, and in 2009, I turned to the farmland itself,” she said. “Armed with permaculture and carbon farming classes, plus many recommendations, I set out to create a more sustainable lifestyle.”
A field of 2,800 blueberry bushes became the farm’s foundation in 2010. Passionate about creating healthy land and lifestyle, Naddy knew blueberries are among the healthiest fruits in the world. They are rich in natural antioxidants and a good source of dietary fiber. Consuming blueberries also improves brain function and reduces inflammation, said Naddy.
“With that information, I had found something I wanted to do. Plus, it fit my nursing background,” Naddy said. “Growing blueberries wouldn’t require much additional equipment, and blueberries are one of the healthiest fruits on the market. They’re low in fat and sodium, have just 80 calories per cup, and contain a category of phytonutrients, called polyphenols. They are good for brain health. Blueberries are a good source of vitamin C and are high in manganese. Vitamin C is necessary for growth and development of tissues and promotes wound healing. Manganese helps the body process cholesterol and nutrients, such as carbohydrates and protein. Blueberries are also a good source of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber may reduce the risk of heart disease and adds bulk to your diet, which may help you feel full faster.”
Naddy believes land must be preserved.
“I placed the farm in a conservation easement with the Tennessee Land Trust in 2011, ensuring Highland Realm will be protected from development for generations to come,” she said.
The idea for a blueberry festival was born three years ago, she said.
“We wanted to showcase the community of Hampshire and the vendors in this area, as well as the blueberries,” Naddy said. “In 2019, we held the first Blueberry Festival. We had local vendors, food trucks, music, homemade blueberry treats and, of course, blueberry picking.”
Amazed at the turnout of more than 800 attendees, Naddy wanted to offer the experience to visitors again.
“This year, we will have more than 25 vendors, including making pottery, baked goods, leather works, fried pies, face painting, rag rugs, birdhouses, crafts and balloon animals,” she said. “We will have music provided by Brian Warren, a favorite in the community, and, of course, a kids’ zone for extra fun for all the kids. There will be a blueberry dessert baking contest, a popular event. The best thing about the contest is that after the judging, we all get to purchase samples of the desserts.”
Food trucks, including Ooh La La's Best of the Big Easy, specializing in classic New Orleans eats, Ooh La La New Orleans Style Shaved Ice and the Hearty Hog, will offer delicious meals and sweet treats.
“You don’t want to miss the special treats they offer,” Naddy said. “You can pick berries, as well as purchase already picked berries. This event is about bringing people to the country, showcasing what our community has to offer and providing an experience in nature for people to see and feel where our food comes from, to experience the freshness of berries right off the bush. This event is for families and individuals. It can be a time for a fun, wholesome country experience. People can experience what the community of Hampshire has to offer and experience the best blueberries in the area.”