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Mountain Hollow Farm

A Tennessee couple educates farm visitors with a “goat to garment” tour
Photo courtesy of Mountain Hollow Farm

Beth Bohnert had always dreamed of having her own little farm. When Beth and her husband Brett moved to Tazewell, Tennessee, a few years ago, they found a 38-acre fixer-upper. Most of the terrain is mountainside and wooded, so she researched what type of animal would thrive on this type of environment. Goats were the obvious choice, and since Beth is a knitter, cashmere goats fit the bill. They now have a herd of 26 goats, and a thriving cashmere fiber business.

One of the reasons the Bohnerts bought their farm was because it had a very unusual building – an old general store that was built in 1931.

"It was in pretty bad shape but we fixed it up and we re-opened it," says Beth. "So, of course we have the animals that we raise for their fur. We send the fiber from those animals off to the mill and we have it spun into yarn and we sell the yarn out of our store. In our store we also carry other products, we carry commercially-available yarns, we have a selection loose leaf tea, we have some coffee, and some fine handcrafts."

Beth says they decided to open the farm to school kids and educate them with what they call the “Goat to Garment” tour. The kids learn the process of how their clothing is made.

"They get to see how we grow and harvest the cashmere and how we take care of the animals, and then they also get to see how that cashmere is taken from the animal and turned into yarn," says Beth. "From that point, they get to see how that yarn is turned into clothing, both in the traditional methods with knitting needles and crochet hooks and a weaving loom, but also we talk about how it’s done in a factory. We have a small knitting machine to show them how it’s done in a factory nowadays."

The Bohnert’s have added sheep, alpacas, and angora rabbits on the farm for even more fiber opportunities.

Visit the Bohnert's at Mountain Hollow Farm

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