Buffalo Trail Orchard is a 5th generation TN Century Farm. It all started on January 27, 1890, when James Collins bought 34 acres in the area of Greene County known as Cedar Creek. He and his 8 children grew corn, wheat, tobacco, and hay, and raised cattle. In 1936, with farm ownership having passed to Andy Collins, James’ son, the Collins family along with many area neighbors (Humphreys, Shelton, Seaton, and Hensley) pooled their resources and constructed what is known as the Joe Mac Water system, fed by a natural spring and still fills cattle troughs to this day.
Elmer Collins, Andy’s son, and Grace Collins, his wife, took over the farm in 1937. They were instrumental in the development and construction of another water system for “downtown” Cedar Creek. This system is much larger than the Joe Mac system. At its peak the “new” system carried water to over 25 homes. That spring is still the source of water for many homes in the Cedar Creek community including the Cloyd Cornwell home located on Buffalo Trail Orchard. That spring water is also used for irrigation of the Buffalo Trail Orchard and berry patch.
In the early 1940’s there was a good sized peach orchard in production on the property. When the USA entered World War II local farms, including Elmer Collins’ grew wheat to supply the army. Ivan Collins, a cousin to Elmer, was exempted from military service to grow crops for the army. This story was given by Easter Collins (94) who passed away in 2014. Elmer and Grace added property until the main part of the farm was around 200 acres. The primary source of revenue was a Grade A dairy operation that grew to around 100 cows at its peak. A silo was built in the 1950’s and still stands today near the old milk barn. That silo is visible from the top of the orchard looking southwest toward Chuckey Mountain.
The farm then passed to Fred and Sue (Collins) Parman and finally to us, Phil and Jean (Parman) Ottinger the current owners. Today, we’re focused on the apple and peach orchard, berry patch, pumpkin patch, sweet corn, and angus beef that keep us busy year-round. We hope to see you out at the farm, and don’t hesitate to ask us about any of the history!