In February, the hospitality industry was shocked after 39-year-old Blackberry Farm owner Sam Beall died in a tragic skiing accident. While hardly a household name, Beall's impact on the industry was sizable: A trained chef, he helped transform the Tennessee farm where he was born into a top-rated luxury resort that many credit with helping to pioneer the hyper-local Southern cooking movement.
Running a high-end hotel and restaurant is no small feat, particularly when it's also a working farm — but, as the New York Times reports, that's exactly what Sam Beall's widow, Mary Celeste Beall, is doing in his absence.
In the six months since her husband's unexpected death, Beall has been learning how to run the business — in addition to raising the couple's four children, who range in age from 3 to college-age. The Times notes that Blackberry Farm didn't shut down for a single day following Sam's death, and has in fact made a number of steps forward: A new concert hall and wedding venue, Bramble Hall, recently opened on the property, and "plans are underway to open a new inn and build private houses in the foothills across from the farm."
Beall is also considering a third Blackberry Farm cookbook, "one in which the children cook their dad’s favorite hits," which seems like a fitting tribute.