Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Collard Greens with Poblano Chiles & Chorizo

From the Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern Cookbook
Serves: 4
Time: 5 minutes prep, 15 minutes cooking

2 tsp peanut or canola oil

8 ounces fresh chorizo, casings removed, cut into roughly 1-inch pieces; or 4 ounces cured chorizo, kielbasa or other smoked sausage, finely diced

3 poblano chiles, seeded and sliced into thin 2-to-3 inch strips (about 3 cups)

2 tsp finely chopped garlic

1 1/2 pounds collard greens (about 1 bunch), ribs removed, leaves thinly sliced (1 packed quart)

1 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1. Pour the oil into a 12-inch skillet set over high heat, and when it shimmers, add the chorizo. Cook, chopping up the (fresh) sausage with the back of a spoon, until the sausage has rendered most of its fat, about 2 minutes. Add the poblanos, and continue to cook until they have softened slightly and the chorizo is cooked through, about 4 minutes.

2. Add the garlic, half the collards, the salt, and 2 Tbsp water to the skillet. Cook, turning the collards with tongs and adding more greens as those in the pan wilt, until all the collards are in the skillet. Continue to cook until the collards have softened and become dark green, about 6 minutes. Add the vinegar and continue to cook the collards, turning them occasionally, until the vinegar has completely evaporated and the pan is dry, about 3 minutes more. Season to taste with salt, if necessary, and divide the collards, poblanos and chorizo among 4 warm serving plates. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Spinach & Sweet Potato Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing

Adapted from Mark Bittman's Food Matters
Serves: 4
Time: About 45 minutes

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

2 thick slices of bacon

1 red bell pepper, cored and chopped

1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced

1 Tbsp peeled, minced fresh ginger
1 tsp ground cumin

Juice from 1 orange

1 pound fresh spinach leaves

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet, drizzle with 2 Tbsp of the oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Roast, turning occasionally, until crisp and brown outside and just tender inside, about 30 minutes. Remove and keep them on the pan until ready to use.

2. While the potatoes cook, put the bacon in a nonreactive skillet and turn the heat to medium. Cook, turning once or twice, until crisp. Drain on paper towels and pour off the fat, leaving any darkened bits behind in the pan. Put back on medium heat, and add the remaining oil to the pan. When it's hot, add the bell pepper, onion and ginger to the pan. Cook stirring once or twice, until no longer raw, then stir in the cumin and the reserved bacon. Stir in the orange juice and turn off the heat. (The recipe can be made up to an hour or so ahead at this point. Gently warm the dressing again before proceeding.)

3. Put the spinach in a bowl large enough to comfortably toss the salad quickly. Add the sweet potatoes and the warm dressing and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning, and serve.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Red Rice Salad

From The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern Cookbook
Serves: 4
Prep time: 30 minutes

This recipe is a wee bit time consuming but only because you have to tease the tomato water out of the seed cavities. But it's really not that big of a deal and it's so very worth it in the end. I recommend making this at least a few hours in advance, if not more. Enjoy! 

1 pound plum or vine-ripened tomatoes (about 5 plum tomatoes), peeled
3 cups cooked white rice (from 1 cup uncooked)
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp plus 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1. Set a strainer over a small bowl. Core the tomatoes, cut them in half widthwise, and using your pinkie finger, tease the seeds out of the cavities, letting them drop into the strainer. Tap the rim of the strainer against your palm for 30 seconds, until most of the flavorful get clinging to the seeds dissolves and drips into the bowl. Cover and refrigerate the tomato water; you should have about 1/4 cup. Discard the seeds.

2. Chop the tomatoes into 1/2-inch dice, and toss them in a bowl with the rice, chives and basil. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the flavors to meld in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or for up to 24 hours.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the reserved tomato water, mustard, vinegar and salt. Add the olive oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly until the ingredients are thoroughly emulsified. Toss the dressing gently with the rice mixture. Serve cold or at room temperature. (Covered, the salad will keep in the refrigerator for about 3 days).

- by Carolyn Manney

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Porter Road Butcher

Article & Photographs by Carolyn Manney

Imagine this: East Nashville with it's very own butcher shop. Yes people, a real butcher shop with real butchers right here in our neighborhood. Are you excited yet? You should be. I know I am. The other day I told Chris Carter and James Peisker, the masterminds behind this enterprise, that I've never wanted a business to succeed more than this one. And I truly mean that. It feels like the icing on top of the cake, ya know?

I don't know about you, but to be able to walk into Porter Road Butcher (the location of the shop is still to be determined, so stay tuned) and buy whatever cuts of meat you fancy that day, maybe even some handmade sausages or pate' or a handful of local produce while you're at it, is pretty sweet living. And did I mention that Chris and James will be using only pasture raised, grass fed animals (like this pig in the photos)? Even better. These guys have the highest of standards, which is quite possibly the most important quality to have in your local butcher.

As I mentioned above, Chris and James are in the midst of finding the perfect spot for their butcher shop. But in the meantime, you can find them at the East Nashville Farmers Market every Wednesday from 3:30 to 6:30 selling Italian Sausage, English Bacon, Pate', Bratwurst, Head Cheese, etc. (FYI, the menu changes each week). Oh, and they share a tent with The Bloomy Rind, so if you're in the mood for some meat and cheese pairings, this is a pretty great tent to find yourself at.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Something Squirrely at the Market

       Last Wednesday's market was by far the hottest the market I have ever been a part of. You could see the slowness of everyone dripping in the heavy air. There were no babies, no dogs, just slow moving adults out to support the local farmers and artisans. I grew up in Nashville on Delvin Farms, I'm a Southern girl, I like my tea sweet and my okra fried, but it wasn't until this last heat wave that I truly understood why people say the South moves slowly. Well no wonder, it's because the air is a wall of heat we have to muddle through! Even my words were slow coming out. Someone would ask me a question and I could hear my brain trying to digest what was being said, so you could imagine how slow I was to respond when Pastor Weeks of the East Nashville Freewill Baptist Church came out and asked if my husband Brandon and I could help him remove a critter from the church nursery. Pastor Weeks is the reverend from whom we rent the market space. He is kind, gentle and I'm fairly certain a born and raised Southern himself with the thick accent to prove it. So when he asked if we could help him remove a critter from the nursery, I paused a minute to try to make sense of what he was asking while Brandon grabbed a bushel basket and said, "sure! Let's go!" What we found in the nursery was a scared squirrel who had apparently wanted to free himself of the debilitating heat himself. He was perched on the crib staring at us when we walked in. Brandon shut the door behind us and the three of us took our places in various corners of the room. I never knew a tiny squirrel could make three adults jump the way we did! I kept saying, "ooohh I'm a little scared of him! Brandon, get him!" When he hit the window trying to get out, it dawned on us to simply open it. That's another thing heat does to you- makes you lose common sense! I opened one window, Brandon opened the other and out the squirrel jumped, away from three jumpy adults, away from the cool air conditioning and back to his own world.  Things sure did squirrely there for a minute!
    Farmers markets are not only about shopping for your goods. They are a place for the community to gather, to make friends, share recipes, talk to the people who grow your food and help one another out- maybe even rescue one from a critter! That's the reason I enjoy our weekly farmers market. Not only do I get to socialize off the farm a bit, but there's always some new adventure, some new knowledge or experience! What do you enjoy about your weekly farmers market?
-Amy Delvin Tavalin

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Green Wagon

Article & Photographs by Carolyn Manney

I think it’s pretty safe to say that we all want the Earth to have a nice, long, healthy life. There’s the quintessential checklist of earth-saving duties: recycle, shop local, bring your own bag, don’t leave the lights on, turn down the heat, compost, don’t litter - some of which I do better than others. But there are times when I feel like this list is exactly that, duties, instead of what it actually is, basically an exercise in living creatively. Of being more engaged with life. 
I understand that things these days are serious. What with the ice caps melting, the weather patterns changing, the honey bees vanishing, it’s no time to mess around. The health of our planet depends on us and each choice we make really does matter. 
But I am of the multi-tasking mindset that we can fully understand the magnitude of the circumstances we’re in, do our part to help save this planet, challenge ourselves to be better stewards of the earth, all while having a good time and maybe even learning a thing or two along the way. And lucky for me, you, East Nashville and the Earth, Tara and Johnny Shields, owners of The Green Wagon, feel exactly the same way.
And they throw really great parties.
Tara and Johnny are cool, down-to-earth, real people who feel passionately that sustainable living should be simple. And easy. And fun. And free of guilt and finger-wagging. Their shop, in the big white house at the corner of Forrest and 11th, the one with the beautiful rain garden and the front porch that beckons you to just sit and stay for a while, is full of products that are 100% sustainable and over 70% are made right here in Tennessee. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend stopping in. 
There are everyday products like toilet paper and trash bags, handmade soaps that smell like pure fragrant bliss, lip balms, natural make-up and nail polish for the ladies. You can also find natural toys for kids, clothes made from repurposed materials, naturally dyed scarves by ASK Apparel and local art adorning the walls. And did I mention that Aunt April’s Bakery, the unbelievably delicious all gluten-free bakery, is also housed inside The Green Wagon? I’m not even gluten-free but the muffins she makes - pumpkin chocolate chip, blueberry, poppy seed, etc. - are the absolute best. With one bite, all notions you may have had about gluten-free food being scary or bland, will be banished forever.

The word that comes to mind when I think of The Green Wagon is community. When Tara and Johnny became the owners in January of this year, they brought with them their mission to turn The Green Wagon into a community hub. Part of the way they do this is through 3Funding America where you get to pick from a whole slew of non-profits including CASA, Sound Forest, Soles for Souls, and each time you buy something, 5% of that purchase goes to the non-profit of your choice. Who knew spending money could feel so good.
And if I could be so inclined as to plan your day for you, might I recommend swinging by The Green Wagon either before or after you hit up The East Nashville Farmers Market, since each Wednesday they donate a percentage of sales to a local East Nashville non-profit that represents a branch of sustainability, such as Friends of Shelby Park. And while we’re at it, I might as well plan this Saturday for you as well since as I mentioned earlier, Tara and Johnny throw really great parties.
This Saturday, June 25th is where it’s at. Be there or be square, as they say. The Green Wagon Summer Block Party starts at noon with a workshop on edible landscaping by Jeremy and Eliza of Nashville Foodscapes. They’ll teach you how to grow and maintain three types of gardens: culinary herbs, vegetables and medicinal herbs. After that, grab yourself a Yazoo or Nashvillion beer at a suggested donation price of five bucks for two beers and listen to some music, as there is a pretty incredible line-up of bands playing all afternoon and well into the evening. And if you’re hungry, have no fear, you can choose from Nashville’s finest food trucks: The Grilled Cheeserie, Mas Tacos, Terra Delicious, Bang Candy and Herbal Lemonade. See, suddenly your Saturday is shaping up to be pretty sweet. 
The moral of this story, to me anyway, is that choosing to live in a sustainable way, to have even the slightest bit more awareness in your everyday life, in the way you choose to eat and shop, means more fun, more simplicity, a bit more knowledge and more great people sprinkled throughout. And lucky for me, you, East Nashville and the Earth, The Green Wagon is right there at the center of it all, keeping it real. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Recipes for your CSA Box

Article & Photographs by Carolyn Manney

Back in January I started a Dinner Project on my blog where each week I write down what I eat for dinner then post it up there, usually accompanied by a photo of one of my more memorable meals. Or if I happen to forget to take a photo of a meal you may find a random picture of a plant, or maybe even a goat. Like this guy from Noble Springs Farm

I didn't really think much of it when I started this project, I just thought it would be kind of fun, which it is. But now I'm entering week twenty-something and as I go back through these last few months, it's become apparent that I may in fact have an actual cooking style. One that makes me realize even more how much I am like my mother, in the best way. If there's one thing she taught me about cooking, it's that ideally a meal should be as easy to make as it is delicious. So now that's how I roll in the kitchen. 

This is also the first year I've ever had a CSA and even after a mere two weeks of picking up my weekly box, I feel as though the whole CSA concept was designed specifically for me. It's like having a personal shopper. Did I mention that the other trait I inherited from my mom is my tendency to dislike grocery shopping? I like farmers markets because the options that are laid out in front of me are the best of the best and there are always just the right amount, never too many. And combining that type of shopping experience with a CSA really makes the whole grocery shopping/what-to-cook-for-dinner decision-making process rather enjoyable. I crave simplicity, if you haven't already noticed. 

The one thing I will tell you though is that a CSA box is a whole lot of food. And come Tuesday night when you have to clean out your fridge to make room for Wednesday's box, there you see it out of the corner of your eye, an entire bundle of chard you could've sworn you'd eaten over the weekend. And not only is it just sitting there patiently waiting for you to whip it up into something spectacular, it's also hiding that head of lettuce that you were pretty sure you'd eaten alongside the chard. Such is the life of the CSA member, but there are far worse problems than having too much delicious food. 

That being said, it's important with a CSA to have a steady stream of new recipes coming in to keep things fresh and fun in the kitchen, or else it can get a bit overwhelming. I tend to seek out recipes that allow me to change things up depending on my mood, what I'm craving or what happens to be left in the fridge, but that I know will taste good every time. 

For instance, I am a little bit obsessed with anything delicious wrapped in two soft corn tortillas. I blame Mas Tacos directly for this obsession because when I first had her fried avocado taco, it sort of blew my mind how good a taco could taste. I had no idea. So now, I usually make some sort of taco-related dinner at least two or three times a week. They're virtually impossible to screw up and always taste pretty delicious no matter what. And I find they're the perfect way to use up those CSA leftovers. 

Some of my favorite taco combinations include:  Caramelized Onions & Chard; Chipotle Shrimp & Mango Salsa; Grilled Steak & Onions;  Chipotle Black Beans, Cilantro & Sour Cream; Pulled Chicken & Kale (photo below). Pick your favorite combination, jazz it up with queso fresco, sour cream, yogurt sauce or salsa, and you're pretty much good to go. 

My other recent go-to recipe comes from Mark Bittman's latest cookbook, The Food Matters (By the way, this is a great cookbook full of healthy, delicious, earth-friendly recipes). 

Green Barley Pilaf

This recipe is great as is or you can fancy it up however you want. The other night I added sauteed shrimp mixed with about 2 Tbsp canned chipotle peppers (the amount depends on how spicy you like your food) and then I squeezed a lime on top of the whole thing. It was pretty delicious, if I do say so.

Mark Bittman also recommends adding chopped nuts or olives and serving alongside tacos or refried beans.

Preparation & cooking time: about 45 minutes with pearled barley, or 90 minutes with hulled barley

Serves: 4

2 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for serving

1 onion, chopped

1 Tbsp minced garlic

1 cup pearled or hulled barley

3 cups vegetable stock or water

Salt and black pepper

1 pound spinach, roughly chopped

1. Put the oil in a deep skillet or large saucepan over medium-high heat. When it's hot, add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes.

2. Add the barley and cook, stirring, until glossy, about 1 minute. Add the liquid and a good sprinkling of salt and pepper and bring to a boil.

3. Turn the heat down to low, cover, and cook until the grains are tender and the water is almost entirely absorbed, 15 to 25 minutes for pearled barley or 30 to 45 minutes for hulled. (Add a little more liquid if the grains are not ready but begin to look dry). Uncover, remove from the heat, and stir in the spinach. Replace the lid and let rest off the heat for at least 10 minutes or up to 20 minutes. Combine and fluff the grains and spinach with a fork. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve hot or at room temperature with a drizzle of olive oil if you like. Enjoy!

Or when in doubt, make a salad, top it with a poached egg and call it dinner. This too, hits the spot.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Our Visit to ENFM 6/1/11

Atticus and I had another great day at ENFM!

When we arrived I realized he'd spilled all of his water out of his sippy cup (ooops!) so we went in search of something to drink.  Cumberland Valley Kombucha totally hooked us up!  If you've never had kombucha, I highly suggest trying some.  It's a fermented tea and has tons of great probiotics.  I used to make my own but stopped because we always had more than we could drink.  It's great to know that I can now buy it from a local company!

After our brief beverage break, we made our way around the circle of tents.  I always find it hard to find a starting place so after tying Atticus to my back I just walked a straight line from the direction I was facing.  We ended up at the Fly S Farms tent.  They had sugar snap peas which are a big favorite at our house so we bought a pound.  I'm sad that their season is almost up because Atticus and I love snacking on them through out the day.

Next up was freshly baked bread and a bunch of asparagus from Jones Mill Farm.  The bread was still warm, that's how fresh it was!  I highly suggest trying the Pain Polka bread.  We've already eaten the whole loaf!  It was so hard choosing which variety to try so we'll have to try a different kind next week.

Atticus and I then cut across the lawn to see what was one the other side.  We bought some lentil sprouts from Green Market Farm, another favorite snack at our house!  Bean sprouts are great on salads, sandwiches, omelets, or just plain by themselves.

I'd planned for strawberry shortcakes after dinner so we stopped by Dozen for some brown sugar shortcakes.  We also sampled a cookie.  I think it was gingerbread and  I loved it and I'm fairly sure Atticus enjoyed it too.  He was riding on my back, remember.

We were both getting hot so we made a few more quick stops before calling it a day.   We bought some cherry tomatoes from Delvin Farms, coffee from Roast, Inc.  and 2 mini chess pies from Geraldine's Greatest Chess Pies.  You MUST try Geraldine's pies.  They are super yummy!

I wished we'd been able to stay longer because I heard there would be a yoga class held.  While I don't think Atticus would be up for taking yoga, it would have been fun to see other people enjoying the class.  Maybe next summer he'll be old enough.

Next week will come armed with our water bottles and a blanket and will have snack and dinner!  I saw lots of yummy treats and eats.  We are still working on our goal of visiting and making at least one purchase from every vendor!  So vendors, if we haven't visited you yet, we will soon!

Until next week... Peace, Love, and Good Eats!


Thursday, May 19, 2011

This Week's Visit to the Market! 5/18/11

Hi everyone!

I should probably start off by introducing myself.   My name is Sarah and I’m usually found over at the Little Boy Green.  I write about raising my son, Atticus, as naturally and eco-friendly as possible while living here in Nashville.  It is very important to me that Atticus learns where his food comes from and meets the people who put their whole heart into making and growing wonderful food for us to eat. 

 My husband, Mark, Atticus, and I moved here last July after living in Clarksville for the last 5 years.  Last year, before moving, Atticus and I drove all the way from Clarksville almost every Wednesday just to attend the East Nashville Farmers Market (ENFM.)  You have no idea how excited I was when we moved closer.  This summer we plan to attend ENFM as many Wednesdays as we possibly can and I can’t wait to tell you about our adventures. 

Unfortunately, last week we didn’t make to the market.  Go me!  Missed the first day of the year.  That’s like skipping the last day of school!  So this week I made a point to be there… and early too boot! 

The market officially opens at 3:30pm but Atticus and I pulled up at 3 sharp.  With kid strapped to my back and basket in hand along with a wad o’cash, I was ready!  Ready to see, smell, taste, and of course buy ENFM.  We didn’t stay too long because, as you may know, our warm spring weather seems to have been eaten by mid-November!

First we said hello to a few people and learned that this year ENFM will be accepting EBT, Food Stamps, and Snap cards.  You just go to the information tent and they will set you up with some tokens!  Now there are even less excuses as to why someone can’t shop the market.

Our first stop was the Raw-Food Warrior tent.  They didn’t have anything to sell but they did have quite a few yummy raw foods to try.  Eating raw doesn’t mean just fruits and veggies and they totally proved that with falafel, crackers, chocolate cake, and a delicious apricot & something or other tart.  Atticus seemed to like everything.  In our house the saying is “if Atticus eats it, it MUST be good!”

Next we visited Green Market Farm’s tent.  They are a small, organic farm from Gallatin, TN.  We discussed growing garlic and onions.  Atticus tried lentil sprouts for the first time and loved them.  I bought a carton of sprouts, which he snacked on all the way home and then had more for dinner!

We made a quick stop by Rainbow Hill Farm for some delicious sugar snap peas before heading over to The Bloomy Rind for some cheese.  Even though Atticus typically doesn’t “do” dairy, I let him try some Thunder Mountain Swiss cheese.  I love all cheese so I didn’t sample any before jumping in and buying a wedge of the Swiss.  The cheese wasn’t made locally, but rather in North Carolina and then packaged here in Nashville.  I’m almost embarrassed to say that when we got home I meant to sample some of our new cheese and may have possibly eaten the whole wedge in one sitting!

I have to admit that I have a slight addiction to Noble Springs Dairy’s goat cheese.  So to feed my addiction, I bought a log of The Busy Bee.  Just imagine a log of chevre that has been rolled in honey and cranberries.  Ummmm… YUM! Every time I think I’ve tried all their varieties, my surprised that there is one that I’ve missed. 

Atticus loves baked kale chips, so our last purchase was a bunch of Kale from Delvin Farms.  It was fun seeing all of their CSA boxes for pick up.  If you’ve never heard of a CSA I highly encourage that you do some reading about them.  They are a really great way to help support agriculture in your area. 

It was so much fun browsing the different tents and listening to the music.  Many vendors were familiar from last summer like Peaceful Pastures and Flying S Farms comes to mind.  My goal is to visit and make at least one purchase from every single vendor of the course of the market season. 

We can’t wait until next Wednesday!

Love, Peace, and Good Eats!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

It's Time for the Farmers Market!

Hello there and welcome to my little corner of the East Nashville Farmers Market blog! My name is Carolyn and I moved to Nashville with my husband a year ago, the day before the flood in fact, and through one little connection after another, I now find myself here, writing to you about various local food related topics that interest me, and hopefully interest you as well. 

I’ve been a longtime proponent of eating and shopping local, of putting my dollars right back into the community, supporting farmers and artisans by handing my money directly to them, doing what I can to reduce my footprint on this earth. To me, it’s as much about the personal connections as it is about what you’re buying and where you’re buying it.

As I’ve watched the local food movement grow in the various cities I’ve lived in over the years, it always bothers me a little bit when I see guilt used as a way to market the message of sustainability. That sort of “shame on you for not remembering to bring your own bag” type of attitude. While in the short term, that approach may get a few more people to rethink using plastic bags, but what it lacks is any real foundation. 

When I moved to Nashville I was surprised by how close-knit the community of farmers, artisans, chefs and local business owners were and how as a consumer, that connection made it so much easier to eat local and support local businesses along the way. Say you go to the farmers market one afternoon and buy some goat cheese from Dustin at Noble Springs Farm, you ask him a couple questions about his goats, taste the various cheeses, hand him your money and take some home with you (Have you tried the garlic and herb, by the way? It’s incredible). Then maybe a few days later you go have dinner at the Village Pub and see that same cheese right there on their menu, or on the menu at The Silly Goose or in the cheese section at the Turnip Truck, and then without it even seeming like that big of a deal, you realize, “I know that goat cheese guy, I met him just the other day.” 

It’s no small thing, that connection. And in all honesty, that direct contact is the main reason why I try to support my local community as much as possible. Of course I want to do my part for the earth, that goes without saying, but what gives me the most satisfaction, what makes me feel the best inside, is knowing that my dollars are directly supporting some of the coolest people I’ve met. Those farmers, artisans, cheese makers, small business owners - they are doing incredible things to make sure our neighborhoods and communities are thriving.  And by supporting them, they support each other and the result is a neighborhood where it’s almost difficult not to support a local business because they’re everywhere. And that, I must say, is a pretty sweet return on a rather small investment. 

So come on down to the East Nashville Farmers Market every Wednesday from 3:30 to 6:30 at the corner of 10th and Russell, a block behind the Turnip Truck and a stone’s throw from 5 points. We’ll be there rain or shine and look forward to seeing you!

- Article & photographs by Carolyn Manney (I will be posting articles, recipes, vendor profiles and whatever else catches my fancy right here, about twice a month. So please check back).

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Brief History of the East Nashville Farmers Market and the Future...

In 2007, as the local food movement was just beginning to take root in Nashville, John Dyke, owner of the Turnip Truck Natural Market in East Nashville, envisioned having a farmers market that would bring people together in the community for fresh, local food. He approached Hank Delvin, Jr. of Delvin Farms, and together they laid out the plan to hold the market in the Turnip Truck parking lot.

Hank gathered a few farmers and artisans including James Gardener of Gardener Grove, Madison Creek Farms, Kenny's Cheese, Angel Radiance, Peaceful Pastures, Paradise Produce, West Wind Farms, Rainbow Hill Farm, Alchemy of Sol and Delvin Farms. The market was at the same time as it is today, Wednesdays 3:30-6:30. It started slow but grew in size, and soon the parking lot at the Turnip Truck became too small to hold all the customers and vendors.

Hank moved the market in 2008 to its present location, 210 S 10th Street, behind the Turnip Truck at the Freewill Baptist Church where Pastor Weeks welcomes us every week. Live music became a staple and the Howling Brothers played for customers and vendors every week. They have since become a big hit in Nashville, so it's hard to book them every week for our market!

In 2010, Sean Siple of Good Food for Good People helped Delvin Farms by taking over management of the market so Hank, Jr. could focus on farming and get the farm back on track after Hank Sr.'s tragic car accident in July 2009 left him unable to farm for a year. Sean brought in more vendors, volunteers, and different genres of music. Since then he has opened more of his own markets, so management of the market has gone back to Delvin Farms, Hank Sr., is back on the farm and able to help Hank Jr. again, and Amy Delvin is now managing the market... which brings us to the future of the market.

As the local food movement increases, people are becoming aware of eating locally and supporting the local economy.  The East Nashville market has grown to include not just farmers, but also local businesses. Shoppers can support their local economy by purchasing staples such as bread, coffee, milk, cheese, soap, candles, vegetables and fruit, all by local producers and businesses. They can now do one stop shopping at their neighborhood farmers market and not have to go to the grocery store, all by supporting the local economy!

Even more exciting news for the future of our community market- we now accept SNAP (foodstamps). We hare partnering with Community Food Advocates who is doing outreach to the community surrounding the East Nashville market and we can now truly serve the community in which we have our farmers market.

We are also collaborating with two other Farmers Markets: the Franklin market and the downtown Nashville Market. Together we will be booking live music. Groups will play for East Nashville on Wednesdays, Franklin on Saturdays, and Nashville on Sunday. We will market through the groups, getting the word out about their music, while they in turn help spread the word about our markets and bring customers in to watch them play (while shopping).  Besides the live music, working with these two Farmers markets is exciting because we are finally making a small step to bring the local food movement together. Our goal is to work together as one large community and lessen the farmers markets competition amongst markets and vendors. As farmers market vendors we all strive for the same goal- to support local businesses, but sometimes we forget to support each other. The vision for the future is to work together to make the TN local economy the best it can be!

Mark your calendar for the grand opening of the East Nashville market on May 11th at 3:30pm. Councilman Mike Jameson along with chefs Tandy Wilson, Jeremy Barlow and Jen Franzen will be doing the ribbon cutting. Children will be entertained by Loving Touch Petting Zoo, and adults will enjoy the live music, and of course, the amazing shopping opportunities!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Get to Know Your Farmer and Build A Sustainable Community

      Developing mutual trust and friendship with your local farmer is one step in the process of building a truly sustainable community. In a time of increasingly industrialized food production and resulting environmental problems, it's good to know your farmer and where your food is coming from. Joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program can help you eat better while supporting family farms. Participating in a CSA offers numerous benefits. Produce tastes better because it is straight off the farm and only hours old. Organically grown fruits and vegetables are free of pesticides and herbicides. Additonally, supporting a local farming business keeps more money within our economy.
       Another way in which you can support the local economy and family farms is to shop at a local, producers only farmers market such as the East Nashville Farmers market! A local market such as the East Nashville Market provides a venue for purchasing cheese, milk, bread, meat, vegetables, soap, baked goods, flowers and even some original artisan crafts. You can even get a free massage from a certified therapist trained at the Natural Health Institute! Tell me what grocery store with tomatoes shipped from Mexico can provide you with all that and a massage!
  Don't forget to mark your calendar for the grand opening on May 11th! Your local farmers and artisans will be there every Wednesday rain or shine from 3:30-6:30. Come out and shop in your community, support your local economy.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Winter..No vacation for a farmer.

This  has been an exceptionally cold winter for us Middle Tennesseans (I'm sure I don't have to tell you this), but despite the harsh cold, we farmers are have been weathering through! On Delvin Farms, we spent last Friday erecting another hoophouse that will allow us to extend the growing season. With hoophouses, we'll have tomatoes and strawberries earlier than the field crops and we'll have greens, onions, spinach, arugula later in the year. Our hoophouses have allowed us to continue providing produce at the year round Saturday farmers markets, Franklin at the Factory and West Nashville at 47th and Alabama Ave.
Despite our desire to bundle up and hibernate we've continued farming in this unusually harsh winter. A lot of people complain about it, but I wouldn't mind one really big snow- the kind that will make it impossible to leave the house- for at least a day! Before I joined the family farm full time I had my "DC Adventure" as I like to call it, and I taught middle school Literature outside DC for seven years. The adventure part is teaching middle schoolers..but besides that, my border collie, Luna, and I had many snow adventures living in Maryland. One year we got three feet of snow and I had to shovel a tunnel for Luna to go outside. She is a true Southern belle who loves her sweaters, even here in TN, and she managed to hold it for two days before she finally gave into that tunnel!
 But I digress...my point is that farmers don't have the option to call in sick or take a snow day, and these days we are preparing for the upcoming outdoor, seasonal markets such as the East Nashville Farmers Market! We're planting seed in our greenhouses and nursing tiny plants that will be transplanted in the fields in March and April, so that by May 11th we will be ready and waiting to serve East Nashville incredible, fresh, local vegetables, meats, cheeses, breads and community fellowship! Mark your calendar for May 11th! Check out our website, www.eastnashvillemarket.com, follow us on twitter www.twitter.com/enfarmersmkt or become a fan on facebook, www.facebook.com/eastnashvillefarmersmarket. And if you're a vendor, visit the website for the vendor application and market rules. See you on May 11th!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

This week in the news..GMO and stuff...

I'm sure you've all read or heard about the latest in the battle against Monsanto and GMO foods. Even though my family and I are certified organic farmers, I am guilty of enjoying a processed food or two (ie, Velveeta shells and cheese- that stuff is addicting!). However, in light of the recent news about genetically engineered food, I decided to educate myself a little more and vow to make better food choices and at the very least, for goodness sake, I will freeze and can more of my own produce! 
The first place I researched in my campaign to eat the organic food I grow ( I know, I know, it's crazy that I eat processed foods when I come home from the farm) was Monsanto.The Monsanto Company is a multinational agricultural biotechnology Corporation. They are the world's leading producer of  Round up and  of genetically engineered seeds. Monsanto is responsible for the development and marketing of genetically engineered seeds,and bovine growth hormone(used to increase milk production in cows). What does this mean for certified organic farming?  I recently read an interesting article on commondreams.org that summed it up pretty well for me: with the exception of the “grass-fed and grass-finished” meat sector, most “natural” meat, dairy, and eggs are coming from animals reared on GMO grains and drugs, and confined, entirely, or for a good portion of their lives, in CAFOs. And using GMO alfalfa on organic farms guarantees to contaminate the alfalfa fed to organic animals; guaranteed to lead to massive poisoning of farm workers and destruction of the essential soil food web by the toxic herbicide, Roundup; and guaranteed to produce Roundup-resistant superweeds that will require even more deadly herbicides such as 2,4 D to be sprayed on millions of acres of alfalfa across the U.S. (Common Dreams.org).  
In short, I  learned to be even MORE grateful that I share a grass fed cow with my family from a local farmer we know and trust and I have a third in my freezer. And even though it makes me sad every winter when we make our own sausage, pork chops and bacon from the pigs I feed and kiss all summer, I am grateful for knowing what those pigs ate (they eat all organic,which is more than I can say about my own diet). 
What can you do? You can get to know your farmer! Go to a local farmers market, find a meat farmer for your cows and pigs, find a cheese maker, bread, milk, vegetables..it's possible to supply all your basic needs at a local market or grocery store (Turnip Truck, Produce Place, etc)! And the best news is..Nashville has three year round Farmers Markets! So this Saturday, get to a market- Nashville, West Nashville or Franklin, and get yourself a farmer! And if you see me at the West Nashville market this weekend, kindly remind me to lay off the processed food ( I do, afterall, have a wedding dress to get into in April!).