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).