Thursday, June 28, 2012


Farmer's Market #2

This week at the farmer's market we got more of the same. Squash was everywhere 
and there was a trickling in of tomatoes. I even treated myself to an Izzie's Ice 
while I walked around. The ice is made by two sisters who use real fruit! 
Steve and I split a large, with three scoops of strawberry, watermelon, and mango. 
The mango was far and away my favorite flavor. Mango just feels like summer.

This week's CSA from Flying S Farms

After my post last week, I received additional information about the market from Amy 
who's family (Delvin Farms) started the East Nashville Farmer's Market 6 years ago (I was way off). This is what she has to say about ENFM:
The market was started 6 years ago by Delvin Farms to provide healthy food 
to the East Nashville community. It started in the parking lot of the Turnip Truck 
but quickly outgrew that space.  We strive to make it an organic market, but do 
allow a few conventional produce farms who grow their own produce. 
The farmers who grow the food and the people who make the goods 
are present at our market- there are no re-sellers.  
Vendors who are certified organic or certified naturally grown 
get 10% off their vendor fee. We are the first market in Nashville to accept 
EBT/Food stamps as a whole. Customers can also use their debit card 
at the market info booth to get "cash" in the form of wooden nickles to spend 
with the vendors. It has become very popular and allows customers to buy 
what they need with vendors who may be unable to accept credit or debit cards. 
The food stamp program has really taken off as well, and providing healthy 
food in the community (especially the food desert areas) was the goal 
from the beginning. We're currently working with the Martha O'Bryan 
center to provide transportation to the Casey housing residents to the market. 
The center also brings out groups of children and teenagers once a season 
to learn about vegetables, how they are grown and to meet the farmers 
who grow them. Delvin Farms has paid for the market for the past 5 years 
(insurance, rent, live music, etc), but this year the market is beginning 
to pay for itself! We're pleased that it has become a popular market, 
not only because it is finally becoming self sustaining, but because our goal 
of making it a community market, providing good produce and locally grown, 
producers only market has reached its goal!

This week's basket contained lots of squash, onions, green and yellow cucumbers, 
lettuce and green beans. The green beans were the standout of the box. 
I just boiled them lightly for 8 minutes and they were perfect- nothing needed to be 
added to the naturally sweet taste. This week I tried a very southern style 
squash casserole in order to use everything up. 
It contained lots of butter and cheese so it wasn't very good for my waistline, 
but boy was it delicious. I have a feeling the squash casserole will be making a reappearance.

This week's splurge purchase was Hawaiian sausage from West Wind Farms
They have a large variety of sausage and meat available.
 I guess they are really popular, because when we were at the booth they 
were out of milk and eggs! The sausage was tasty, but I wouldn't go as far as
 calling it Hawaiian. There weren't any chunks of pineapple like I was expecting 
and I didn't really taste any fruit sweetness.  
Don't get me wrong, I loved the sweet brown sugar taste. 
But if you are looking for something tropical and fruity, this isn't your tube of meat. 
I plan on trying some of their other other options this season!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Delvin Farms' Green Revolution Is A Family Affair

by Jas Faulkner

“People are not going to buy produce with spots on them.”  
Family matriarch Cindy usually had a lot of faith in the next generation of the Delvin Family.  With one son having recently returned from a stint in the Peace Corp and a daughter who had found a new mission in life inspired by her urban middle school students, the idea of taking the farm one step further into a movement that could make the world a better place seemed well-intentioned, but far fetched.

The Delvins were already successful farmers.  From the beginning of their business in 1972 they had built up a clientele that included household names to most Middle Tennesseans such as Kroger and Shoney’s.  Their thriving twenty-five year old farm wasn’t in need of any kind of makeover.

Amy Delvin remembers that summer in 1997:
“During my brother’s time in the Peace Corp, he had observed farmers using methods that were passed down from one generation to the next.  He came home and tried to tell our parents that there was a way to have successful crops without using conventional technology: pesticides, chemicals, GMOs. 
 “Dad gave him a section of land so he could try it. He used organic methods to grow heirloom tomatoes, for which he got four times as much as Dad got for his conventional tomatoes. That was all it took for him to see that people would be willing to buy organic produce.

Of course the bottom line was a consideration, but Hank and Cindy Delvin had always taught their kids the importance of maintaining a strong set of principles behind whatever they chose to do.  In a family that valued learning, growth, and doing things the right way, exploring more sustainable ways to farm was the logical next step.
 “My parents originally focused on one or two kinds of tomatoes, greens, and very  traditional, familiar  varieties of produce. We grow a greater variety of vegetables now.  People are more aware of what’s out there and so the demand is greater –not only for organic produce- but heirloom varieties as well.
“Growing up on a farm, you’re aware of the importance of taking good care of the land.  We began to educate ourselves so we could do what was necessary to become a USDA certified organic farm.”
 Part of that transition included expanding and changing their customer base. This would mean reaching out to a new kind of consumer.

Amy Delvin Tavalin prepares for
an afternoon at the Farmers Market.
Amy Delvin Tavalin had returned to the farm after years of teaching at a middle school in Baltimore.  During a discussion of Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird”, she had what some people would call a “lightbulb moment”. 
“We had just read the scene where Jem and Scout were in Boo Radley’s collard patch and one of my students asked me what a collard was.  I realized that these kids grew up never knowing what it was like to have someone in the family living and working on a farm.  Many of them didn’t even have grandparents who gardened.  They had no sense of where their food came from.”
She implemented some opportunities for her students in Maryland to learn more about farming, but realized her family farm back in College Grove, Tennessee offered an opportunity to educate children (and adults) about the importance of agriculture.  Working with educators in Tennessee she created programs that gave kids a day on the farm who might have gone their entire childhood without the chance to see a tomato ripening on the vine.

The new model of agribusiness they were following would offer the public another way to be more directly involved with getting their food from the field to the table.  By 1998, the 140 acre farm* was certified organic and in 1999 they began their CSA with 90+ subscribers. The philosophy was straightforward: provide a way for consumers to buy their produce directly from the people who grew it.  This would eliminate any mystery about the identity or the producer or the quality and safety of the product.

Ironically, simplification for customers meant a whole host of challenges and expenses for the Delvins.  The certification process was much more than just a matter of paperwork and fees.  Inspectors had to flown in, housed and fed, all at the expense of the Delvins.  In order to be able to identify as USDA Certified Organic, they had to submit to inspections of the land, the equipment and all of their paperwork, which has to account for the chain of custody and provenance of the seeds they use. 

Is it worth it? The Delvin Family seems to think so, and so do the over seven hundred subscribers who participate in their CSA.  Every year they enjoy weekly boxes of in-season produce from the farm that now grows over 80 varieties of organic fruits and vegetables.

When asked what plant had grown the most in popularity, Amy says it has to be kale. 

“We were the sole provider of kale to Shoney’s for a long time.” 

According to Shoney's logic,
kale was just too pretty to eat.
Anyone who ever visited a Shoney’s is probably trying to recall seeing kale on the menu. The truth is, it was never offered as part of their fare.  Diners certainly saw it on every plate to emerge from the kitchen, not to mention all over their salad and breakfast bars.  Remember those large, dark green leaves underneath certain entrees and buffet offerings and the curly green sides on every plate and around the edges of the buffet stations?  That wasn’t parsley, it was kale from Delvin Farms.   
“That’s right,” says Ms Tavalin,  “One of the healtiest items we grow was originally used as a decoration.  We sold them boxes upon boxes of kale and my mother would always try to talk them into cooking it.  She told them they could serve it just like any other green.”
Chef and slow food activist Rick Bayless advises anyone who wants to eat better to "get your food from the periphery of the store."  Take it one step further and get your food from the remembered periphery of a Middle Tennessee culinary institution.  This time, it's not about eating something on a dare from your big sister, it's tasting what you've been missing.

*Delvin Farm has grown considerably since then.  They now have 220 acres.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Recipes for Your CSA by Megan Wicks

Hey, East Nashville friends!

This week, my finds include a CSA box from Delvin Farms and milk from Hatcher’s Dairy (I simply cannot get enough of that stuff!). The CSA box was packed with gorgeous vegetable goodies! I admit I was hoping some of those beautiful blackberries would be in there, but alas – no such luck. What I did have was this:
Large green cabbage
Small red cabbage
Yellow “crookneck” squash
Zephyr squash (that’s the green and yellow one)
Rainbow Chard
Roma tomatoes

The hubs was thrilled with the cache of potatoes. We’re planning to make what my friends call my Simon & Garfunkel potatoes. We’ll cut them into quarters or cubes, drizzle with olive oil, and toss them with fresh chopped herbs from our garden (parsley, sage, rosemary, & thyme - are you humming yet?) and some of the garlic (minced). Put them in a roasting pan or on a cookie sheet and roast in the oven at 425° for 30-45 minutes (until fork-tender), stirring once mid-way through.

As for the kale (an amazing nutritional powerhouse green that is full of vitamins and minerals), I’ve got two plans for that bunch:
(1)   I’ll be trying part of it in my morning green smoothie mentioned last week (by the way, those blueberries were from Kirkview Farms). It’s so easy – about a cup of yogurt (I prefer Greek), a cup of greens (I usually use spinach, but have heard of many people using kale so I’m going to try it), a little bit of juice or coconut water to get it moving in the blender, and half a cup to a cup of fruit. I usually use blueberries (the dark color of the berries covers up the green if that bothers you), but bananas or strawberries are lovely too. I tried blackberries once, but I couldn’t get past all the seeds in the smoothie. You can always use frozen fruit if you like your smoothie colder or you’re short on fresh.
(2)   My favorite way to prepare kale is to sauté it. Thoroughly wash the kale and then dry (salad spinners are great for this). Cut out the tough stems and then tear or cut the leaves into pieces approximate 2”x2” until you have about 2 cups of kale. Heat a Tablespoon of olive oil and 1or 2 teaspoons of sesame oil (optional) in a sauté pan large enough to hold all the kale. Add a teaspoon of crushed red pepper (more if you’re into spice!), and a minced clove of garlic. Cook until fragrant. Add the cut up kale and toss with a pair of tongs to coat with the oil, pepper, and garlic mixture. Keep tossing until kale begins to wilt slightly and turns a bright green color. Remove from heat and dress with soy sauce to taste. This will serve 2 to 4. It makes a great side, and I’ve been known to make it my main course.

I’ll be trying out a new (to me) recipe this week for the cucumbers. A college roommate of mine had success with refrigerator dill pickles, and I’m excited to try it myself. I intend to try this recipe that I found on

1-1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
1/4 to 1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
3/4 teaspoon dill seeds
2 cups hot water
2 pounds kirby cucumbers, sliced 1/4-inch thick
3/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh dill
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped


1) Combine vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard seeds, coriander seeds and dill seeds in a heatproof bowl. Add hot water and stir until sugar dissolves and liquid is clear. Cool to room temperature.
2) Place cucumbers, garlic and dill in a large bowl. Toss to combine. Pour brine over all and turn to coat cucumbers. Cover them with a plate to weigh them down and keep them covered in brine. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, stirring once or twice. Transfer to an airtight container and store for up to two weeks. Yield: 1 quart.

Wish me luck! I’ll let you know next week how it turned out…

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Time To Get Adventurous!

by Jas Faulkner 
author's note:  Next week, ENFMBlog will feature an interview with Amy Delvin.  We'll talk about the history of Delvin Farm -and- cue some scary music here, find out which healthy market mainstay started out as almost unidentifiable industrial decorative matter.  You won't want to miss it! 

A nutritional anthropology study conducted by the University of Florida in 1988 suggested that North Americans had better access to a bigger variety of healthy, fresh foods than most of the rest of the world and yet the average consumer limited themselves to approximately eight to twelve different plant-based foods.  In the quarter century (give or take a few months) that have gone by since then, Americans have begun to put more thought into where their food comes from and how it is produced.

The effort to localize production and consumption has led to rethinking heritage and indigenous food crops that had fallen out of favor.  Our culinary vocabulary is starting to expand and with it comes a more extensive repertoire of dishes and techniques that sometimes start out as experiments and eventually become familiar household favorites.

There are plenty of reasons people don't eat specific varieties or whole categories of fruits and vegetables.  Sometimes it can be a question of rediscovering a favorite that a grandparent might have grown in the summer. Sometimes it means trying a food you've heard of but never tasted.  Sometimes its simply a matter of access. Whatever the reason, local growers are eliminating those excuses.  Which reminds me of one last excuse: you tried it and you didn't like it.

If your parents were like mine, they probably asked you to try at least a bite or two before deciding it was off the menu for you.  Okay.  I'm going to make that same suggestion.  If you see something in your CSA share or it's sitting there in your sample box, and you know this food makes you sad to even think that someone somewhere considers it edible, just stop.  Don't ask to swap it out.  Don't try to palm it off on the nearest child who looks like he's dying to carry something fresh to Mommy. In short, quit being a baby.

Here is a list of seven foods to look for that you may or may not have tried. If they're not in season right now, they will be soon.


Kale - curly or luxuriantly leafy, this green is packed with nutrients and flavor.  Try it sauteed, in soups, chopped and raw in salads.  One of the classic dishes for this veggie is a stew made with cannellini beans, kale, and chicken.

Collards - They are a food of the gods.  You can usually find them bundled together in bunches of four to six large leaves. If you want to try something beyond the usual greens-n-pork preparation, take a look at this recipe from an earlier ENFM post: Collard Greens w/ Poblano Chiles and Chorizo. 

                                                                                                                      Basil -  This sweet-smelling herb is the primary taste profile in pesto and margherita pizza.  It also makes a great aromatic garnish for cold ades and a soothing addition to an herbal bath.   Try a few leaves  on a toasted sandwich with fresh tomato and provolone.

Arugula - Steve Martin's character in "My Blue Heaven" couldn't live without it.  This peppery green makes a great addition to any salad or stir fry.  Great on a fresh tomato sandwich or served as a finger food a la cress.  

Garlic scapes
Garlic Scapes -  The tender, curly blooming stalks of garlic are often trimmed so the bulbs will grow bigger.    Lucky you if you find anyone selling them!  They're great in stir fries, caramelized over milder cuts of meat and cooked into pasta sauces.  2 Sisters Garlic has an entire page devoted to ways to prepare garlic scapes. 

Was Geno's Cup win fuled by his
mama's lucky borscht? 
Beets - Most people have tasted them pickled or as crispy veggie chips. The roots are great roasted. The greens?  They perk up a tossed salad and fit right in with any kind of greens mix, cooked or raw.  For a change of pace, go for the tried and true.  Every year, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette posts Natalia Malkin's Lucky Borscht Recipe.  Does it work?  You might not lift the cup like Evgeni did in 2009, but you'll find it is a tasty piece of Russian culture and a good way to use beets.

Sweet potatoes
Sweet Potatoes -  Many of us were scared away from this nutritious root vegetable by the glutenous casserole that seemed to appear at every big family dinner.  Topped with burned marshmallows, each mouthful was a minefield of mush and the odd stealth pecan half that might or might not have been properly shelled.  Ah, the holidays!  The good news is that sweet potatoes don't have to be such gut bombs.  They're delicious baked with a little butter or olive oil and a pinch of red pepper.  Rick Bayless has a recipe for  a healthier version of baked sweet potato fries that will make you forget that scary concoction your sweet Aunt Estelle used to bring to family gatherings.

Honestly, it's just a vegetable!

That should get you started.  Okay, Indiana Jones, get out there and try something new to you.  There won't be a test, but there will be another list with some more familiar-but-not-to-you vegetables.  Until then, bon appetit!  

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Market From the Perspective of an East Nashville Resident

East Nashville Farmers Market by Lauren Widelitz

Every Wednesday my little part of the city holds a farmers market. 
The East Nashville Farmers Marketis located on a little plot of land next to a church 
in five points. 
This might be the second or third year of the market, I can't remember. 
What I do know is that every Wednesday night on my way home from work
 I stop by to look at the beautiful produce, pick up my CSA, 
and enjoy some outdoor entertainment.

Squash from Flying S Farms

This year after much research, Steve and I decided to get our CSA through Flying S Farms
We found their price pretty reasonable. Also, I could personally attest to the quality, 
as I have been buying from this vendor for a while now. 
A sweet older gentleman in overalls and a trucker hat always helps me out. 
He always greets me with a smile and recommends ways of cooking that week's produce. 
Since it's late spring/early summer we have been living on squash.
 Every BBQ I have attended I have brought along a pile of roasted summer squash. 
It is very tasty, but I'm running out of ideas on how to cook the little buggers. 
Anyone have any creative squash recipies?

Flying S Banner

After picking up my basket and seeing my veggie options for the week, 
I like to walk around and find other good things that I could use in cobbling together a meal.
 I'm proud to say that Steve and I are cheese obsessed and I always have to sample the 
goodness from Kenny's Farmhouse Cheese. The lady who staffs the East Nash booth is 
super friendly and always lets me sample as many as I want. 
I normally buy the Garlic Paprika Jack, but I wanted to branch out so I asked for 
the Garden Herb Havarti. Apparently many other people had the same idea and 
they just sold their last slice. So after sampling a few more, I decided on the Cumin Gouda. 
This cheese is delicious and addicting. Whole Cumin seeds are dotting throughout and the 
cheese melts nicely (I made a quesadilla with the stuff). 
I hope I am courageous enough to branch out again and try something new next time. 

Alfresco Pasta also has a booth. Get some veggies, some cheese and some pasta and 
you have a complete meal. I've purchased from Alfresco in the past. 
Everything comes frozen with simple cooking directions. 
I recently made the Southern Sweet Corn and Mascarpone Ravioli in Beet Pasta and loved it. 
I really wanted to get two servings of the squid ink pasta, 
but they only come frozen in bulk portions of 12.  
I like squid pasta and all, but I don't want a whole freezer full of it. 
Alfresco, if you are reading, go back to selling single pasta portions of your noodles! 
Also, if you don't have time- they sell pasta sauce too!

Besides Flying S, there are a handful more produce vendors at the market. 
Most people carry the same things, but sometimes you find some unique to one vendor or
 the price is just much better. I wanted small onions to cook up with some kale and I purchased those from the Delvin Farms booth. They looked the freshest and were the cheapest. Good deal for me. 

Delvin Farms Produce

Delvin Farms CSA Basket

Nashville Foodscapes- Gardening with food!

Finally, I think it might be good to take a look at what was in our CSA basket this week. 
As you can see the basket itself was overflowing with green goodness. 

This week's CSA included lettuce, kale, a whole ton of squash, cucumbers and blueberries. 
What will I get today? Tune in next week!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

What To Do with Your Market Goodies

From Guest blogger Megan Wicks:

The East Nashville Farmer's Market has been up and running for a little over a month this summer, and it's absolutely beautiful! From the gorgeous cheeses at Kenny's Cheese and Noble Springs Dairy and the other lovely dairy products provided by Hatcher's Family Dairy to the beautiful berries and tomatoes gracing the tables at Delvin Farms and today, the market is bursting with delicious, wholesome delights.

Happy children enjoyed Izzy's Ice ( and other lovely treats while shopping with their families for food for the week. Our little guy dug into the lemon, while the hubs and I split a mango/watermelon combo. It was delicious!

New thing I learned this week:
You can use your debit card at the market info booth in exchange for tokens to spend at themarket! Just in case your favorite farmer isn't able to accept credit cards, you have an option! EBT/foodstamps are also accepted.

How I'm using my Farmer's Market finds (so far) this week:
Tonight we made tacos, and I dressed them up with a chiffonade of spinach and quartered cherry tomatoes of red and gold (both from Delvin Farms). It's a tasty and easy way to slip veggies into a simple meal. Tomorrow morning, I plan to make a smoothie with more of the spinach, some greek yogurt, and blueberries from another farm stand (I'll remember to write down the farmer next week). I know the smoothie recipe sounds a bit strange, but I promise it's delicious and you really don't taste the spinach over the berries!
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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Labels and Fables: The Truth About Organic Certification

by Jas Faulkner 

One of the more difficult to navigate talking points when it comes to generating interest in buy and selling local products is the price.  Everyone wants to do the right thing, but there are few, if any consumers who don't balk the first time they see exactly how much they are going to pay for a bundle of kale or a pint of tomatoes.  No matter how pretty they are, no matter how good they taste, there is still the matter of the cost.

The matter can get even touchier when  vendors at some markets (who are more often than not resellers) claim that "organic certification is nothing but a label."  Some vendors and even some growers will go so far as to make claims that their produce is organic "in every way except by name."  The problem comes down to how the definition of organic could vary from grower to grower.    Even if one works with the idea that everyone is operating with the best of intentions, there is still too much guesswork involved and at this stage, with so much that is questionable being defined as potential food, it's also a bit risky.

Some people claim that the question, to be or not to be organic, comes down to paperwork and expense.  Looking at it from that perspective, it's easy to dismiss the protests that, in spite of the fact that there are fewer chemical or technological interventions going into organic crops, they are costlier to produce.  During an interview with Amy Delvin of Delvin Farms she discussed the process that farmers go through in order to get certified by the USDA.  Aside from the mountain of paperwork, farmers must keep meticulous records about the sources they use for their seeds and everything else they employ in the business of growing their crops. In addition to those formalities, each farmer is completely responsible for making arrangements for the required inspection by a USDA agent.  Doing so isn't as simple as paying a fee and waiting for someone to show up from the local agriculture extension office.  Farmers are on the hook for airfare, accommodations, a per diem for meals on top of the fees they have to pay for the inspection itself.  Once a farm passes the test, they are also required to pay a percentage back to the USDA National Organic Program.  The process of record-keeping and proof of compliance is unending.

At the same time, it has its rewards for both growers and their customers. For farmers, there is the satisfaction of having proof of the hard work that goes into creating organic crops.  For consumers there is the confidence that comes from knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that the food you put on your table is safe .   How to tell if the person who grows your food is certified?  Look for the seal pictured above.  Ask questions. Rodale has some useful tips for finding out if a farmer is organic right here. The mission of ENFM is to create a place for you to get your food directly from the person who raised it.

That kind of relationship is actually kind of rare  in today's mercantile economy, and yet it occurs at  210 South 10th  Street over and over from 3:30 to 6:30 every Wednesday.  What are you doing this coming Wednesday?  Why not join us?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Locally Bred and Locally Fed

A happy cow grazes at West Wind Farms.
According to a Reuters-NPR poll, meat is the item most often cited as being a cause for concern when it comes to food safety. Over the past fifteen years, phrases that were not part of food talk as we know it were suddenly being muttered with the same kind of fear that poxes and polio held for our great- and great-great-grandparents.  Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease and other scary but often misunderstood terms gave names to the fear that can come with being so separated from the sources of our food.

For many, it became a zero sum sort of problem, with the only workable solution being the eradication of meat from the pantry.  What many Nashvillians don't realize is that there are alternatives to buying meat from livestock that is fed and processed in environments that compromise the safety and quality of our food supply. Local farmers, many of whom are regular vendors at the ENFM, provide a wide range of meat that is much safer and frankly, tastier than the meat offered by local chain supermarkets.

Hatcher Family Dairy introduced ground
beef  to their product line last week.
How do you know what's right for you?  Here's a quick rundown of some of the terms you might encounter:

grass fed -This means that the animal was allowed to graze on grass until it was time to be processed.

grass finished - grass finished livestock are allowed to graze in a pasture right up until they are slaughtered

organic -  this designation meets USDA standards for all organic foods

grain fed/vegetarian fed - these animals are not fed anything that contains animal byproducts.
Peaceful Pastures offers soap and wool
as well as meat products. 

Aside from the wide variety of meats available: chicken, pork, beef, lamb and goat; the members of the ENFM who specialize in the stuff that moos, quacks, oinks and clucks also offer products you might not expect.  Check out the websites below for more information.

Hatcher Family Dairy: ground beef, butter, milk, cream, ice cream

Peaceful Pastures: beef, chicken, pork, goat, lamb, duck, sausage, wool, soap, eggs, CSA available

West Wind Farms:  beef, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, cheese, pet food, produce, CSA available.

Over the course of the summer, we will be talking with each of these vendors to find out more about what they do.