Farmers Market Opening Day, May 6th 2015

Families take in and enjoy a beautiful spring opening day

Families take in and enjoy a beautiful spring opening day

Spring has arrived and we’re excited to announce the opening of the East Nashville Farmers Market 2015 season on May 6th in beautiful Shelby Park—your weekly neighborhood destination for locally-grown produce and much more. This year, we are thrilled to be welcoming back so many of our farmers and vendors, but happy to announce some new additions to our 2015 line-up, too. Expect to find your spring fruit and vegetable favorites on opening day, such as fresh Tennessee strawberries, asparagus, broccoli, and kale. Farm eggs, artisan breads, freshly-made tortillas, local cheeses, and other market staples will be waiting, too. But also keep a keen eye out for new specialty items such as cultivated exotic mushrooms, locally-made kimchees, keifers, hand-made teas, and more. So pack a blanket and stay a while; you’ll want see the exciting things we have to offer this year.

A new bike, walk, running trail runs right next to our farmers market

A new bike, walk, running trail runs right next to our farmers market

Last season, Shelby Park underwent some infrastructural renovations, but now the construction is complete and the park is more accessible than ever. Our available parking has nearly doubled and newly-paved bike lanes and greenways make it easier and safer for bikes and baby-strollers to reach market grounds. “We’re very excited to be in the same location. It’s a beautiful, grassy area,” says market owner Hank Delvin of Delvin Farms. The park also offers numerous amenities, including a nature center, wildlife and river viewing opportunities, and 950 acres of preserved greenways, so feel free to plan ahead and make a day of it.

Cool off with great tasting ice cream!

Cool off with great tasting ice cream!

We had many requests for more prepared food last year, so this season we will host more food trucks, like Crankee’s Pizzeria and Deg Thai, and local food vendors, like Bella Nashville Bakery and the Creole Diva, that offer dinner options for families to enjoy, including more vegetarian options. Bring a blanket and relax on the grassy lawn at the center of all the action where you can have a market-picnic with your East Nashville neighbors or simply relax to the sounds of the live bands. “The East Nashville Farmers Market is a place where people come to shop for local produce, but also meet neighbors and farmers, too,” says market manager Maggie Odle. Kids especially enjoy local ice cream from Bradley’s curbside Creamery, playing with friends, and story-time on the lawn (and getting their photograph taken by our market photographer has become a popular feature on our website.)

Food tasting is a regular event at Wednesday market

Food tasting is a regular event at Wednesday market

Our new season of special events will include a number of local chef demonstrations and kids’ activities such as a summertime tomato taste-off and Halloween pumpkin painting. The East Nashville Farmers Market is an exciting venue for chef’s to inspire creative meals using local ingredients and for kids to explore new tastes, smells, and sounds that spark a curiosity for food at a young age. “We want to give kids the opportunity to learn at our market, and get them interested in agriculture and food systems,” says Maggie. The market is also adjacent to the park playground and multiple swing sets, so be sure to bring the little ones along for an active and wholesome good time.

In addition to our new events, chef demonstrations, and kids’ activities, we are thrilled to be welcoming new farmers and vendors to our 2015 line-up. “I am very excited to have new, young farmers this year,” says Hank Delvin. “We will also have additional farmers, like Kelly’s Berry Farm, that will join mid-season to supply the market with summer blueberries and blackberries, and other farmers that will be supplying fresh corn, so that’s awesome.” We will have returning favorites, like the Peach Truck and Paradise Produce, but also expect new specialty items at the East Nashville Market this year, including handmade keifer, fermented kimchees, and specialty mushrooms from Whispering Creek Mushrooms.

Fresh picked produce every Wednesday at market

Fresh picked produce every Wednesday at market

Finally, the Piedmont Natural Gas sponsored “Snap Back” program will be returning for another year at the East Nashville Farmers Market. This means that the market gives an extra $20 for fresh fruits and vegetables to every recipient who spends 20 of their SNAP dollars with us–a “buy-one, get-one” for up to 20 SNAP dollars, if you will. “We want to better serve our under-served communities by making fresh produce more available and accessible,” says Maggie Odle. Encouraging healthy choices in our community is one of our goals.”

The ENFM kicks-off this year on May 6th, and will run through October every Wednesday afternoon from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. So bring your blanket and join the fun! We’re ready to see your familiar (and not-so familiar) faces once again.

Meet Bella Nashville Bakery, Local and Fresh Baked!

Fresh Baked Breads from Nashville Bella Bakery every Wednesday at the East Nashville Farmers Market

Fresh Baked Breads from Bella Nashville Bakery every Wednesday at the East Nashville Farmers Market

David Cuomo of Bella Nashville Bakery begins his work day while most of us are asleep, grinding organic heirloom wheat berries before the sun has thought to rise. As owner/operator of Bella Nashville Bakery, he believes this is how fresh baked bread begins— with an old-world approach using the purest ingredients. Each loaf, baguette, and bun is shaped by hand and pulled fresh out of the oven in his local East Nashville store. Locally-sourced produce and eggs, house-made pickles and condiments, and house-cured meats build every specialty sandwich. This dedication to ingredient integrity is why Bella Nashville Bakery has become the most sought-out spot for food-conscious Nashvillians, and one of the most popular vendors at the East Nashville Farmers Market for artisan breads and made-to-order sandwiches. And though it was his love for music that brought the Connecticut native to Tennessee, it is his talent for bread-making that has established his reputation as an exceptional baker and chef.

Like many of our food artisans at the market, Dave grew up with the cuisine of his heritage. “We were New Haven Italians,” he says. But with a military father, the family spent years bouncing around the States, and though the towns and regions were changing, they made sure to keep their Friday night traditions the same. “No matter where we were in the country, every Friday night was pizza night. Making pizzas as a family was how we stayed connected to our roots.”

An incredible breakfast bun, if you have not tried you are missing out!

An incredible breakfast bun, if you have not tried you are missing out!

During his teens, he worked at a few commercial pizza joints, but as he matured, he relocated to NYC where he discovered Anthony Mangieri’s wildly popular Una Pizza Napoletana in the East Village. This exposure to Mangieri’s food-purist philosophy first inspired Dave to master the skill himself. He began to research the art and science of making bread on his own. He studied the history, ancient techniques, and natural fermenting processes that occurred in kitchens long before store-bought ingredients existed. Whole grain wheat flour is house-milled—never bleached or adulterated—and yeast is naturally-harvested wild from the air. He experimented through trial and error to accomplish his ultimate goal—a dough that is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Soon after his transition South, Dave was serving his perfected Neapolitan-style pizzas at the award-winning Patterson House. His next step would be the launch of his own pizzeria, Bella Nashville, in May of 2012. From that venture naturally sprung the East Nashville bakery addition in April of 2014.

All locally sourced and made fresh at market

All locally sourced and made fresh at market

Fast forward to one year later, and Bella Nashville Bakery is a successful indie establishment. Customers— both east and west—file in from the streets to order off a 25-ft chalkboard and tap their feet to Elvis Costello. The bakery offers three crusty loaves (a sourdough, a whole wheat desem, and a demi-baguette), a wheat sandwich loaf, and a breakfast bun. Loaves can be purchased whole, straight off the rack or sliced and bagged to take home. Specialty sandwiches come in 3 styles: breakfast, lunch, or a build-your own, all with locally-grown or house-made accouterments.

Fresh picked heirloom tomatoes

Fresh picked heirloom tomatoes

“We have a very large customer base from Europe,” says staff member Alyson Grench. “They’re used to fresh bread and the processes we use here.” Bo Arrington from the sandwich line says that it’s the whole-grain taste that sets Bella’s bread apart. “It’s got substance to it. It’s hardy—you can really taste the freshness of the grains. That’s why I love it and never feel bad about eating it.”

Bella Bakery became an addition to the East Nashville Farmers Market in 2014. Dave says he wanted to meet more of his community, and he certainly has. Adults and kids alike love visiting the “bella booth” to view the giant loaves and taste samples of their fresh breads. And during tomato season, he is a favorite purveyor of the local tomato sandwich, made with sourdough, fresh sliced heirlooms, and a homemade aioli. It’s so popular, you have to arrive early before he sells out.

In closing, Bella Nashville Bakery gives our customers the opportunity to purchase fresh, wholesome bread baked a mile from our market and enjoy seasonal sandwiches made with Tennessee farm ingredients. For all of us at the ENFM, that’s something very special. But for Dave, it’s just another day at the grind.