Mark your calendars for the annual East Nashville Farmers Market Fall Fest September 21!
The weather is cooling off at night and summer is making its farewell. In East Nashville, that means we’re getting ready for the annual Fall Fest! This year we will have kids activities, pumpkin painting, live music and more to go along with our already festive farmers market.
The Fall Fest is free, and all you have to do is show up, shop some to support our local farmers, and have fun!
In addition to live music, we will have special food trucks for your dinner, and plenty of entertainment for the whole family! Look for more information soon, and join us every Wednesday in Shelby Park 3:30-7:00pm until the end of October.
The best of the summer vegetables are at the market now, and soon it will be winter. What do these two things have in common? Freezing and preserving your farmers market purchases! I’m not one who loves to can or preserve fruits and vegetables, but I know that I will regret this in the winter. Therefore, I have recently started freezing my fruits and vegetables in less time than it takes to cook a meal! Here are some quick and easy tips for freezing the best of summer’s bounty, bell peppers, corn and tomatoes. All you need are freezer bags and a knife!
These are the easiest to freeze. All you have to do is wash the pepper, remove the core and seeds, dice or cut into strips, place it in a freezer bag, remove as much air as possible and seal it shut. That’s it! Seriously! This winter you can enjoy them in stir fry, chili or soups.
Some people make freezing corn a little more complicated than necessary. I’ve found that my corn does just as well if I don’t blanch it and use one of the following techniques:
ON THE COB: Shuck, wash and remove silks then place ears of corn onto clean kitchen towel(s) and let them dry. Finish drying them with a paper towel and wrap each individual ear in plastic wrap. Now you can store several ears in gallon ziplock bags and pull out one or two ears out at a time this winter.
CORN “OFF” THE COB: Shuck, silk and wash ears of corn. In a large bowl, hold ear of corn at an angle and using a really sharp knife cut kernels only in half all the way down. Now use the back on knife blade and scrape the cob. This will allow you to get the corn milk. Spoon into ziplock bags and do NOT add water. Place into freezer in freezer bags. Make sure the freezer bags are flat.
Peel and core. Place into freezer bags either whole or cut up to your liking. Do NOT add water; just get the air out and zip up. Another way I’ve done it is to blanch the tomatoes whole, remove the peel after blanching and placed them in a freezer bag. These are good for chili and soups in the winter.
Enjoy! It might take you an hour, but you’ll be glad to have corn, tomatoes and bell peppers this winter. Ask one of our farmers for a “canning or freezing” bulk price! We’ll see you at the market!
From August 7- August 13, Farmers Markets across the country will celebrate National Farmers Market Week. The impact of these farmer direct to consumer transactions have more impact than you would think on our local economy and farmland. Farmers Markets serve as an incubator for many businesses, positively influencing community health and increase access to fresh, nutritious food.
The East Nashville Farmers Market has certainly been the incubator for many of Nashville’s most popular businesses, as I discussed in last week’s blog.
But more than that, the East Nashville Farmers Market was the first market in Middle TN to accept SNAP market wide. This means customers, for the first time, were able to purchase from any vendor they chose with their SNAP/EBT. Now nearly every market accepts SNAP, and we are even more fortunate to have the “Double SNAP” program from Piedmont Gas that allows us to offer an additional $20 for customers to spend on fruits and vegetables!
Nationwide, the amount of SNAP benefits redeemed at farmers markets increased nearly 450% from 2009 ($4.2 million) to 2014 ($18.8 million) according to the Farmers Market Coalition. We are proud to start the movement in Nashville for markets to accept SNAP!
The East Nashville Farmers Market is also helping to preserve farmland. Farmers Market Coalition states: Between 2007 and 2012, America lost more than 95,000 mostly mid-sized family farms, while the average age of American farmers increased to nearly 60. Farmers market serve as business incubators that allow farmers, ranchers, and entrepreneurs to keep overheads low and test new products and markets.
Our market is home to many small family farms who depend on our market for their livelihood and our customers depend on them for their fresh, locally grown food. We are producers only market, meaning no resellers and only farmers, so you can be assured that your favorite farmer is the one who raises/makes/bakes the product you love!
Thank you for helping us to celebrate National Farmers Market Week, and thank you for supporting our farmers!
Next week we’ll celebrate National Farmers Market Week! We will be celebrating all things farmers market- artisan breads, juice, dog treats, pasta, flowers, tea, herbs, food trucks, cheese, meat and produce!
Shopping at the farmers market is more than just the fun of connecting with your community. Many small businesses and family farms rely on farmers markets to get their businesses started and to keep them going! There are over 8,200 farmers markets in the United States, and recent research shows that small businesses such as bakeries rely on local markets to for a customer base, to try out new products on customers, to learn what customers want, and to connect with farmers who can supply them with ingredients. The same can be said about farmers- many farmers use farmers markets to connect with chefs who shop at markets for their restaurants and to form a customer base for CSA’s.
The East Nashville Farmers Market began in 2007, and we have been the venue to help start many of Nashville’s best small businesses that now have their own brick and mortar or who sell at major stores such as Whole Foods and Kroger including: Juice.Nashville, Porter Rd Butcher, 8th and Roast, Soberdough, Papa C Pies, Chubby Bunny, Hummus Chick, Alfresco Pasta, Provence Bread, Noble Springs Dairy, Hatcher Dairy and Dozen Bakery. We may be forgetting a few who have started their business with us through the years, but we can assure you that they all hold a special place in our heart because we “knew them when..”
We predict that there are many of our vendors with us today who will go on to open their own stores, or get into major retail chains that will propel them to be able to quit their full time jobs and be their own boss! The East Nashville Farmers Market and you as the customer play an important role in giving back to the local economy by shopping local and keeping your dollar in your community. Our artisan bakers and farmers rely on our market, not just to “try out products” on customers, but to make a living by bringing you the freshest, local food you can find!
Who is your favorite farmer or baker at the market? Would you rather see their products in major stores, or do like having them “all to yourself” at your local market? Let us know how the farmers market makes a difference in your world!
The 2nd Annual Pie Festival was a tasty treat on an ordinary Wednesday in East Nashville. Customers enjoyed more summer produce with the local farmers at the market, while the community gathered to see who gets the bragging rights for winning the best tasting pie! Children were entertained with games, crafts and face painting while live music greeted customers who had dinner with one of our food trucks.
We had 24 entries in the categories of savory and sweet. Thank you to our judges, Jill Melton of Edible Magazine, Laura Wilson of Nashville Grown and Rebecah Boynton, East Nashville Pie Festival Founder, and event coordinator at the Nashville Farmers Market. We know that they had a tough time tasting all those pies and the decision was not an easy one!
Jill Melton, Rebecah Boynton and Laura Wilson were our 2nd Annual Pie Festival Judges
After many tastings, the winners were announced and the crowd was able to sample all the entries!
Market customers were treated to free pie samples from all the pie entries
The winners in the Savory Pie Category are:
1st Place in Savory: Celeste Davidson for her Tomato Pie
2nd Place in Savory: Alain Treville for his Lamb Pie
3rd Place in Savory: Lynn Jones for her Zucchini Pie
1st Place Savory Pie, Celeste Davidson with Tomato Pie
In the Sweet Pie Category, our winners were:
1st Place- Samika Cohen with her Lemon Chess Pie
2nd Place Tracy Treville with creme Brulee
3rd Place Billie Ruth Brownell with Lemony Blueberry Crisp.
1st Place for Lemon Chess Pie, Samika Cohen
The East Nashville Farmers Market is every Wednesday from 3:30-7:00pm in Shelby Park from now until the end of October. You can find local farmers and bakers, food trucks, live music and fun for kids. Come out and meet the East Nashville community AND meet your farmer!
Get ready East Nashville for the 2nd Annual Pie Festival and Bake-Off to be held July 20th at the East Nashville Farmers Market from 3:30-7:00pm. You say that someone once told you that your chicken pot pie was better than anything they had ever tasted? Come prove it! If apple pie is your go-to dessert for potluck dinners, let the community decide if you get bragging rights!
The East Nashville Pie Festival and Bake-Off is quickly becoming the event of the summer and you don’t want to miss it! Local celebrity judges will make their final decisions on who deserves the pie prize and market customers will be able to sample the pies after the winners have been announced at 6pm. There will be live music, food trucks, kids games and adult conversation- all while eating pie!
There will be three categories for the contest: sweet, savory and hand pie. We know that Catherine of Flying S Farms makes an amazing hand pie. If you have one that you think can beat her’s, come on out and enter the contest! For contest rules and submission visit this link: Pie Festival
Besides the pie festival we have our weekly farmers market featuring local meat, produce and more from our farmers. Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and melons are in season along with fresh sweet corn, peppers, eggplant and tomatoes! Come do your weekly shopping while you enjoy the ambience of a good ole American Pie Festival! We’ll see you this week from 3:30-7:00pm in Shelby Park.
The East Nashville Farmers Market has many options for delicious summer berries. Did you know that you can freeze berries to last all winter long? If you like blueberries or blackberries in the winter for muffins, pancakes, cobblers, pies or just in a bowl, imagine how good it would taste if you had picked a couple of quarts fresh and then quickly froze them at home! Freezing is one of the simplest ways to put up a fruit for the winter.
Fresh Blackberries from Delvin Farms
Below is how to do it, complete instructions in easy steps! Your own frozen blueberries will taste MUCH better than anything you’ve ever had from a store. I’m using blueberries as an example, but this same process works exactly the same for any other berries such as raspberries and blackberries.
Directions for Freezing Blueberries, Ingredients and Equipment
fresh berries – any quantity
Vacuum food sealer or “ziploc” type freezer bags (the freezer bag version is heavier and protects better against freezer burn).
pan or tray that will fit in your freezer
strainer or colander
Step 1 – Buy Your Blueberries at the East Nashville Farmers Market! Start with the freshest blueberries you can get. Look for plump, full blueberries with a good color. I’ve used blueberries as an example, but these directions would equally well for any similar berry.
Kelley’s Berry Farm Blueberries
Step 2 – Wash the blueberries? No! You should not wash blueberries because it results in a tougher skinned product, but you can wash raspberries and blackberries and pat them dry with a paper towel. For blueberries, just pick the dirt out and wash them later when you thaw them by rinsing them in cold water.
Step 3 – Spread the blueberries in a pan. There are two ways of doing this. If you have space in your freezer, spread the berries out in a large oven pan with a lip or ridge. Put enough on to make 1 layer so they will freeze quickly and not be frozen together in a lump. Later you can remove only what you need without thawing the rest! If your freezer isn’t that big, just put them into whatever container will fit in your freezer. After they are frozen, they may stick together a little bit, but should break apart fairly easily.
Step 4 – Put them in the freezer! Pop them into the coldest part of the freezer, or the quick freeze shelf, if your freezer has one. You may want to leave them in the freezer overnight so the berries get completely frozen.
Step 5- Bag the blueberries. A vaccum seal bag is great, but if you don’t have them a ziploc bag work, too! Remove as much as the air as you can to prevent drying and freezer burn. To remove the excess air from a ziploc bag, put a straw inside the bag and zip it closed as far as possible, then suck the air out of the bag. Pinch the straw shut where it enters the bag and pull it from the bag and quickly zip the bag the rest of the way.
Step 6- Done! Pop them into the deep freeze, or in the coldest part of your regular freezer!
When you are ready to use the blueberries – Thaw, wash and sort the blueberries. To thaw them, just set them in the fridge overnight, or on the counter for a couple of hours. You can then rinse them under cold water and get ready to enjoy them in your favorite dish or by themselves!
Kelley’s Berry Farm blueberries, blackberries and raspberries can all be frozen in the same way.
So don’t forget about the winter- buy some extra at the market this week and follow this simple freezing tip to enjoy summer’s goodness all winter long.
Shopping at the East Nashville Farmers market means you will be eating with the seasons, and there’s no better way than eating fresh and seasonal. Eating produce that is in season can lower your food costs since you won’t be paying for expensive fruit shipped from Chile, for example. It will also help to eliminate environmental damage caused by shipping foods across thousands of miles and the produce tastes better! The benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables are numerous.
Sometimes seasonal eating can be tough to incorporate into our meals. Many people only purchase produce that is familiar to them, whether it is in season or not. Everyone has go-to meals that they eat regularly and by learning to adjust these meals you can include new produce that is at the East Nashville Market. For a quick guide to seasonal produce, check out the Pick TN Products chart.
There are many simple tips to try if you are struggling to eat seasonally:
For seasonal fruit, you can always find a new smoothie to try or just add it to some low-fat yogurt as a snack.
If you are looking for a new way to use vegetables try chicken or fish fajitas. Fajitas can be customized to fit any season and can be made healthy, too!
If spaghetti is a go-to meal of yours try adding mixed vegetables to your sauce while it simmers. A personal favorite of mine is zucchini. It’s also a great way to trick the children into getting their veggies!
If cooking in the winter, soup is always a good way to go. Find a basic recipe then add any vegetables from the farmers market. Soup is also great in the summer, as there are many cold soups made from tomatoes that are superb!
Don’t be intimated about eating seasonally, and don’t be afraid to try something new! Our farmers can tell you not only how something is grown but also the best way to prepare it. So go ahead, eat with the seasons from the East Nashville Farmers Market!
Five Shopping Tips at the East Nashville Farmers Market
The East Nashville Farmers Market is a producer-only farmers market, meaning, in order to sell at our produce market you have to make it, bake it or grow it yourself. This special quality about our farmers market means that you will be eating with the seasons. Locally grown is even better at the farmers market when you are prepared! Here are five tips for shopping at the East Nashville Farmers Market:
Come early! If you want a full selection of fruit and produce from our farmers get there early before things sell out. Kelly’s Berries has the widest selection of berries, but don’t expect to get there at 7pm and take any home for yourself! Our farmers’ tomatoes, squash and corn go quickly, too!
Bring cash. Most of our farmers accept credit or debit cards, and you can also get “tokens” with your credit or debit card at the market information tent to spend with our vendors. Either way, cash is always appreciated!
Get to know our farmers! The person who grows your food is the very person who can tell you how to prepare it and how to store it. Our farmers can tell you about their growing practices, when an item was picked, and when to expect your seasonal favorites, like early hoop house grown tomatoes from Delvin Farms, or beautiful sprouts and tomatoes from Bloomsbury Farm . Tavalin Tails Farm can tell you the best way to prepare their amazing all natural meats. For other meat tips, talk to Karen from Wedge Oak Farm and try Ann Lee’s all natural steak recipe from Triple L Ranch.
Try something new. It’s always fun to experiment with a new fruit or vegetable you’ve never tried. This can be said of any product at our market- not just vegetables! Try a new juice flavor from Fountain of Juice or a new butter flavor from Wise Butter. How about a new variety of cheese you’ve never tried from Lost River Creamery ? The possibilities of trying something new are endless.
Involve your children! What better way to teach your children where their food comes from then having them talk to the farmer who grows it? (Great way to get in some social skills, too! Throw in some money to count for that bunch of greens and you just had a math lesson). The East Nashville Farmers Market is a community event and family friendly!
You’ve shopped at the East Nashville Farmers Market and have all your leafy greens for the week. You pull out your beautiful locally grown lettuce only to discover it’s wilted and slimy! This can happen to all of your leafy greens in just hours if you do not store your greens the right way. Don’t toss them in the fridge without a plastic bag or they will wilt due to moisture loss. However, don’t seal them wet in a plastic bag without a paper towel, or they will get slimy and rot.
Here is a simple guide on how to store your greens:
1. First, always wait until you’re ready to eat them before you wash your greens. If you wash them too early it will foster rot.
2. Once you get your greens home from the market, wrap them in a paper towel and place them in a plastic bag. It’s best to store them in the crisper.
3. If you don’t go home after the market and have left your greens in the car for a few hours, they may be wilted when you get home. You can “shock” them back to freshness by dipping them in cold ice water, or you can cut the stems as you would fresh cut flowers and place them in a container of water to refresh them, then put them in the refrigerator.
4. Containers are essential for storing your greens in the refrigerator, and there are many options:
• Plastic bags – you can use an old grocery store bag, or ziplock bags
• Plastic containers- if you are short on crisper drawer place, place greens in a plastic container with a locking lid
• Green bags, the “As Seen on TV” kind work really well and can be found in grocery stores, too!
Whatever type of container you choose, make sure you have a paper towel, newspaper or kitchen towel in them to soak up excess moisture and ward off rot and slime!
And finally, for best results eat delicate lettuces within 2 days of purchasing at the farmers market. Hardier greens like romaine lettuce, kale, swiss chard, and collards can last up to a week in the fridge.
Find your favorite farmers with leafy greens at the East Nashville Farmers Market every Wednesday 3:30-7:00pm.