What’s at the Market?

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!

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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.

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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..”

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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!

2nd Annual Pie Festival Winners!

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.

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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!

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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!

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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

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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!

Pie Fest for the Win!

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!

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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!

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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.

 

Freeze Berries for Summer Goodness All Winter Long!

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.

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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

Instructions:

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.

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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.

 

 

Eating With the Seasons at the East Nashville Farmers Market

 

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.

 

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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.

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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!

 

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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 Tips for Shopping at 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:

  1. 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!DSC_0123
  1. Bring cash. Most of our farmers accept credit or debit cards, and you can DSC_0094also get “tokens” with your credit or debit card at the market information tent to spend with our vendors. Either way, cash is always appreciated!

 

 

 

  1. 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.DSC_1061
  1. 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.DSC_0974
  1. 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!DSC_1059

 

How to Store Leafy Greens

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.

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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!

 

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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.

Find the Best Local Flowers and Plants at the East Nashville Farmers Market

 

Our local farmers are still planting for the season, and our home gardeners are filling their homes with flowers and garden plants. It’s not too late to get your home garden started! Where can you find the best flowers and plants for your garden? The East Nashville Farmers Market, of course! Talk to the farmer who grows your food- they are the same ones who grow your plants for your own garden.

DSC_0093Garden plants and flowers are an easy way to bring “locally grown” to your home garden, and a wonderful way to teach children how to grow food. Talk to Jami and Rusell from Slocal or the farmers from Laurel Mountain Farm for vegetable starter plants and herbs. They will tell you what kind of garden plant it is, how deep to plant it, how much room DSC_0922it needs and how much water it needs. They will tell you the signs to look for when it’s ready to harvest, and they will even tell you how to cook it when it’s ready!

 

 

 

 

 

For beautiful flowers in your home there’s no need for a flower delivery service. You can buy beautiful and unique arrangements made for you from Whites Creek Flower Farm.

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The difference between buying local plants from the East Nashville Farmers Market and a big box store or nursery is our farmers have already “hardened” them to grow in the same conditions as your home garden. Buying from the farmers who know the plants and flowers that will do best in our climate only makes sense, and you can’t get more local than that!

 

See you at the East Nashville Farmers Market, every Wednesday 3:30-7:00pm in Shelby Park.

 

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Try Meat at the Farmers Market!

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Our local farmers have just what you need for last minute dinner ideas after work. The possibilities for a menu are endless with fresh ingredients from our farmers including spring carrots from Bloomsbury Farm, beautiful swiss chard from Delvin Farms, fresh herbs from Slocal, lettuces from Green Door Gourmet, wild spinach from Lost Weekend Farm, baby kale from Flying S Farms, greens from Athena’s Harvest, and strawberries from Kelley’s Berry Farm.

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For a complete meal, add a meat from any of our meat farmers including Wedge Oak Farm, Quarter Springs Farm, Tavalin Tails Farm, Triple L Ranch and Laurel Mountain Farm, and maybe try a meat you may have never tried before, such as lamb. Lamb is a meat that many people are scared to try, but lamb is a good source of omega 3 fats, the healthy fats that have been shown to reduce inflammation and guard against cancer and heart disease. It is also has less saturated fat than other meats. Lamb has a delicious flavor and is not “smelly” or “mutton tasting” as its reputation has been.

I’ve always thought the lamb farmers got the short end of the marketing stick. For example- the beef industry marketed the Angus breed well, and now everyone looks for the Angus beef symbol at restaurants. When people talk about lamb, they conjure up ideas of the tiny cute fluffy balls in the field standing next to their mommas. Not so! Lamb meat is a full grown sheep, so be reassured when you order lamb meat from any of our local farmers, you are not eating the cute animal you had at your daughter’s Easter photo shoot.

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Lamb is easy to prepare and not to be confused with the meat you only serve at fancy meals or special occasions. It pairs well with mint, basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme (all herbs our local farmers like Athena’s Harvest, Bloomsbury Farm, Slocal and Lost Weekend Farm grow), and there are plenty of quick and easy meals you can make during your workweek.
Here are a few ideas:
-Ground Lamb: Use ground lamb from Tavalin Tails Farm or Triple L Ranch. Add some salt and pepper for delicious lamb burgers, or mix it with oregano, rosemary and thyme for meatballs served over a bed of mixed greens.
-Lamb Shoulder: Add this cut of lamb to a slow cooker with salt, pepper and oregano and forget about it for about 6 hours. Make some kale from Flying S Farms or swiss chard from Green Door Gourmet and you have a fantastic, easy meal brimming with health benefits.
-Leg of Lamb Steaks: No need to make a fancy leg of lamb. To get the same taste in a fraction of the time, choose leg of lamb steaks from Tavalin Tails Farm or Triple L Ranch. Marinate it in olive oil or herbs from Galina Garlic and grill it for a meal made in 15 minutes!

For lamb and more, visit any of the farmers mentioned above at the East Nashville Farmers Market every Wednesday in Shelby Park 3:30-7:00pm.

Strawberry, Spinach and Snap Pea Salad

 

Spinach, Snap Pea and Strawberry Salad Recipe

Strawberry Salad strawberries

Kelley’s Berry Farm Strawberries

The farmers at our market are in full spring produce mode, and every week more and more beautiful veggies are showing up at the market.

This week Lost Weekend Farms had sugar snap peas, perfect for this simple salad. Strawberries and spinach can be found at many of our vendor’s booths, along with parsley, eggs and even the olive oil needed! To make this recipe you will need:

peas for strawberry salad

Beautiful snap peas from Lost Weekend Farms.

Ingredients:
1-2 bunches of spinach, thoroughly washed and torn
1 pound of snap peas, sliced on the diagonal
1 pint of strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
¼ cup of walnuts, toasted
2-3 hard boiled eggs, cooled, peeled and quartered

A handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped, a generous snipping of fresh chives, and a good glug of olive oil, red wine vinegar to taste, salt and pepper.

Arrange the peas, strawberries, walnuts and eggs over a bed of spinach.  Sprinkle with the parsley and chives, and toss with the olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.

Serves 2 as a meal, or 4 as a side, and is particularly good with fresh bread and good company!

 

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