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!

 

Join a CSA for Locally Grown Right to Your Home!

A CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, is a program that pairs a farmer with a customer who is buying a “share” of the farm. The farmer delivers their share once a week, or sometimes once a month. There are many ways in which farmers set up a CSA program, and you can find the one that fits you at the East Nashville Farmers Market! We have several farms who offer vegetable CSA’s: Delvin Farms, Athena’s Harvest, Quarter Spring Farm, Bloomsbury Farm, Lost Weekend Farm and Flying S Farms, and three farms who offer meat CSA’s: Tavalin Tails Farm, Wedge Oak Farm and Triple L Ranch.

Picking up a CSA box of fresh veggies with Sweet Strawberries.

Picking up a CSA box of fresh veggies with Sweet Strawberries. 

Ten Reasons to Join a CSA

  1. Support a local farm and learn how your food is grown. We all have a doctor for our health, but what about a farmer? With a CSA you can have a personal relationship with your farmer and get to know who is growing your food and how. By buying a CSA, your money goes directly to your local economy, your personal farmer, and you are helping to keep the family farm alive while having access to healthy, nutritious food.
  1. Learn how to eat with the seasons You will eat leafy greens in the Spring and Fall, tomatoes and cucumbers in the Summer and root vegetables in the Winter. This is how we are meant to eat- with the seasons when produce is at its best and flavor is delectable.
  1. You will learn to eat a variety of food  You may not know what to do with kale now, but if you join a CSA you’ll get the opportunity to learn to cook vegetables you’ve never tried.
  1. The Fruits and Vegetables are fresh  Unlike fruits and vegetables in a grocery store that are harvested with shelf life in mind, the fruits and vegetables harvested for a CSA are hours old, at their ultimate peak of flavor and freshness.
  1. Committing to a CSA will force you to eat more fruits and vegetables  By buying a CSA share, you will have access to fresh fruits and vegetables every week. You won’t want to waste those veggies, and you will end up with healthy eating!
  1. You’ll cook more  Many CSA’s give their customers recipes for what is in the CSA box. You’ll learn to cook things you never knew about and you’ll feel accomplished! Cooking at home will save you money in the long run, too.
  1. A CSA saves you money  Compared to buying the same amount/volume in the grocery store, joining a CSA will save you money. You’ll have to go to the grocery less, too.
  1. There are Vitamin and Flavor Benefits of CSA fruits and Vegetables  When a fruit or vegetable is harvested, it immediately begins losing vitamin content. Having your veggies hours old ensures you are getting the most out of the nutritional content possible!
  1. Protect the Environment  Buying from a local farm ensures that your food does not have to travel the average 1500 miles of grocery store food. You are lessening your carbon footprint by consuming food that is locally grown in a CSA. A small family farm is going to be as sustainable as they can in their growing methods and protect the land- after all, this is their livelihood and it is in their best interest to protect the environment!
  1. Get back to your roots  We are now three generations removed from the family farm and our children do not know how food is grown. Participating in a CSA allows you to connect to the farmer, to visit the farm and get back to your roots! Many CSA’s allow you to volunteer on the farm, and others hold open houses to give you a tour.

You  can find a CSA farmer at the East Nashville Farmers Market, every Wednesday form 3:30-7:00pm in Shelby Park. Stop by and meet your farmer!

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Wedge Oak Farm Meat CSA

 

First Farmers Market of 2016 Success!

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Kelley’s Berry Farm jam and fresh berries

 

 

The first farmers market of the season got off to a bang-literally- as we scrambled amid rolling clouds and rain to set up in the parking lot. A large storm blew through and knocked produce over, scattered papers and toppled tables, and we clung to our tents to keep them from flying. Moments later the sun emerged as if nothing happened! Loyal customers came out with rain gear on and supported the local farmers and artisans.

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This week we set up in the parking lot due to the rain.

There were many new vendors and some familiar faces at the first market of the season. New this year are more CSA options! You can get a vegetable and a meat CSA from our local farmers. Our vegetable CSA farmers include Flying S Farm, Bloomsbury Farm and Delvin Farms. Our Meat CSA include Wedge Oak Farm and Tavalin Tails Farm. Check them out next week and meet your farmer!

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Wedge Oak Farm Meat CSA

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Flying S Farms has a vegetable CSA at the market, too!

 

Come out next week and plan to stay for a picnic dinner with our food trucks, Four and Twenty Blackbirds and Bradley’s Ice Cream. Do your grocery shopping for the week, meet your farmers and your neighbors at the East Nashville Farmers Market!

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Grand Opening of the East Nashville Farmers Market

enfm.livemusic     Welcome Back, East Nashville! Wednesday May 4th at 3:30 pm will be the Grand Opening of the East Nashville Farmers Market for its 8th year! The market will run every Wednesday from May-Oct. from 3:30-7:00pm in Shelby Park. Next Wednesday there will be strawberries galore! Get there early for this once a year fruit that doesn’t last long. The first of the season’s berries is as delicious as that first tomato!

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This year we have over 40 vendors made up of local farmers, bakers and artisans. We are proud to be a producers only market! Every vendor at the market is the person who grows the food, raises the animal, bakes the bread, makes the cheese, or creates the artisan craft. Talk to your farmers and get to know them. We invite you to ask questions and learn more about the local producers at our market.

Jami and Russell Kirchner of Slocal Food

Jami and Russell Kirchner of Slocal Food

The East Nashville Farmers Market was the first market in the Nashville area to offer SNAP/EBT market wide. We are honored to once again offer EBT/SNAP benefits allowing everyone access to healthy food.

This marks the 8th year of the East Nashville Farmers market. We have grown from a few vendors selling outside the Turnip Truck, to a large farmers market offering a one-stop shopping venue. You can purchase your bread, meat, milk, cheese, produce and more and be assured that your purchases are supporting small family farms while giving back to your local economy and community.

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We look forward to another great season and have many surprises for you- from special events, to children’s activities, chef demos and classes, we are excited to be back with our community at the East Nashville Farmers Market!

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If you have any questions about the market, the farmers, or how EBT works please visit us at the market information booth in the center of the market. We will see you every Wednesday beginning May 4th, 2016!

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