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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.