Tag Archives: farm eggs

Tennessee Flaugnarde with Local Strawberries and Wildflower Honey

tennessee flaugnardeIf you’re like me, you enjoy the taste of seasonal local strawberries in their purest form—picked warm and fresh from the field and eaten straight out of the container purchased from a local farmer at the East Nashville Farmers Market. Their natural sweetness and supple texture set them worlds apart from the flavorless, bred-to-ship California varieties found in commercial grocery stores, making this ruby red fruit a regional delicacy. Yet, sometimes the qualities of our local strawberries can be degraded by the mounds of sugar and gelatin found in many Southern dessert recipes. Therefore, when I bring home a quart of these rare gems, I look for simple recipes with ingredients that compliment my berries, not degrade or overpower them, so their natural flavors shine through.

farm eggsOne fruit dessert that is light enough for my taste is a flaugnarde (FLOWN-niard), also referred to as a clafoutis (klah-foo-TEE). These berry-studded custards are local desserts from the rural Limousin region of France, the difference being which fruit is used in each: a clafoutis is traditionally baked with only black cherries, whereas a flaugnarde can be prepared with a variety of different fruits. How appropriate, I thought, to take such a classic French provincial dessert that showcases seasonal berries and make it sparkle with the flavors of Tennessee. With that in mind, I created a comforting yet light flaugnarde recipe containing 3 main ingredients produced by our local farmers and available at the East Nashville Farmers Market: strawberries, wildflower honey, and fresh farm eggs. I also opted to bake this dessert in my grandmother’s cast-iron skillet, but a buttered gratin or casserole dish, or even a cake or pie pan will work just as well.

strawberriesTo begin, I slathered my skillet with a small knob of butter and lightly dusted it with flour to prevent any sticking. I selected a quart of ripe strawberries from one of the local farmers at the East Nashville market, trimmed off the calyx and any soft spots, and rinsed them with a shower of cool water. Delvin Farms, Kelley’s Berry Farm, Green Door Gourmet, and Oak Grove Farm all have beautifully fragrant, plump, ripe berries for sale at the East Nashville market. Let your strawberries drain in a colander or on a dish towel while you mix the rest of your ingredients.

farmers marketNext, I poured 1 1/2 cup of whole milk (any type of milk will work fine, or try a milk/cream combo for a richer texture) into a mixing bowl and added 1/4 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or 1 scraped vanilla bean would be lovely if you have it on hand).

To the milk, I added 3 heaping tablespoons of Delvin Farms wildflower honey to give my flaugnarde just a hint of regional sweetness and depth of flavor. This honey is made by bees that pollinate crops on the Delvins’ certified organic farm, and is harvested and extracted on the farm by the Delvins themselves. It has a bright taste with notes of floral and citrus that compliment the flavors of strawberry and vanilla nicely.

Next, I cracked 3 beautifully colored farm eggs raised on the Botanical Harmony farm into my bowl. These eggs are laid by different breeds of local, free-range chickens. They have beautiful deep orange yolks that, when whisked into the milk and honey, added a lovely apricot glow to my batter. After the eggs are fully incorporated, I whisked in half a cup of all-purpose flour to give my custard a little substance and lift.

strawberry creamOnce my batter was fully combined, I diced my strawberries and added them to the skillet. Then, I poured the mixture on top and put the cast-iron into a preheated 350 degree oven for about 40-45 minutes. (Using my 12-inch cast-iron skillet created a thinner custard. For a thicker flaugnarde, bake in a 9-inch pan or pie plate.)

After 45 minutes, I removed a bubbling, fragrant, eggy fruit custard from my oven. The edges were perfectly golden brown and pulling away from the sides of my skillet, and the baked strawberry aroma filled the rooms of my home. This dessert can be served sliced after it cools down to room temperature, or scooped bubbling and hot fresh out of the oven. It also makes barely-sweet, delicious breakfast. In France, it is traditionally sprinkled with a dusting of powdered sugar. It can also be topped with a curl of vanilla ice cream. But since we’re in Tennessee, I drizzled my slice with an extra ribbon of Delvin Farms wildflower honey and enjoyed it on my back porch to the sounds of my favorite bluegrass band. Bon appétit, y’all.

Tennessee Flaugnarde

2 cups diced local Tennessee strawberries
1 1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teasoons pure vanilla extract or seeds of 1 vanilla bean
3 tablespoons wildflower honey
3 farm eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
butter for coating skillet
powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

No 9 Farms creates Farm Oasis in the Woods

Stephanie and Brian Oaks of No 9 Farms, along with their two children Tyler and Abigail, work together on their family farm to produce organic locally-grown herbs, berries, seasonal fruits and vegetables, and value-added products such as high-mineral seasoned salts and hand-crafted teas. Their 40 acre farm in Ashland City, TN, is flourishing into its second year and ever-evolving with added farm products available for every season. No. 9 Farms also provides organic gardening and seasonal cooking classes for members of the community to take a break from the city and learn more about farm living. The Oaks are dedicated to a nutrition-focused, sustainable lifestyle that is reflected in their products, and possess a tenacity for perseverance and hard work that makes the impossible possible.No9farms

In 2007, the family left their home in Seattle, WA, and bought a house in East Nashville where they quickly became a part of the community. They installed an edible backyard landscape, began growing food themselves, and purchased fresh local produce at the East Nashville Farmers Market. “Walking to the market every week was a big highlight for us as a family,” says Stephanie.  “We could purchase what we didn’t grow ourselves, and we really enjoyed it.” But as the kids became teenagers and the family began running out of space, Brian and Stephanie began to shift their focus from East Nashville to outside the city. “We wanted to teach our kids how to work,” she says, so the family purchased land in Ashland City in 2013.

It began as 40 acres of predominately woodland area, yet it was transformed into cultivatable land through Stephanie and Brian’s perseverance and hard work. “We really laid the infrastructure the first year,” says Stephanie. The couple cleared acres while slowly improving the soil and built a low-energy sustainable home with the help of members from the community. Through their first year, the Oaks’ farm slowly took shape, and by the second year, No. 9 Farms introduced pick-your-own berries,  gardening classes in the field, and cooking classes in their certified kitchen.

Arriving at No. 9 Farms today is like happening upon a farm oasis in the woods, with a sparkling creek running along its border that serves as cool respite for the family after a hot day in the field. A rasp of guinea fowl beside a wood-crafted hen house greets you as well as a greenhouse full of seedlings surrounded by rows of berries and herbs. The Oaks harvest fresh, organic parsley, fennel, dill, and a variety of basils, and sell them at the East Nashville Farmers Market as well as local tea companies and breweries. Customers are also welcomed at the farm by reservation to pick-up customized boxes of organic herbs, seasonal produce, and farm eggs.

No 9 farms butternut    “We wanted to create a place where people could come and make memories with their families away from the city,” says Stephanie. For her, the goal for No. 9 Farms was to educate—to teach the benefits of organic farming, living, and seasonal and healthy cooking to her community. This drive came from a personal place for Stephanie that influenced and shaped the family’s lifestyle and diet for years to come.

When her son was young, Stephanie was told what every mother dreads to hear—that Tyler was suffering from a fatal sickness that he likely could not survive. She became resolute—she would not accept that nothing could be done for her son and became staunchly committed to his recovery. She poured over research and studied naturopathic healing. A healthy diet with a holistic approach was the medicine and treatment she chose for her son, and within a few years, Tyler made a full recovery.

Today, as the family forages ahead into new journeys, they remain dedicated to a balanced lifestyle that is heavily focused on nutrition, hard work, and sustainability. “Abigail loves to work in the greenhouse and Tyler loves to build things,” Stephanie says with a smile. Although Brian travels for work as a musician and producer, he plays a very active role on the farm when he is home. “I just cut stuff and move stuff with the tractor,” he jokes.

The hand-crafted teas and finely-ground seasoned salts they produce are not only culinary specialties but nutritional favorites of the entire family. High-mineral sea salts and pink Himalayan salts are finely-ground with farm herbs to perfectly accompany jars of organic kernels of popping corn. The popular Rosemary Popcorn Salt is inspired from Abigail’s love for the snack, but also look for their next creation­­—a Carolina Reaper pepper salt—created for Brian’s love for spicy food. Herbs are harvested and dried on the farm and hand-blended to make teas meant for boosting immunities and calming moods. All of these beneficial value-added products can be purchased at the East Nashville Farmers Market or through Etsy.

As Tyler and Abigail get older and No. 9 Farms moves through its third season, Stephanie continues to dedicate herself to a life that matters to her most: hard work, healthy living, love and family—the life of a farmer. In the past, the Oaks were one of our East Nashville neighbors, walking to the market to enjoy their community. Today, having them join The East Nashville Farmers Market as one of our vendors is a special sort of homecoming for everyone involved. “It’s neat for the kids and us to be back growing things for our community and seeing all the farmers again, ” she admits. We whole-heartily agree.

For more info on their farm, visit No. 9 FB page.


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.