Tag Archives: farmers market

New Root Vegetables Now at Market

Fresh picked beets from Green Door Gourmet

Fresh picked beets from Green Door Gourmet

This week at the East Nashville Farmers Market, an array of freshly-harvested root vegetables make their debut, along with lots more seasonal spring fruits and veggies grown by our local farmers. The Jones Press food truck will be returning to offer kid-friendly and vegetarian dinner options for our East Nashville families. We are also excited to announce the return of cheese to our market with Lost River Creamery and their raw milk goudas. Our musical guest will be the lovely Lillie Syracuse singing her set of country, blues, and rock ‘n’ roll. So grab a blanket and your favorite people, because this week will be a great week for local food, spring produce, and neighborhood fun. You can view pictures from last week to see what produce we now have in market.

First thing’s first — let’s talk produce! Last week, we saw the premier of some new and interesting seasonal veggetables at our market, and among them our favorite — spring root vegetables! Green Door Gourmet brought a multi-colored display of bright orange carrots, red baby beets, spring onions, and snow white Hakurei turnips — all fresh, crisp and sugar sweet. Kohlrabi was also a fairly-unusual new addition, and we saw the first of the spring sugar-snap and snow peas. Visit the Green Door Gourmet booth this week for all the delicious seasonal vegetables, and keep an eye out for the possibility of fennel to arrive, too! — a light anise-flavored vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked.

Fresh harvested greens from Delvin Farms

Fresh harvested greens from Delvin Farms

Old School Farm will have another load of beautiful farm greens from the field this week, including mustard, tatsoi, turnip, and chard. Flying S Farms and Delvin Farms will have more bushels of freshly-picked spinach and kales for your salads, stir-fries, smoothies, pies, and more. Local strawberries are still available and arriving fresh from the farms , so get down to the farmers market this week and grab a quart (or bucket) while you still can.

Secondly, we’re thrilled to announce the addition of Kentucky artisan cheese-makers Scott and Angie Harris of Lost River Creamery to our list of East Nashville Farmers Market vendors for the 2015 season. These lost river creamery fresh, small-batch goudas are made by hand in Russellville, Kentucky, with hormone and antibiotic-free raw milk from Grave Family Dairy, and aged in underground caves for a minimum of 90 days. The 9 month aged Logan is so nutty and flavorful, the Harris family has a difficult time keeping up with demand. So stop by their booth and sample one of these excellent artisan cheeses. You’ll want one to take home for your weekend omelet or cheese plate.

laurel mountain farmsOur newest local meat vendor, Laurel Mountain Farms, had mouths watering last week from the smell of their seasoned pork steaks that were sizzling on the grill and sampled out to our market shoppers. These locally-raised steaks are pre-seasoned and can be thrown in a skillet or on a grill for a super-quick and easy meal. So visit their booth this week and sample a smoky bite. We bet you will be taking home Laurel Mountain steaks or chops in your shopping bag.

Finally, we are happy as always to have the fiery, rhinestone-clad Lillie Syracuse performing a set of country, blues, and rock ‘n’ roll for our farmers market guests this week. And in case you forgot, the East Nashville Farmers Market has your Wednesday night dinner covered with The Jones Press food truck and their ever-popular paninis. These yummy pressed sandwiches do sell fast, so arrive early and claim your spot on the lawn. It will be a great spring day, folks, so grab your shopping bags and (as always) your blanket and we’ll see you at Shelby Park!
lillie syracuse

Peaches and More Local Food Arrive at Farmers Market!

peach truckThis week at the East Nashville Farmers Market, we’re excited to announce the arrival of peaches and much more local food! That’s right, folks, The Peach Truck will be making its seasonal debut at the East Nashville farmers market this Wednesday, May 20, 2015. Plus, spinach and possibly beets are being added to the list of seasonal veggies being produced by our local farmers, and gorgeous spring strawberries are still available. We’re also excited to announce our newest artisan cheese-maker, Lost River Creamery, bringing aged raw-milk goudas from Russelville, Kentucky. So grab a shopping bag, a blanket, and a friend, and get the local-food love while you can.

Last week, we threw one heck-of-a Grand Opening Festival at the East Nashville Farmers Market, and we have you all to thank— our awesome market shoppers! Our musical guest, Mary Bragg, sent chill bumps through the thoroughfare with her powerful vocals, and The Jones Press and Bao Down food trucks kept our hungry crowds fed. Kids enjoyed spending time with the Reptile Guy and his Burmese pythons and gardening activities with Plant the Seed. The weather was gorgeous and the strawberries were fragrant and plentiful, picked fresh from the fields! It was a heck of a good time and we would like to thank each and every one of you for joining us in support of our local farmers, artisans, and food vendors. We’re off to a great start!

farmers marketSo let’s get right to the chase and talk about local spring produce at the East Nashville Farmers Market. Last week, we saw beautiful strawberries from Oak Grove Farms, Green Door Gourmet, Kelly’s Berry Farm, and Delvin Farms. These farmers will be bringing even more beautiful berries to the East Nashville Farmers Market this week, so come buy a flat for canning preserves or freezing if you haven’t.

You might have heard the rumor already, but we’re here to say it’s true! The Peach Truck will be making its seasonal debut this week at the East Nashville Farmers Market and we can’t wait to celebrate! Not only will they have peaches, but yummy bags of freshly-harvested pecans, too, so come on out and taste the freshness.

spring lettucesLovely spring lettuces were specifically spotted at the Oak Grove Farms booth last week. We’re told that they will be bringing some fresh spinach and possibly beets this week, so get there early to be the first to taste the best of what spring has to offer. Delvin Farms will kick-off their summer CSA and there are more slots available, folks, so check with Hank at the Delvin booth. They will also continue to supply gorgeous varieties of kale and chard. Green Door Gourmet will have their tasty mix of arugula and mizuna lettuces, radishes, plus the sweet and crisp ‘Hakurei’ salad turnips that everyone is raving about! Old School Farm, one of our newer farms, will have their usual lovely display of herbs—chamomile, mint, lavender, and more. Plus, some lovely kales and radishes. Stay tuned for even more quality to come from these newbies!

fresh herbsSpeaking of herbs, Slocal will have all the culinary and exotic fresh herbs this week, including different varieties of basils and mints, the not-so-easy-to-find sorrel, tansy, bee balm, and much more. Slocal will also have flats of tomato and pepper seedlings for sale, herb seedlings, plus fresh herb teas on tap, kombucha, and a jun tea.

We’ve got a delicious new cheese vendor, folks. Scott Harris from Lost River Creamery in Russelville, Kentucky, will be bringing his aged raw-milk goudas, including his 9-month aged favorite, the Logan. Samples are available and will be going fast!

baked breadsNow, onto to our breads and baked goods. Catherine at Flying “S” Farms will be bringing an extra batch of her homemade sourdough bread for our market shoppers, and Tammy at Sweet Daisy Jane’s will have a fresh batch of her most popular seasonal strawberry bread made from Kelly’s Berry Farm strawberries. Kaylee and Bethany from Eat Like Kings will have rosemary and smoked paprika spiced pecans and their outstanding chocolate chip cookies that have become a real hit at the market.

One of our new soap, salves, and cosmetics producers, Kathleen from Rainwater Farms, will have an all-natural bug spray made with essential oils of eucalyptus and rose geranium—just in time for mosquito season! And Tracy from Botanical Harmony will have a fresh recipe of all-natural liquid hand soap and the usual multi-colored farm eggs. Plus, duck eggs per request.

East Nashville Farmers MarketIf anyone is in the mood for a little spice and sass, the Creole Diva, Ms. Lynn (and her trusty side-kick “The Duke”), will be serving hot and homey Creole staples to our hungry market shoppers, plus a watermelon jelly that is “a little taste of summer in a jar,” according to the Diva herself. And if anyone wants to transport themselves to New Orleans this week, she’ll also have a homemade beignet mix that will surely go fast.
Last week, Laurel Mountain Farms tempted taste buds with barbecued pork chop samples fresh off the grill, and if this week is anything like last week, you’ll want to find a place in line fast! Our market shoppers don’t mind waiting for the quality this new meat vendor is supplying. Also, Triple L Ranch will be selling their award-winning Hereford steaks, as well, among other favorites such as bacon, ox tails, and more.
And as always, we’ve got dinner covered! Bao Down and Jones Press Food Trucks with kid-friendly menu items, such as grilled cheese and chicken Panini will be returning and so will Bradley’s Curbside Creamery for dessert.

Finally, we’re excited to announce our musical guest this week: a group of young, up-and-coming bluegrass musicians, all under the age of 18—Someday Soon. Come out and support these musical prodigies as they fill the air with tasty tunes. So see you on the lawn this Wednesday, everybody!

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)

Grand Opening Market Festival Announcement: May 13th, 2015

After such a successful soft opening last week, the East Nashville Farmers Market is enthusiastic to announce our Grand Opening Market Festival this Wednesday, May 13th, 2015!! Bring the little ones for some fun kid’s activities and enjoy kid-friendly food options from our returning food truck, The Jones Press. Participate in our hourly-giveaways for a chance to win a basket of farmers market goods, and relax to the sweet sounds of our soulful musical guest, Mary Bragg. And let us not forget all the local spring produce harvested fresh off the farm, including Tennessee organic strawberries, that will be awaiting your arrival!! So grab your favorite quilt and pack a basket, everybody, because you won’t want to miss this special springtime event.Opening.blanket

We’re all thinking about it, so let’s get right down to it: strawberries are at the peak of their season this week and will be lining the tables at our Grand Opening Market Festival. This sweet seasonal favorite cannot be found in your commercial grocery store, so taste the flavor of local strawberries before it’s too late. Last week, our families bought quarts of red berries that were devoured on picnic blankets before any could make the trip home. This week, we expect everyone to grab a quart, or even a flat, to take home for canning, freezing, or homemade pie-making. And other fresh produce, such as spring lettuces, kales, radishes, and more, will be available for sautés and salads, too.

Last week, we loved seeing all your little ones on the lawn enjoying scoops of ice cream from Bradley’s Curbside Creamery, because there’s nothing quite like a good ol’ chocolaty grin. To continue this traditional, ice cream will be back for our festival! Plus, old-school floats, shakes, and malts that are hand-stirred by the cool dudes from Moovers and Shakers food truck–Nashville’s first mobile soda parlor.

opening.jonespress For dinner, we’ve got something to please every eater–kids, vegetarians, carnivores, you name it. Last week, Riffs Fine Street Food knocked the sandals off our market shoppers with their Asian-inspired cuisine. This week, we’re continuing the Asian flavor with our favorite little bus, the Bao Down bus, serving the soft, steaming Chinese-style street buns that we all crave and enjoy. And since those grilled cheese and savory pesto chicken panini from The Jones Press were such a yummy, gooey, kid-friendly hit last week, we’ve invited them back this week for our Grand Opening Festival. So take Wednesday night dinner off your to-do list, folks, because the East Nashville Farmers Market has got you covered!

Reptile GuyAfter dinner, let the kids expand their agricultural minds by participating in one of our activities with Plant The Seed, Nashville’s educational non-profit program that promotes outdoor learning through community and school gardens. We’ll also have our favorite Queen Bee, Carol Hagan the Bee Lady, with one of her closed observational honey bee hives for kids of all ages to see. The playground will be open as always for big-time kid fun, and the Tractor Man will drive one of his shiny antique tractors to our farmers market for photo opportunities. The Reptile Guy pays a visit as well which is a great photo opportunity for everyone.

One of our favorite attractions last week at the ENFM was hearing the lively bluegrass tunes of Bradford Lee Folk and Company. We love the sounds of their fiddle, stand-up bass, guitars, and harmonies. This week, we are equally proud and thrilled to announce Mary Bragg as our special musical guest. Mary’s musical styling and song writing artistry are melodically exhibited through her powerful yet sweetly-smooth vocals. She and her acoustic guitar will be serenading our grassy lawn from 4pm to 6:30pm.Opening.band

And finally, our market photographer will be joining us to snap photos of our Grand Opening Festival 2015 memories in the making, so bring your pups and other favorite friends for the chance to see them featured in our weekly market photo gallery. We are eager to celebrate this exciting new season with you and hope to see your strawberry-stained smiles at the Grand Opening Festival!opening.firefighters

Mary Bragg Plays Grand Opening Festival

We are so excited to announce our very own Nashville singer/songwriter and 2015 Telluride Troubadour Mary Bragg as our special musical guest for our Grand Opening Festival on May 13, 2015. Mary is an award-winning artist whose vocals and musical styling draw comparisons to Folk and Americana greats such as Norah Jones and Patty Griffin. Her latest album, “Edge of This Town” serves-up haunting yet powerful melodies and lyrics sung through a heart-wrenching soulful voice. Not only is Mary an award-winning recording artist, but she is also one of our dedicated volunteers at our East Nashville Farmers Market.Mary.Bragg

Originally from south Georgia, Mary moved to East Nashville in December of 2013 after ten years in New York City where she became widely-acclaimed in the Brooklyn Americana scene. After her relocation South, she immediately began shopping at the East Nashville Farmers Market and joined the Delvin CSA program. Every week, Mary arrived to retrieve her box of local fruits and vegetables, and eventually began working as an ENFM volunteer.

“I love the market for its entrepreneurial spirit–and of course for the local produce!” she says. “Each of the vendors’ passion for what they do keeps me coming back every week.” She goes on to describe why she likes participating in our community market through volunteer work. “It’s my small way of giving back to something that brings me a lot of joy.”

Last year, Mary won the inaugural BandPage/Zoo Labs Music Residency Contest, which enabled her to create her latest album, “Edge of This Town” at Zoo Labs Studios in Oakland, California. She has been busy with tours and co-writes ever since, and recently was accepted into the world-renowned circle of songwriters at The Bluebird Cafe. But when she isn’t touring, recording, or making huge strides in the Nashville music community, she is at the East Nashville Farmers Market helping customers connect with local farmers and food.

Mary is often found at the information booth answering questions and helping market shoppers, and also at the live music tent where she uses her expertise to set-up equipment. But this Wednesday, Mary Bragg will not be serving her community as a volunteer, but gracing our neighbors and market shoppers with her classically trained voice and deeply moving melodies. Every week, this gracious songbird brings so much joy to the East Nashville market, and we are happy we can share her immense talent and giving spirit with you, our market shoppers.

 

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.

Market Season Wrap-Up

beetsNow that the market year has completed, we’d like to reconnect with our customer base and share a brief recap of the season. If you didn’t already hear the great news, the ENFM was voted 3rd best farmers’ market in the Nashville Scene’s “Best Of” edition, losing only to the Franklin and Downtown markets (both being equipped with much larger budgets). This is because many members of our community in East Nashville recognize not only the health benefits of buying  fresh, nutritious produce, but the benefits that are given to the community, as well. Shopping at farmers’ markets encourages the American tradition of the family farm and helps to ensures farmers survive in our community instead of being forced to sell land to developers. Farms support wildlife in their ponds and fence rows and native insect populations. Buying from the local farmer helps to boost our local economy here in Nashville, and it also encourages genetic diversity in the multitude of fruit and vegetables that can be grown and sold when shipping is unnecessary.

slocalAs a smaller market, we are very proud of this recent accolade and will continue to work to create a fun, energetic, and healthy experience for our customers. Our new location in the scenic Shelby Bottoms park has proven to be a success and has lent itself towards the ENFM becoming a destination spot for many members of the community. Events such as our “Fall Festival” and “Ghost Peppers and Goblins” drew crowds in huge numbers and was a ton of fun for kids and parents, alike. We will continue to provide live music, storytelling, and outdoor yoga, as well, which are some of the many attractions that make the ENFM is such a success. We are happy that many of our popular vendors will be returning next season and are excited to welcome some new and interesting  additions, as well.

CSAOur  2015 season gets dusted-off and cranked back up in May, and we are thrilled to see how much we will have grown. Until then, please continue to support local farmers and ready yourselves for another bangin’ market season in East Nashville. And be sure to check out the photos from our final market of the season. See y’all then!
Rebecah Boynton

Time To Get Adventurous!

A nutritional anthropology study conducted by the University of Florida in 1988 suggested that North Americans had better access to a bigger variety of healthy, fresh foods than most of the rest of the world and yet the average consumer limited themselves to approximately eight to twelve different plant-based foods.  In the quarter century (give or take a few months) that have gone by since then, Americans have begun to put more thought into where their food comes from and how it is produced.

The effort to localize production and consumption has led to rethinking heritage and indigenous food crops that had fallen out of favor.  Our culinary vocabulary is starting to expand and with it comes a more extensive repertoire of dishes and techniques that sometimes start out as experiments and eventually become familiar household favorites.

There are plenty of reasons people don’t eat specific varieties or whole categories of fruits and vegetables.  Sometimes it can be a question of rediscovering a favorite that a grandparent might have grown in the summer. Sometimes it means trying a food you’ve heard of but never tasted.  Sometimes its simply a matter of access. Whatever the reason, local growers are eliminating those excuses.  Which reminds me of one last excuse: you tried it and you didn’t like it.

If your parents were like mine, they probably asked you to try at least a bite or two before deciding it was off the menu for you.  Okay.  I’m going to make that same suggestion.  If you see something in your CSA share or it’s sitting there in your sample box, and you know this food makes you sad to even think that someone somewhere considers it edible, just stop.  Don’t ask to swap it out.  Don’t try to palm it off on the nearest child who looks like he’s dying to carry something fresh to Mommy. In short, quit being a baby.

Here is a list of six foods to look for that you may or may not have tried.


Kale – curly or luxuriantly leafy, this green is packed with nutrients and flavor.  Try it sauteed, in soups, chopped and raw in salads.  One of the classic dishes for this veggie is a stew made with cannellini beans, kale, and chicken.

 

collard greens

Collards – They are a food of the gods.  You can usually find them bundled together in bunches of four to six large leaves. If you want to try something beyond the usual greens-n-pork preparation, take a look at this recipe from an earlier ENFM post: Collard Greens w/ Poblano Chiles and Chorizo.

 

 

 

arugula

 

Arugula – Steve Martin’s character in “My Blue Heaven” couldn’t live without it.  This peppery green makes a great addition to any salad or stir fry.  Great on a fresh tomato sandwich or served as a finger food a la cress.                                                                                                                       

 

Basil

Basil –  This sweet-smelling herb is the primary taste profile in pesto and margherita pizza.  It also makes a great aromatic garnish for cold ades and a soothing addition to an herbal bath.   Try a few leaves  on a toasted sandwich with fresh tomato and provolone.

beets
Beets
 – Most people have tasted them pickled or as crispy veggie chips. The roots are great roasted. The greens?  They perk up a tossed salad and fit right in with any kind of greens mix, cooked or raw.  For a change of pace, go for the tried and true.

 

 

sweet potatoesSweet Potatoes –  Many of us were scared away from this nutritious root vegetable by the glutenous casserole that seemed to appear at every big family dinner.  Topped with burned marshmallows, each mouthful was a minefield of mush and the odd stealth pecan half that might or might not have been properly shelled.  Ah, the holidays!  The good news is that sweet potatoes don’t have to be such gut bombs.  They’re delicious baked with a little butter or olive oil and a pinch of red pepper.

That should get you started.  Okay, Indiana Jones, get out there and try something new to you.  There won’t be a test, but there will be another list with some more familiar-but-not-to-you vegetables.  Until then, bon appetit!

Honestly, it's just a vegetable!

Honestly, it’s just a vegetable!

 

By Jas Faulkner

Santo Niño de Atocha Tortilleria: A Local Tortilla Bakery in Gallatin

alice 3If you’ve visited one of the many farmers markets scattered throughout the city this summer, you may have noticed a slight figure in an oversized jacket, asking if you’d like to try some salsa. Her voice barely carries over the giant cellophane bags of corn chips with a South-of-the-Border accent as authentic as it gets.  Her name is Alice, or the tortilla lady here at the East Nashville Farmers Market and interacting with her feels more like a visit with your grandmother rather than a casual stop at a farmers market booth. I had purchased and quickly devoured a stack of her tortillas months prior, so I was eager to learn more about her background and the story behind her business.  As I approach her booth, she is warm and friendly, as always, and invites me to take a seat beside her. After the initial exchange of polite introductions, I jump right into my first question: “Miss Alice, did you grow up making tortillas with your mother?” Like a silly gringa, I was expecting a story filled with tradition and childhood memories to unfold. Instead, Miss Alice digs a pointy index finger into my knee, leans right in, and spouts, “Hell, NO!”

Spoken like a true Southerner.  We were only on the first question of our interview, yet I was already masa dough in her hands. I was hooked on Alice’s sparkling personality as much as I was her tortillas. And though the story behind Alice’s beginnings  may not be what the typical gringo would expect, it is a story rich with love, family, and togetherness, coupled with an honest desire to provide Nashville with supremely delicious traditional fare.

Alice Heffernan Salazar is actually not from a place south of the border, but from San Antonio, TX, where her family has lived for many generations. (Heffernan is her husband’s name of Irish/German decent, and Salazar is for her father, she lovingly says with her hand over her heart.) Like many Southwestern native Americans and Northern Mexicans, Alice was raised eating flour tortillas instead of the traditional corn, since flour became a foundation to the regional cuisine due to a climate favorable to wheat production and the product’s solid shelf life and shipping abilities. She was 9 years old when she left the Southwest and moved to Chicago, IL, where she and her husband, John, worked in the printing business. And although her trade was not in tortillas, she never forgot her father’s dream of starting a tortilleria of his own. That dream would be forgotten until after their retirement, when  Alice and John came to Nashville to be closer to her daughter, Carole, and son-in-law, Colby. tortilla chips

It was Colby’s idea to initiate the bakery, she admits. He wanted his energetic mother-in-law to have something to keep her busy, so he bought the equipment himself and together they launched the company 4 years ago. The entire family pitched in to help, and together they work side-by-side in the tortilleria. Jokingly, I ask, “So, you learned to make tortillas from your son-in-law, Miss Alice?”  “Yep, ” She replies.  “And guess what? He’s Jewish!” Her sense of humor is devilish and she has everyone around her in stitches. She is adored by all. Plain and simple.

The Santos de Atocha Tortilleria is located at 720 Nashville Pike in Gallatin, TN, in a modest store front in the Sumner Shopping Center. She arrives every morning by 8am and runs the machines until around 10:15am. Piping hot tortillas are ready to be devoured by customers at 10:30am every morning, she says. “Those babies are hot and ready. Just a little salt and salsa, and you’re ready to go.” And thought her story may be a tad nontraditional, her tortillas are anything but. They are made with 3 basic ingredients: corn, water, and lime, and are sold in a variety of sizes, stacked high in warm bundles. The way corn tortillas should be. The corn is local and ground in her store and can be purchased by customers who want to make their own tortillas at home. She also sells a prepared masa for tamale-making, dried corn husks, her addictive crunchy fried corn chips, and fresh  cans of homemade salsa made by her husband, the gringo, she says. Her products can also be found in many stores, such as the Turnip Truck and the Produce Place. More information, including products, prices and where to buy, can be found on her website at www. santostortillas.com.

If you are unable to visit her bakery in Gallatin, Miss Alice is always at the East Nashville Farmers Market (as well as other markets in the area), ready to place a warm bundle of tortillas in your hand that you won’t be able to refuse. You’ll be hooked. Plain and simple.

Submitted by Rebecah Boynton