Tag Archives: herbs

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.

 

BUTTERNUT SQUASH PIZZA RECIPE

BUTTERNUT SQUASH PIZZA RECIPE
(serves 2)
1 cup very thinly sliced peeled and seeded butternut squash
EVOO for drizzling
Coarse salt
1/4 cup fine yellow cornmeal
Pizza dough
6-10 small fresh sage (or basil) leaves (torn if larger)
at least 1-2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1. Preheat the oven to 500 F. Drizzle squash with oil in a bowl and season with salt.
2. Spread cornmeal on baking sheet. Stretch dough into 9.5 inch round; transfer to baking sheet. Drizzle dough with oil, and arrange squash on top, leaving a 1/2 inch border. Bake 10 minutes. In the bowl you used for the squash, toss herbs with garlic, & drizzle with oil to coat. Sprinkle herb mixture over pizza & continue to bake until crust is golden brown, about 10 minutes.
*Cheese / Tomato Sauce : One can also add mozzarella cheese or another white cheese or your choice, like Romano or even tomato sauce, making this a bit more traditional. Top the crust with these additions, after baking the dough, but before adding the squash. Of course, you can always add more cheese on top too!
Submitted by Magda Underdown-Dubois

Slocal: Yes, It’s Local and So Much More

The Slow Food Movement might be new to you, but it has been around since the late eighties, first as a SLOCALgrassroots effort to move away from the increasing presence of fast food in the diets of working Italians and eventually in the US, where prominent localtarian proponents such as Michael Pollan and Alice Waters took up the cause of promoting a way of eating that was smarter and gentler on us and the planet.  

Slow Food promotes the idea that local, sustainably grown and homemade are always the best choices. If Nashville Master Gardeners Jami Anderson and Russell Kirchner have their way, it could be the approach we all take towards filling our plates and pantries.

Educating themselves about the true nature of mainstream corporate food production in this country inspired them to start producing their own food five years ago. As they learned how much of the value of real food is lost in the process, they began see the importance of local food production.

“Learning from many illuminating documentaries about the food industry (and reading enormous amounts about it as well) reinforced our desire to grow healthy fruits and vegetables that are pesticide-free, fresh, and have as much of their full complement of original nutrients as possible. Likewise, learning about the triggers of a fast-food diet to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease piqued our dedication to the slow-food movement. The continuing depletion of fossil fuels and air quality due to the transportation of food from far-off places to the table made us even more aware of the importance of growing food that is local.”

This was also the inspiration for the name and mission of their company. Slocal Foods is more than just a pretty herb stand situated among the vendors at the East Nashville Farmers Market. Of course you can get basil that will make your kitchen (not to mention your pesto,) smell like a little bit of culinary Nirvana and move on to the rest of your visit. Before you do, take a few minutes and look around. You’ll see herbs you might not recognize. You’ll see plants that, if you let them, will help turn your home into a greener and maybe tastier sanctuary. All that from a fresh sprig or a live plant?  Really?  

For you salt and pepper cooks, Anderson will attest that expanding your taste vocabulary can be daunting.  “…cooking with herbs can be intimidating to people who aren’t chefs and may not have even heard of some of them. That’s why we offer free recipes with the purchase of any herb that uses that herb as a main ingredient, fresh, dried, or live at our Farmers Market booth.” Still need some convincing? Take a look at one of the many recipes you’ll find this season at Slocal Foods. 

Aside from their interesting history and the sensory delight herbs offer, Anderson went on to explain why and Kirchner focused on herbs as part of their life work as teachers and activists for Slow Food: “Farmers markets are great resources for fruits and vegetables that are local but we noticed a gap in the supply of fresh herbs. You can buy some herbs at chain groceries but often they come in plastic (yuck) clamshells and sell for around $3 for just a few (often moldy) sprigs. Neither freshness nor quality is guaranteed in most instances. Selection is also limited to a few mainstream herbs as well. Our herbs are raised organically from seed in rich, composted soil right in our own backyard and we offer many herbs you won’t find for sale in a store.

See what they are offering each week at http://slocalfoods.com. Call Slocal at 615-480-5347 for restaurant herb supply accounts.

– Jas Faulkner

Rosemary Ginger Chicken

Rosemary Ginger Chicken
 
napkin2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
3 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground red pepper
1 tsp chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 tsp grated lemon rind
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 chicken breast halves
Combine all ingredients well. Rub over chicken pieces. Let marinate for at least 2 hours or more. 
Place chicken pieces on the rack of a roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Add water to pan to a depth of ¼ inch. 
Bake at 425 degrees until done for 30 – 40 minutes, depending on the thickness of the pieces and whether they are bone-in or boneless.
Recipe provided by SLOCAL

HOW LOCAL SHOULD HONEY BE?

Recently a question regarding “local” honey was posed to our East Nashville Farmers Market blog. We asked Carol Hagen, one of the two beekeepers who serve on our board, to answer.

QUESTION:  Is the local honey sold at this market from this area or Goodlettsville only? I can only seem to find honey from there, and would like something generated a little closer to us.

ANSWER:  Actually there are beekeepers throughout the Nashville area, including Johnson’s Honey Farm in Goodlettsville. Currently, much is being made of “local”; it’s absolutely true that raw (unpasteurized), lightly filtered honey contains pollen that helps to build a natural resistance to local pollen allergies.  However, the impression that “local” means within a couple of miles of your home is an exaggeration.

For starters, seasonal winds blow pollen for several miles and bees can fly many miles to collect pollen and honey for their hive.  Farmers seek pollination contracts from beekeepers, so it’s not uncommon for honey bee hives to be driven to regional crops. Often overlooked by the consumer is the bee’s need for clean water, both for drinking and spraying onto the honey comb to keep the hive cool in the summer time.  So consumers may want to consider, IF “local” refers to a circumference of only a few miles of their home, does their locale include chemical free plants and water?

bee with pollen

Truth is the majority of beekeepers who sell their honey at farmers markets and in local stores often maintain twenty-five to several hundred hives in regional apiaries. Beekeepers with small apiaries harvest less than 300 pounds of honey, which is not enough honey to bottle, label, market and sell at a profit.

When it comes to eating honey for local pollen allergies, I’ve started suggesting people consider the Regional Gardening Zones  ( http://www.garden.org/zipzone/ ) as a guide for local honey.  Similar species of plants grow within districts and regions of Tennessee.  Honey collected on thoughtfully cultivated farms or in wilderness areas are excellent sources of raw honey, all of which contain regional pollens. Bees forage for pollen, but pollen also clings to their bodies after they visit a nectar source. Professional beekeepers locate their apiaries near fresh spring water, ponds, creeks or rivers; not surprising, property with clean water often supports an abundance of nectar sources.

The new garden zone maps place Nashville in the 6B-7A zones; both zones sweep the length of Tennessee. We live in the Broadleaf Forest, which historically provides a tasty variety of honey; including clover, the standard American honey. Our middle Tennessee clover honey is especially good because it is a combination of cultivated and feral clovers: white, yellow, red or crimson clovers, and wild Alslike clover. With such a wide variety of clover species, the color of clover honey may vary within the same region.

Wildflower is honey made up of several species of wildflower and tree nectars. Beekeepers may wait until the end of the spring or fall nectar flows to extract all of their capped honey at once; this honey offers a blend of flavors that tastes unique to the available flowers. Tennessee also has crop specific  honey: black locust, basswood, sourwood, blackberry, rose, magnolia, tulip, fireweed or goldenrod.  Bees placed in cultivated fields may yield other specific honey flavors: buckwheat, canola or rape seed, sunflower and Russian sage.

bees 1

A beekeeper may label their honey with a title other than “wildflower” if they can identify and confirm their honey crop is from one nectar source.  Using Sourwood Honey as an example, honey boxes filled with capped and uncapped honey prior to the Sourwood Tree nectar flow are removed.  New boxes filled with empty drawn out foundation are added to each hive.  After the Sourwood nectar flow ends, which means after the sourwood flowers are finished, the beekeeper will mark each sourwood honey box and let the bees cap their honey cells.  Once the honey is ready, only sourwood honey frames are extracted together and no other type of honey is added in the filtering step. The reward is a jar of highly prized Tennessee Sourwood Honey.

The Nashville Farmers Market community includes artisans who infuse honey with herbs or essential oils.  There are honey products, such as “creamed honey” which is a mild, spreadable honey made from controlled crystallization.  Whipped honey is made by blending honey for an extended time which infuses air into the honey; this also results in a spreadable honey. Honey butter is a blend of honey and butter, which is considered a dairy product.

The Goodlettsville honey you refer to is very likely Johnson Honey Farm.  The Johnson Honey Farm was established in Goodlettsville in 1918 and remains a family owned and run farm.  It is a large apiary and does business throughout Tennessee. The Johnsons also partner with apiaries in Georgia and Florida. When you consider the challenges of farming, it’s quite an accomplishment for one family to sustain the delicate practice of beekeeping for nearly 100 years.  Success does not mean they are no longer conscientious about their farming techniques, it means they have evolved with the market and have managed to remain large enough to support their family.

Tennessee is fortunate to have both large scale apiaries and serious hobbyist beekeepers who maintain three to twenty-five hives. You may find a honey product you love to use or you may consider tasting a variety of honey flavors. Either way, I suggest you consider “local” honey to be from the larger Nashville area, middle Tennessee; and include East and West Tennessee within the Garden Zones 6B-7A.  This approach enables you to benefit from a larger spectrum of naturally occurring pollens found in flavorful, raw honey…Tennessee pure, golden honey.

— Carol Hagen, Queen Bee Pollinators

Light Rain Brings Cooler Farmers Market

East Nashville Farmers MarketOur East Nashville farmers market is going strong!  Yesterday’s market was a bit damp, but that didn’t stop us.  In fact, the rain offered us all a chance to cool off after temps that reached near 90 degrees here in Nashville.

We always have a nice variety of local produce baked goods and other fresh food related products for our market customers.  Yesterday was no exception.  Fresh farm local produce offerings included sugar snap peas, summer squash, wheat grass, kale varieties, lettuces, strawberries, swiss chard, zucchini, carrots, peaches, pecans, broccoli, cabbage and much more.

Certified organically grown squash, zucchini and green onions from Delvin Farms

Certified organically grown squash, zucchini and green onions from Delvin Farms

Our other vendors shared their specialty made granola, salsa and hummus. We also had milk from Hatcher Family Dairy, cheese and goat milk products on hand. And our new meat vendor Triple L Ranch had beef, chicken and sausage from their all natural beef farm. There were also fresh herbs and starter plants for folks to take home.

Sound too good to be true?  Be sure to check out our photo gallery to see what we had at yesterday’s market and who was there.  A big thanks to all our vendors and customers who came out on an East Nashville rainy day!

Farm goat cheese from Noble Springs Dairy

Farm goat cheese from Noble Springs Dairy

We look forward to seeing you at our East Nashville Farmers Market next week.  Remember not to let a little rain spoil all the fun!

Opening Day Market Celebration Rescheduled for May 21st, 2014

Our new location in beautiful Shelby Park next to the children's playground next to the baseball diamonds

Our new location in beautiful Shelby Park next to the children’s playground next to the baseball diamonds

It’s Market Time Again!!!  We are excited to report that we had a very nice turn out for the very first market day of the season at the East Nashville Farmers Market.  Although it was a bit wet outside we enjoyed serving your families and a chance to splash in the puddles.

Be sure to stop by on May 21st to catch all of the Grand Opening Activities that were postponed due to the inclement weather.  We will have face painting, a farm animal petting zoo, live music from Johnny Campbell & the Bluegrass Drifters, yoga, a seed planting activity from Plant the Seed, food trucks, ice cream and much, more.

We look forward to seeing all of your friendly faces with us again this week.  Our local vendors are ready to serve the needs of your families with their bushels of fresh produce (including fresh strawberries), specialty food items (pimento cheese, salsa, honey), baked goods, dairy items, grass-fed beef, and more.  It is also a great time to pick up some plants and compost if you want to grow your own herbs and tomatoes.
See you there!

EVENTS
Come and join us for our rescheduled Opening Market Celebration at our New Location in Shelby Park, Wednesday, May 21st.

This weekly producers only market is a great place to find locally sourced foods from grass fed meats to organically raised produce, fresh pastured eggs, artisan craft cheese to honey.  The market will be open from 3:30-7pm and feature hourly giveaways, food trucks, a barnyard petting zoo, yoga, face painting, free seed planting activity, CSA sign-ups and live music!  Fun for all ages!  SNAP/EBT Accepted.  Leashed dogs are welcome.

This week’s music will be provided by Johnny Campbell and the Bluegrass Drifters.

To find our new market location in Shelby Park take Shelby Ave directly into the park once you cross 20th Street. Follow the winding road down the hill to the lake and turn right. Continue until you pass the Old Timers baseball field and must turn left onto Davidson St. You are now driving along the Cumberland river, just pass the baseball field on the left you will find our farmers market on the left next to the children’s play ground. The photo below is the location.