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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.

Triple L Ranch: A Family Owned and Operated Cattle Farm in Franklin, TN

Triple L Ranch: A Family Owned and Operated Cattle Farm in Franklin, TN

calfRight now on the Triple L Ranch, it’s calving season. Twice a year in the Spring and Fall, the Lee family awakes to a number of new additions peppering the pastoral landscape every morning.  Around 150 calves are projected to be born in the next month or so, beginning another season on Nashville’s Certified Hereford cattle farm. What an appropriate time to talk about beginnings and the growth of a small cattle ranch. I chatted with Ann Lee, the matriarch of the family business, and learned how the ranch was born, its decades of history, and how the Lee family pulls together to maintain a healthy herd and a tradition of excellence.

The story begins in Memphis, TN, where Ann was born and raised.  Her father worked as a businessman in the city, but also owned a cotton farm in Arkansas where his mother resided. It was trips to this farm to visit her grandmother where Ann first became familiar with farming life. At 18, she moved to Nashville to study statistics at Vanderbilt University where she met a mechanical engineering major named Wallace Lee. Two years later, Wallace graduated and the two were married. For a number of years, Wallace worked as an engineer, then joined the Navy and eventually graduated from Officer Candidate School in Newport, RI, while Ann stayed with her mother. The young couple would move around for 4 years and have 5 children together before settling down in Brentwood, TN. In 1964, they bought the farm in Franklin that would one day become Triple L Ranch.

Originally, the farm consisted of 465 acres with a small commercial herd, raised and bred to be sold at anne 2stockyards. Back then, the road they lived on was gravel, a phone call to Nashville was considered long distance, and highway 96 wasn’t even a twinkle in an eye. “We were very isolated, then, ” says Ann.  A year later in 1965, the Lees sold the commercial cows and Wallace’s father Louis Leon Lee purchased the first registered Polled Hereford herd, with a dozen heifers and one bull. This marked the beginning of a long tradition of exceptional cattle breeding that the Lees would become known for.

Hereford is  one of the two most common purebred beef breeds in the U.S. due to its docility, its superior marbling, and delicious flavor (Angus being the other). Polled Herefords are a hornless variant of the breed that was selected from a naturally occurring genetic mutation. Wallace loved the study of genetics, according to Ann, and read as much as he could on the subject. He began to selectively breed and develop highly desirable traits within his own herd, and as time passed, the Lees gained a reputation for breeding superior cows. They hosted auctions and sold their animals to other farmers– farmers who traveled from all over the country to purchase the particular genetics the Lee’s offered. Their last auction was held in 2008, when the Lee’s son, Stephen (who graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Animal Science) set a goal: to offer their cows as pasture-raised freezer beef instead of auctioning them to other farmers. The meat production began and the family started selling to local restaurants and at farmers’ markets. The citizens of Nashville finally had a place to find local meat produced within their community.

“I think it’s fun to go to the farmers’ markets, “Ann admits. “I have a whole group of people I know now and I know their kids and I can keep up with them.  We’ve done well with the markets,  and I like doing it.”

She goes on to explain how keeping close social ties to the community is important. “Now, we’re having at the marketconversations with people who are eating our beef, not buying our cows for their herd. It’s a different process. It’s more personal, ” she says. “We like to have satisfied customers. If anything goes wrong, we like to fix it. We want everyone to be happy with their purchase, and they usually are.”

Today, 4 out of the 5 Lee children live on the family farm (including 4 grandchildren) and everyone plays their part. Stephen uses his degree to select the best traits possible and keeps the cows healthy, says Ann. Abbey raises sheep on the farm and is beginning to sell her meat at the 12th S. market. Carol is in charge of the bookkeeping and deliveries. Her husband, Daniel, is the farm’s herdsman, and together they have a son earning a Veterinary Medicine degree from Auburn University. Bill is president of the family’s other business, the Lee Company, and Cynthia is the Director of Outdoor Education at the University School in Nashville. She often brings her students to the farm where they can play in the creek, identify insects, and have a fun time. The family recently established a blue-bird trail with 75 birdhouses that Stephen designed and the students assembled. “She may live in town, but Cynthia is a big part of the farm,” says Ann.

Since its beginning in 1964, Triple L Ranch has nearly doubled in size from the original 465 acres to 930, cowswith 3 nearby farms they rent as supplemental pasture. The herd now consists of approximately 400 certified Hereford cows, each one registered with the American Hereford Association. They take a more  hands-on and proactive approach to maintain healthy cattle, rather than the much maligned practices of commercial farms and feedlots. The Lee cows are rotated in the pasture often, they are never confined, never given growth hormones, and never treated with antibiotics unless necessary. “If one of our cows gets sick and we do have to treat them with antibiotics,”  Ann says, “we take them out of the production completely.” They reach production weight naturally, grazing freely on grass and hay alone until the last 120 days of their lives when they are offered a custom blend of by-product free grains in the field.

The Lees believe this grass-fed/grain-finished approach gives their cows more marbling, makes them more tender, and more flavorful, as well.  They are taken weekly to be slaughtered at a USDA certified facility in Paris, TN, which ensures the freshest meat possible. Their products include the ever-popular rib-eye, filet mignon, sirloin, and NY strip, as well as other cuts such as stew beef and roasts. “All the guys like a big, marbled, flavorful rib-eye, ” she laughs, but my favorite is the NY strip.” The Lees have recently added chicken production to their farm and sell whole chickens in addition to chicken feet used to make flavorful stock. Other unexpected products include beef cheeks, ox tails, and bone marrow. They also sell beef bones for people to buy for their pets.

This past Spring, the Lee family lost a very special member. Wallace, or “Pawpaw,” passed away. “He is chickensmissed every day, ” says Ann. “But the farm is going to continue. Especially with our grandson who is in vet school right now. We know the farm will go on.”

And it will. The restaurant orders are increasing. The satisfied customers are ever-returning. The grandchildren are off to college, planning their futures. Some will even return to carry the tradition into the future. There is even a 4th generation of great-grandchildren coming-up, and who knows what roles they will play someday. And there are 150 new calves expected to join the family within the next month, after all. Life continues on the Triple L Ranch, and all members join in and play their part.

For more information on meat selections, prices, or placing orders, visit their website at www.lllranch.com. Click here to get their recipe for Beer and Beef Stew.  You can also catch them on Wednesdays at the East Nashville Farmers Market.

About the author:  Rebecah Boynton has a BS in Horticulture from Auburn University. She is a writer, an advocate, and a volunteer at the East Nashville Farmers’ Market.

Beef Stew Recipe from Triple L Ranch

Beer and Beef Stew

1 lb stew meat
2 T olive oil
2 med sweet onions sliced
3 cloves minced garlic
1 1/2 t dark brown sugar
salt and freshly ground pepper
3 sprigs thyme tied together
1 bay leaf
1 cup beef broth
1 cup beer
1 T whole grain mustard

Directions:
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees
Pat dry the meat,season with salt and pepper
Coat large dutch oven with olive oil
Over high heat-brown beef in batches–set aside
Turn heat to medium
Add onions stirring for approximately 10 minutes stirring often.  Scrape browned bits.  Add garlic, brown sugar and saute 2 minutes till garlic is fragrant
Turn to high heat add beef  with juices to pot, add thyme and bay leaf.  Pour broth and beer over top and bring to simmer.  Stir in mustard.  
Cover and put in oven for 2-21/2 hours till tender.
Remove thyme and bay leaf.  Adjust seasonings
Serve over cooked noodles or mashed potatoes

See them on Wednesday at the East Nashville Farmers Market at pick up your stew meat.

Ousely Ouch: Nashville’s Homemade Salsa Company

On occasion, our weekly market set-up can be somewhat brutal. The trucks begin to circle around 2pm, shaking dust into the air from a summer’s drought. Boxes are unloaded, bungee cords are wrangled, tents painstakingly popped and tables set. This is not always the most enjoyable experience, especially in the Ric Ousley 4 sweltering heat. But during our toil and drudgery,  there is a special moment when the faint sounds of George Harrison’s guitar can be heard in the distance, and every vendor stops and looks up from beneath a sweaty brow. An arriving vendor blasts the Beatles White Album from the speakers of his pick-up truck, and everyone smiles in the afternoon sun. This is how Ric Ousley of Ousley Ouch salsa greets us every Wednesday at the ENFM. With a grin, a wave, a truck full of tasty salsas, and great music floating through the dusty air.

One look at Ric, and you can tell he is a cool guys. He is ponytailed, forever barefoot, and clad in a pair of wayfarer glasses, yet he is as friendly and approachable as he is unique.  He is a true Southern gentleman, in every sense of the word.  He was born and raised in Laurel, Mississippi, on a small family farm consisting of some cattle and gardens. He describes it as a “dirty stinkin’ town” (which is a direct quote from a Steve Forbert song, he says) due to Laurel’s high number of chicken farms and the plywood manufacturing plant. He grew up with one brother and a sister, and though the town was small, he and his brother could leave Laurel and be in the city of New Orleans in 3 hours flat, he says. Growing up on the farm, he developed a love for the Beatles (influenced by his older sist’er obsession at the time) and fresh produce grown in his family’s garden. He came to Tennessee in 1985, and after having difficulty finding a salsa that met his and his sister’s standards, he began to create his own. This is how the first recipe for Ousley Ouch was created: Out of necessity for a salsa that not only tasted delicious, but that was hot enough, too.Ousley Ouch

As time passed, his salsa’s reputation grew. He made it for friends, family, parties, and holidays. But when the demand out grew Ric’s ability to supply, he began to entertain the thought of starting a business and selling a line of his very own salsas. He took a jar to Barry Burnette at the Produce Place on Murphy Road, said he wanted  to sell it, and asked what he needed to do to make it happen.  A couple years later and with Barry as his mentor, Ousley Ouch salsa was officially in the works.

In the beginning, Ric and his wife Haseena were preparing the salsa by hand. They rented catering kitchens on Sundays when they were vacant and the Produce Place was their first real market. They offered two different varieties back then:  Mild and Hot. Now, Ousley Ouch salsa can be found in approximately 60 stores statewide, including Whole Foods and Publix. They make over 2,500 jars of salsa per month at a semi-automated industrial kitchen in Lebanon, TN, called the Cumberland Culinary Center. Now, Ric offers 4 different varieties in ascending order of heat level: Mild, Peach and Mango, Hot, and Ghost.

Every jar is filled with the best ingredients Ric can find. All the peppers used are grown on local Green Door Gourmet farm here in Nashville, and so far he has purchased almost 800 pounds of their jalapenos this year alone. He held taste tests with his friends to choose the right canned tomatoes before settling on the popular Red Gold Brand. The peaches and mangoes in his sweet and tart salsa are chunky and fresh tasting with no added sugar, because he wants you to actually taste the fruit. He also has a new variety he is tinkering with that he hopes to name “Ridicul-Ousely,” and ridiculously hot it will be, containing the world’s two hottest peppers, the Carolina Reeper, and the Trinidad Scorpion.ric ousley 3

After our interview, I’m certain Ric has one thing for sure, in addition to a friendly disposition. He has good taste. Great taste, in fact, and not just in music. He knows how to make a quality, fresh, and healthy product, and make it taste fantastic, too. If you visit the East Nashville Farmers Market stop by Ric’s tent and taste them for yourself. He has samples available at all times with a flavor to fit your taste buds. And if you stick around long enough while the market winds down, you  might get lucky and hear a riff or two of While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

For further information and to make online purchases, visit their website at www.ousleyouch.com.  You can also find a video here about Ousley Ouch Salsa that recently aired on Live Green Treen.

Submitted by Rebecah Boynton

Double Your benefits at the ENFM with the SNAP back: SHARE THE HARVEST Program

SNAP Back Share the HarvestStarting in July, SNAP customers can receive up to an additional $20 in market money to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables at the East Nashville Farmers Market. Thanks to the generous support of Piedmont Natural Gas, SNAP Back will help participants bring more healthy, local foods to the table.  Check in at our information booth for more details on this program. Quick reminder, if you are ever short on cash, you can use your credit/debit card at the information booth in exchange for tokens valid at all of the market vendors.  

The Farmer & Adele

10346801_10152451378353055_62779066_nThe Farmer & Adele will be playing songs they’ve had little or no success with. Their music draws from classic country, western swing, bluegrass, and folk. Chances are you will have fun so come on down to the East Nashville Farmers Market! Hi-Ho the Merry-O!

Triple L Ranch and Chef Mattie Showcase their Best

Today at your ENFM we are hosting a cooking demonstration with Chef Mattie Goldberg who will be highlighting some of our farmers best of the season farm raised meats from Triple L Ranch and vegetables from our other local Tennessee farms.

Steven and Ann Lee, Triple L Ranch

Steven and Ann Lee, Triple L Ranch

The local meats are provided by our very own Triple L Ranch in Franklin TN. Triple L is a family owned and operated beef farm on the rolling hills of western Williamson county.  They raise polled herford cows the natural way which is in large open grass pastures and are never confined in small pens or barns for finishing.  The cows are raised on a steady diet of grass constantly. During the last 120 days they are offered natural feed consisting of corn, wheat , soy bean meal, cottonseed hulls, soybean hulls.  This grain finishing creates a wonderful marbling and tenderness of the meat that makes their premium cuts taste so delicious.

Visiting Chef Mattie serves it up at her local farmers market in Austin, TX

Visiting Chef Mattie Goldberg serves it up at her local farmers market in Austin, TX

Our chef Mattie Goldberg, born and raised in Nashville TN,  is an up and coming chef currently residing in Austin, Texas. Having grown up cooking at home, her specialty is rustic, bold flavors with a broad range of knowledge in world regional technique.   She has worked in some of Austin’s finest restaurants including Perla’s Seafood and Oyster Bar on historic South Congress Ave and health conscious, gluten free Snap Kitchen. At the top of her class at Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, a small and elite private culinary academy in Austin, she has excelled under renowned chefs and earned a spot as a school ambassador.

As the Demo Chef for 512 Market Kitchen, Chef Mattie highlights different vendors of the Lone Star Farmers Market at Bee Cave each week by showing market patrons how to use only the ingredients available to make fresh, seasonal dishes.  In the coming months, she will be moving to New Orleans, Louisiana to work at James Beard Award winning restaurant Herbsaint.

Donna Frost & The Ukeabilly Upstarts Play This Wednesday

donna frostDonna Frost & The Ukeabilly Upstarts formed in spring of 2014. Donna has been playing ukulele during her acoustic shows for several years & had been writing some ukulele songs. She came up with the word “ukeabilly” for her music, meaning ukulele combined with rockabilly, roots, etc. Donna and longtime friend Robert Tigert put together a duo performing Donna’s original ukulele music and began playing shows around Nashville. They were well received and decided they would record an EP which soon became a CD, called “Ukeabilly Mama” which will be released in summer of 2014. They had so much fun recording the album, they decided to take the band out and play this music live. Their first official show as a band was at Douglas Corner Cafe on June 5, 2014 at a CMA Week event. The response was fantastic and there will be more shows coming in the weeks ahead! We’ll keep the info posted here. Band members are: Donna Frost, ukulele & vocals; Robert Tigert, bass & vocals; Jim Alderman, accordion & vocals; Chris Higgins, drums; Ed Zinkiewicz, spoons and vocals; Michael Mishaw, keyboards and cajon, Paul Olson, cajon.

They will be joining us at the East Nashville Farmers Market on Wednesday, July 2, 2014 from 4pm-6:30pm.

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!