Tag Archives: organic

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

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.

 

Waste Not, Want Not

recycling logo

Waste not, want not.  Few would argue with the wisdom of such a principle, but even fewer fully understand the extent to which it can be carried out in household, much less kitchen management. The idea of low to no household commodities waste is sometimes dismissed as a quaint, antiquated holdover from grandparents and great-grandparents who survived the economic depression that hit the US between World Wars.  To many, it has been rebranded. Gramma’s frugality now bears the shiny new title, “sustainable living.”

Is this a bad thing?  Absolutely not. In fact, to cadge a phrase from Martha Stewart, it is a very good thing.

Like organic food production, upcycling/recycling/using every bit of everything from snout to tail is a shiny new concept surrounding older ways that have been kept alive by choice and circumstance.  Those who live in less developed parts of the United States, citizens of aboriginal North American reservations, urban dwellers who understand the need for commodities to be used up of because of the lack of space and resources for disposal, and yes, many college students.

Think you’re already using everything in every way possible?  Here’s a quick way to tell if that is the case:  What does your curb look like on the days the garbage truck rolls through?  If you’re doing everything you should be doing, your average household waste for that week should fit into one, maybe two t-shirt bags.

No? Are you still screaming (on the inside, where it counts) “Hefty! Hefty! Hefty!” as you trudge to the sidewalk?   It’s okay.  We all do it sometimes. If you’re doing it every week, you need to know that it is possible to wean your wastebaskets and trash cans from a steady diet of stuff that could be recycled into rugs, clothing, planters and even fashionable vegan shoes. Keep in mind this kind of change does not have to be a zero sum proposition.  You can start small.  Just start!

Let me help you out with this.  Do you eat Annie’s Mac ‘n Cheese?  The next time you’re in the mood for comfort food and you tear open a package, ad you’re waiting for the water to boil, take a look at the box. Yes, the bunny is cute and the bumper sticker offer that has been open since I was an undergraduate is still on the side. What you’ll also find are tips on how to reuse that box before it finally ends up in your recycling bin.

Low to no waste isn’t limited to paper and plastic.  Take a look at that pretty yellow oval in your CSA box.  For those of you who have never tried spaghetti squash, you’re missing out.  It has the texture and taste of a good veggie pasta prepared al dente the way the school cafeteria ladies never intended. Don’t let this tasty, healthy treat go to waste.

I consulted with my friends and fellow veggie fans, Sylvia and Bill Red Eagle, on the best ways to use every bit of a spaghetti squash.  Starting from the inside out:

Seeds: The tangle of seeds and mushy, fibrous stuff needs to be removed before the rest of it can be cooked.   Once you’ve scooped it out, begin to knead it and you’ll find the seeds will start to fall out.  Rinse them off, buff them barely dry with a clean dishtowel and then spread them out on a cookie sheet.

They’re great plain or you can season them with any of the following: cayenne, chili powder, garlic salt, grated parm or asiago, or cinnamon and a little sugar or (a tiny, tiny amount of) stevia if prefer a sweet snack.  Once you’ve seasoned them or not, pop the tray in an oven set at 275 degrees for five to ten minutes or until the seeds are dry, crisp, and slide around.

This recipe works with any squash or pumpkin seed and those seeds, called pepitas by my father’s people (who also refer to corn as maiz, go figure…) are a great source of protein and fiber.  One cautionary note:  they are very rich in Omega-6, which do weird things to Omega-3s, which you and I and everyone we know  needs.  So, as Cookie Monster might say, they’re probably best eaten as a sometimes snack when you happen to be cooking a winter squash.

Flesh:  Some people boil it, some steam it, the Red Eagles like to cut it in half and bake it flesh side down until the fibers pull away into “noodles”.  They like it as a side with butter, salt and a little sauteed garlic or garlic scapes when they’re in season or as a “chili mac” when the weather in Ft. Worth gets a little colder.  I like it topped with a good “tom ‘n three plus” marinara ( tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppers plus herbs and wine).

The Skin, Stem and Seed Muck:  All of it composts beautifully.  If you have established a place for birds and other neighbor critters to visit and grab a bite, you’ll find that they see the seed muck is like, the best snack ever to squirrels, titmice and black capped chickadees.

So, let’s review.  You started with this ornery hard thing that you wondered if you could use as part of a centerpiece or a decoration for the guest book table at church and now you have a tasty snack, a great meal that is light on the carbs, and some good karma from feeding your fellow earthlings.  Best of all, none of that ended up in the trash.

Hungry for more?  Talk to your local farmer about their favorite ways to use winter squash.  You might want to check out these recipes by two of my favorite chefs/foodways preservation advocates:

Emeril Lagasse’s herbed spaghetti squash is an easy dish after a rushed day.
Rick Bayless’ “Worlds Greatest Chili” includes winter squash as part of his refit of a home kitchen classic.
Bon appetit and keep green!

by Jas Faulkner