I grew up on a ranch where Saturday mornings were for chores and feeding the cattle. After 5 years of college, I still don’t know what to do with my Saturdays. My last trip to the Nashville Farmers Market was when my siblings came to visit on Spring Break. There wasn’t much in season then, so food available was mostly canned or early spring plants.
Today I decided to head back for a trip. I needed to go grocery shopping anyway. So I got up and went first thing this morning. Nashville obviously isn’t a town of early risers. 9 A.M. and the place was still fairly empty.
There were a host of great farmers from the region. Lots of early summer vegetable available. I picked up some squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, and bell peppers. I also picked up some peaches. Gotta have something sweet once in a while! I’ll be eating extra fresh and local this week!
There was only one farmer there with meat products – beef, pork and chicken. We talked for a moment and gave me a flyer. His beef is grass-fed, grass-finished, dry-aged, certified natural. Pork advertised as pastured. Chicken true free-range and french label rouge style. You can see more about his products at the Walnut Hills Farm website.
Food Safety is always important
It’s great to have fresh foods from local farmers, organic, natural, or conventional. No matter the source of your food, its important to consider food safety.
Keep your produce safe with these tips:
Before and after preparing fresh produce, wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap.
Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water just before eating, cutting or cooking. We don’t recommend washing fruits and vegetables with soap or detergent or using commercial produce washes.
Even if you plan to peel the produce before eating, it is still important to wash it first. Any bacteria present on the outside of items like melons can be transferred to the inside when you cut or peel them.
Be sure to refrigerate cut or peeled fruits and vegetables within two hours after preparation.
Tips for food safety of juices, dairy, egg, and meat products are available from FoodSafety.gov. Pathogens like E.coli aren’t prejudice and can show up on any food if not handled and prepared properly.
After picking up my veggies and talking to the meat farmer, I headed inside the market area for an awesome breakfast wrap from one of the local vendors – 2 eggs, ham, red onions, bell pepper, tomato, and tobasco sauce. Mmm… the world was right again!
Do you have a favorite local farmers market? What do you pick up there and how often do you visit?
If you follow me on Facebook and/or Twitter, you’ll notice every time I go downtown in Nashville, there will be a photo posted of the AT&T building – affectionately characterized by some background Batman themed tunes. But that’s not the only thing that really catches my eye in the Music City.
Back in August when I attended the AgChat Foundation Conference, good friend Janice Person visited the Nashville Farmers Market. She shares more photos on this blog post. I didn’t make it, but word has it she found some good local food and even a giant craft chicken. But ole JZ is safe around me. I don’t eat much poultry. There is all sorts of stuff down there.
So on the last weekend of Spring Break, my brother and sisters and uncle came over to Tennessee. We had a grand ole time, pigged out at the Cheesecake Factory, and went to a Predators Hockey game where we had really good seats in the lower bowl (Preds won that game and now they’re headed into the playoffs!). But while waiting on the sisters to wake up, my brother and I went down to the Farmers Market. It is the off-season, but there were still several crafts, canned goods, and ethnic foods available. We had some good ole BBQ pork and made our way around to all of the local food vendors. Natural, organic, and even some imported foods were there. Though I really wanted to ask the beef farmer how he got all of those hormones out of that beef. I’d like to study that endocrinology… (Another post, another time). And we jumped the pond and visited the Parthenon. But you’ll just have to read more about that on my other blog.
Then, we found an awesome park beside the Nashville Farmers Market. If you ever go, you’ll have to visit the Bicentennial park. There’s this stone wall that covers the landmarks of Tennessee history, from way back when to the near present. There were some really cool Agriculture Facts all over the wall. Everything from the historical importance of Tennessee Agriculture, to major milestones in Agriculture advancements. Be sure to check it out. I’ve shared a few photos from the wall in the slide show below.
I can find Agriculture Facts ANYwhere I travel and am always on the look out. Where can you find unexpected AgFacts in your area?
If there’s any group of farmers that relies on independent and local marketing in today’s food trade, it’s organic and local farmers. Today I feature Delvin Farms, an organic producer from Nashville, Tennessee. One of the great things about agriculture and food in this country is that we are able to afford food choices. Although I personally can’t afford organic products in my budget, I think it’s great there are local food options for those who can. This is another great example of the diversity of agriculture highlighted in my month-long series. Why are YOU Agriculture Proud?
My two older brothers and I fled the farm as soon as we could upon graduation from high school! We all three went to the University of Tennessee and two of us have returned to the farm full time. It’s funny how you dream of leaving the farm and once you’re gone you dream of returning home to it.
Our farm is a certified organic produce farm outside Nashville, TN. We were lucky enough to have the best of both worlds growing up- the “city” life and the “country” life. We attended Catholic schools in Nashville and were very involved in 4-H and farming. I was the only one in my elementary and high school who lived on a farm, so I’ve spent my entire life educating others of what farm life is like.
Delvin Farms was not always certified organic. My parents started the business in 1972 and sold produce to distribution centers. In 1998, my “hippie” brother talked my parents into transitioning the farm to organic when it was looking like the outlets we were selling to were starting to close. They began a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) with 25 members and had the farm certified and today the CSA has 800 members. Because we direct market our produce, we stay connected to our customers and have a wonderful opportunity to educate others about agriculture.
I’m involved in the Young Farmers and Ranchers group and I think it’s important we stay connected to one another for support and for knowledge of agriculture issues. My farm is very small compared to most in the Farm Bureau group. Some of the farmers own thousands of acres, yet in our line of work we are considered a “large” produce farm of 220 acres. Sometimes we hear that people won’t shop from us at the markets because they consider us a “large, factory farm.” I think if a family farm is able to support three families it’s successful, and that’s not a bad thing! When I left the farm after graduation I certainly didn’t think I would one day be educating others about the value of agriculture or harvesting every day for markets and restaurants. I’ve always been proud to be the “farm girl,” I should’ve known I would one day return home.