The split is the stuff of huge gossip and speculation in town, and in addition to talking to both sides — Siple and Delvin Farms' owner Hank Delvin Jr. — Littman consulted other voices in the local sustainable food movement, including Megan Morton, executive director of Community Food Advocates, an organization working toward a sustainable food system; and Andrea Cloninger Wilson, a professor of sustainable food systems at Lipscomb University. Littman writes:
Morton and others see this high-profile falling-out as a chance for Nashville to take a step back and define what it wants, or doesn't want, its farmers markets to be, and decide whether or not there should be certain ground rules at markets.
For example, should markets held in public spaces be managed by private entities? Should markets have boards of directors rather than one manager who can make unilateral decisions about who can and cannot be a vendor?
Should there be limits on the number of farmers who can cooperatively share one booth? Some markets ask farmers to pay a flat booth fee; others take a percentage of sales. Should these details be uniform from market to market? These are questions that other communities have been forced to ask, Morton says.
Wow, that's a bushel load of good questions. Bites Nation, I'm asking you all of those and more:
Anybody planning to shop for produce tomorrow? Headed to West Nashville or West End? Which one and why?
Among those of us who live in West Nashville, there was some concern about having two markets, possibly having to go to two separate markets each weekend, and the viability of each. However, I visited both markets this past Saturday morning and came away feeling that this will actually be a good thing for customers, particularly for those folks who live in Green Hills, Belle Meade and Whitland since the West End Farmers Market is a much more convenient location for them.
If you can't stand the heat, steer clear of Richland Park tomorrow, as the West Nashville Farmers Market accommodates its seasonal Pepper Village, where hotheads of all stripe gather to sell their wares. We're especially excited to see Ben Smythe back with his Banjamin's Ghost Pepper Elixer, and he promises upgrades in his products as well as a bumper locally grown crop of beautiful but deadly bhut jolokias, a rival for the world's hottest pepper.
Also on hand will be Ric Ousley with his popular Ousley Ouch salsas. Smythe says the event is going to start out small, so don't expect but a few vendors this time. But there are plans to grow the village if response is strong. Besides, the West Nashville market on Charlotte is one of the city's best — as much an outdoor food court as a place to buy produce (love those fresh mushrooms!). Any excuse to go is welcome.
Last month I told you about Nashville Grown, a local group working to create a food hub to help farmers sell produce to restaurants and other institutions, with a website and refrigerated storage for distributing produce.
Not long after that I heard from Lisa Shively, publisher of The Local Table magazine, a seasonal guide to local food and farms. She’s working on a different food hub project, Farm to Plate, which aims to “connect the grower and wholesale buyer to create a healthier and more sustainable local food system.” She set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise startup funds and has collected about $1,800, with a goal of $8,500.
Now we get word about the Birmingham company, Freshfully, a startup that’s been so successful that it’s expanding to Tennessee and other states. In each city it recruits a blogger, called a "locavore," to reach out to farmers and compile stories, recipes and profiles of local folks.
In Nashville they’ve recruited Susannah Felts, a writer for Tennessee literary site Chapter 16 (and a City Paper and Nashville Scene contributor). She’s already posted content on Freshfully’s Nashville page.
Freshfully is filling a different niche from the other would-be food hubs I mentioned, in that it is exclusively targeting individual consumers, not restaurants or schools.
It has also already completed some of the heavy lifting on the tech side — creating a user interface for online ordering.
That’s the work of Sam Brasseale, a Freshfully co-founder and, according to his business partner Jen Barnett, “a complete nerd.” (She says that affectionately.)
Barnett is an experienced marketer with an MBA from Emory and a specialty in interactive strategy. She met Brasseale through a mutual friend (his wife), and they started working together on tech projects in Birmingham.
Food hubs, which already exist in dozens of cities, assist small local farms by providing them with services to help them market their products. In this case, that means launching an online store to connect Nashville-area farms with restaurants and renting refrigerated space at the Nashville Farmers’ Market where produce can be stored for pickup or delivery to restaurant customers.
The project is called Nashville Grown, and organizers hope the system will go live near the beginning of September. I first heard about it from Laura Wilson of the Grow Local Kitchen at the Nashville Farmers’ Market. As a chef, she knows firsthand how eager restaurants are to secure fresh produce but how difficult the logistics are when it comes to connecting chefs and farmers. “They both work 60-hour weeks already, and they’re on opposite schedules,” Wilson says.
Wilson is serving as a volunteer consultant for Nashville Grown. Another key person is Sarah Johnson, a 2009 Stanford University grad who studied international food policy in Washington, D.C., before moving to Nashville to work on urban food initiatives here.
Located in the grassy area on the side of Fifty Forward (near where Donelson Pike meets Lebanon Road), the farmers market features locally grown fruits and veggies, as well as cheese, jam, bread, honey, salsa, hummus, food trucks, etc. (There wasn't any meat sold at the first soft opening, but I'm hoping that will change as the market grows.) Confirmed food trucks are Smoke et Al, Wrapper's Delight , Mean Green Ice Cream Machine, and in addition, there will be Donelson-based artisans sharing their arts and crafts. And of course, there will be some sweet tunes to help you get in the shopping/eating spirit.
It's run by Good Food for Good People — the same people who bring you the West Nashville, Franklin and Richland farmers markets. But this market is really a testament to the power of Facebook. The very active Facebook group Hip Donelson, helped bring the market to fruition, raising awareness of the need and gathering interest.
The market is every Friday from 4-7 p.m. Judging from the two "soft openings," it will be crowded, so come early.
Anyway, as we try to remember those three numbers you call in the event of medical emergency, we hope we make it to this evening's 12 South Farmers Market, revving up another successful year in Sevier Park today from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. That gives you plenty of time to stuff your pockets with broccoli rabe before tonight's sold-out Jack White shindig at the Ryman, and maybe even order a sandwich from The Grilled Cheeserie, a Doc Braden Creole-seafood tart or one of Riffs Fine Street Food's award-winning Caribbean creations.
There'll be dairy farmers, meat purveyors, makers of artisanal breads, and vendors of everything from herb-infused lemonade and vegan snacks to candies, pies and cheese — not to mention the first flowerings of what's looming as a spectacular summer for vegetables. Stop by also for live music from The Human Revolution, led by a troubadour who bills himself simply as Human. (We confess we were even more excited early on, but then we realized we'd misread his name as Hunan.)
For a full list of vendors, click here.
Jolie Ayn Yockey, the marketing director at NFM, sent out a note alerting us that tomorrow's Night Market will be the last for a while.
"We are going to take a little break to focus on our Grow Local Kitchen, give our merchants a little reprieve from what has been such a busy last few months in the food and farming world before the busy season starts again, and do some specialty events. Unless the public really wants night markets back ASAP we will sit out not less than January-February and not more than May," Yockey said in an email.
So, the last Night Market before the hiatus is 6 to 8 p.m. tomorrow, Dec. 16, and as Yockey says, it's "a great opportunity to shop for local holiday gifts and foods while sipping on fun libations, enjoying NFM restaurants, music by Paper Lantern and more."
She adds: "If you haven’t quite made it down [to Night Market] or know others who haven’t, now is definitely the time!"
That's the vision chef Laura Wilson has for her new role as the director of the Grow Local Kitchen at Nashville Farmers' Market.
Wilson, who has already begun the job, has big plans for the kitchen space as a production kitchen, demonstration space, learning center, a venue for visiting cookbook authors and a fun gathering place for traditional cooking classes.
"I want it to be community space that’s a business incubator, a cooking reference guide and a demonstration space," she said, multitasking as she met with the market's Jolie Yockey.
Imagine culinary skills classes taught by the city's deep bench of restaurant chefs. Wilson expects to use her extensive restaurant connections to schedule classes on knife skills, charcuterie, baking, butchery and more by people whose food you love to eat.
With two ovens, five burners and official approval from both the city health department and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Grow Local Kitchen should be a coveted production kitchen for small local producers.
And when a couple of hurdles are cleared, Wilson plans traditional evening menu-based cooking classes with wine.
I've never gotten as many thank-yous for anything on Bites as the posts tipping off readers to Jonbalaya Catering and the pork products that pitmaster Jon Heidelberg serves up every Saturday morning at the Woodbine Farmers Market. We didn't try the "pork parfaits" he had last week of pulled pork, mashed potatoes and baked beans layered in a plastic cup, but the sampling we had of just the pork — caramelized bark, moist wood-scented meat — convinced us that maybe such a thing could work.
Heidelberg sent word via Twitter that he'll have whole smoked pork butts tomorrow for $35 at the market, which runs 9 a.m. to noon at Coleman Park, corner of Thompson Lane and Nolensville. If you haven't been, make it a stop on your Saturday-morning farmers market rambles. There'll be a family carnival as well as a gourmet cheese giveaway featuring Kenny's Farmhouse Cheeses — but for the latter, you have to visit the market's website and follow these simple instructions.
Watch also for zingy homemade fruit spreads from Bathtub Gin, the ever-popular Riffs food truck, and invigorating raw juices from Juice Nashville (especially the Oh Yeah, a concoction of kale, collard, apple and lemon squeezings that made me feel like I'd spent a week at a spa). And we can only hope to see the awesome Banjamin's Ghost Pepper Elixer stand, as our supply is running low.
Love taylor wish I could meet her add me on bbm my pin is 24F0DCC9
do tell where you have been able to find it, i've never seen it in…
I haven't had any problem finding Rittenhouse...
I tried Humdingers recently too. I wasn't expecting to like it but I really liked…
I love a good rye, can't wait to try this. Too bad we can't get…