Despite being under water just 10 days ago, the Nashville Farmers' Market is coming back to life 

In the light of a tragedy like the Nashville Flood, it might seem silly to get worked up, worried and emotional about the place where you buy groceries. But for those of us who do our shopping at the Nashville Farmers' Market, there's a bond between buyer and purveyor you won't likely find at your neighborhood Kroger.

Our chicken doesn't come from a Tyson factory and our beef doesn't get trucked in from Omaha — they come from the Tennessee towns of Lexington and Bethpage, respectively. Our strawberries don't come from Chile, California or even Florida. They come from Ridgetop, Tenn. — red, ripe and ready to rock your world. Our milk comes in glass bottles (with the cream on top, natch) from just over the state line in Logan County, Ky.

But the appeal of the Farmers' Market isn't just the fresh delicious food, it's the people who bring that food to market, who nurture and protect that food until you're ready to take it home — that's what really had loyal customers worried. Once you've committed to shopping there, you're not going just to buy food, you're going there to see friends. The Farmers' Market isn't only a community resource, it's a community in and of itself — a fact that no Publix or Harris Teeter will ever be able to claim. You can't be concerned about your own cravings for Noble Springs Dairy's chèvre when you're worried about the Noble family, goats and all.

Which is why we were relieved to be back at the Farmers' Market Saturday, seeing the old gang on its feet and back to business. It wasn't as busy as you'd expect on the first weekend of strawberry season, but then again there weren't a lot of tourists standing around, shocked to see that food doesn't always come wrapped in plastic. Most of the vendors were back, though our favorite new addition to the market, gourmet spice and sauce vendor Further Foods, was conspicuously absent. Not to worry — we called them and they'll be back soon, hopefully with more of their awesome blackberry barbeque sauce.

And as we walked around, talking to the weary staff, eating a pecan square from Dozen sweet shop — a friendly reminder that, yes, heaven is made from pecans and butter — it was apparent that everybody was just relieved to be back. Yes, there's a long road ahead, and everyone will be much happier when the market house is up and running and we can all get a cup of coffee, but that road is much easier to travel with a whole community by your side. It'll also be easier if the Sweet Stash brings cupcakes. Cupcakes make everything better.


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