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Market Blog

August 29, 2016

Farmhand Dinner 2016

Join us for our Fourth Annual Farmhand Dinner on September 28, 2016. Our farmers, ranchers, and growers are celebrating the end of a bountiful summer, and we're offering our guests a unique opportunity to enjoy a family-style meal with the men and women who produced it. The Farmhand Dinner features the collective efforts of eight of Nashville’s most talented chefs who will create a casual yet inspiring Southern meal made with fresh ingredients grown by our local farmers.

This annual fundraiser, inspired by fifth-generation farmer Troy Smiley, honors the traditon when farm workers gathered for a celebratory meal after a long day in the fields. Mayor Megan Barry will give the welcoming remarks, and all proceeds will benfit the Friends of the Nashville Farmers' Market.

The evening kicks off at 6:00 pm with a traditional “water break” featuring signature cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres.  The dinner bell will ring at 7:00 pm to begin the 4-course meal that will include wine pairings and live music by Bluegrass favorite Jeremy Holt and the Tennessee Field-Hands.

Tickets are $75 and can be purchased now by visiting our ticket page. Join our Facebook event page for more details. Seating is limited, so get you tickets before they are all gone! 

Chaired by: Margot McCormack, Margot Café & Bar

Emceed by: Jesse Goldstein, Food Sheriff

Inspired by: Troy Smiley, Smiley’s Farm

Opening Remarks: Mayor Megan Barry


Participating Chefs:

Laura Wilson and producers of Citizen Kitchens, hors d’oeuvres

Hal Holden-Bache, Lockeland Table, bread basket accoutrements

Margot McCormack, Margot Café & Bar, salad

Tandy Wilson, City House, entrée side

Tyler Brown, Southcreek, entrée side

Trey Ciocca, The Farm House, entrée side

Ed Smith, Bacon & Caviar, entrée

Lisa Donovan, Buttermilk Road, dessert

August 26, 2016

Late Summer at the Nashville Farmers’ Market

It's late summer at the Nashville Farmers' Market, and we're feeling invigorated by the cooler temperatures that have visited us as of late. Our market is looking forward to the new season of freshly-harvested fruits and vegetables set to arrive in the next few weeks, but for now, we're still savoring the flavors we celebrated so heartily this summer. This weekend, peaches are soft and supple, and ready to be tucked into sheets of pastry dough for pies and galettes. Tomatoes are still shinning in hues of pink, yellow, purple, and red. Fresh cut flowers are vibrant and filling our farm sheds with their late-summer beauty, and sweet corn is approaching its last 3 weeks, and ready for creaming, freezing, and grilling.

Speaking of grilling, Labor Day weekend is right around the corner, and we're excited to purchase our locally-raised steaks, chops, sausages, and ground beef from our Tennessee farmers next week. Summer vegetables like sweet corn and summer squash will still be abundant to toss on the grill, as well as fresh milk and heavy cream for one last twirl of our ice cream makers before the summer fruits are gone.

After Labor  Day comes our sweet and spicy celebration —Pepper Fest on September 16th and 17th. This event will be an international celebration of food and fun, and we hope our friends will join us to learn a bit about the importance of this  many cultures and cuisines that join us here at our the Nashville Farmers' Market. Come for a day of salsa dancing, live music, food, and celebration.

This weekend, we hope you join us at the market as we begin to say "see you again" to summer. Now is the time to bring those blueberries and peaches home for the freezer, and to fill your vases with fresh flowers grown lovingly by our farmers. Late-summer is also the time for pots of shelled beans and peas, and we're confident that after discovering the wide variety available at the Nashville Farmers' Market, you will be ready to bubble a pot on your stovetop this weekend. You'll also discover a new arrival--locally-grown Tennessee apples in varieties like 'Ginger Gold' and 'Gala' at Swafford Farms, Yates Cave, and Fisher's Orchard. So grab your grocery bags and find a parking spot across Bicentennial Park for a breezy walk, and we'll see you this Saturday and Sunday for a late-summer shopping experience with your local farmers, food artisans, and restaurants. 


August 10, 2016

Perfect Week for Tomatoes and Peaches

The perfect week for homegrown tomatoes and fresh farm peaches is upon us here at the Nashville Farmers' Market. With the East Nashville Tomato Art Fest this Saturday, and the last of the peaches arriving in the next few weeks, now is the time to get these two summer favorites before their seasonal end.  This Saturday, we're expecting two busy farm sheds filled with local summer produce and plenty of folks wanting to escape the East Nashville crowds. So come on out early to beat the heat because it's the perfect week for peaches and tomatoes, plus all your summer produce favorites, at the Nashville Farmers' Market.

Last week at the Nashville Farmers' Market, we celebrated summer's favorite fruit with our Watermelon Throwdown sponsored by Simons' Produce. Kids and adults alike had an outstanding time participating in our Watermelon Eating Contest and sampling all the sweet watermelon varieties grown by our local farmers. This week, we are still celebrating summer with all the homegrown tomatoes our local farmers are providing. Find homegrown heirloom tomatoes Tuesday - Saturday at Swafford Farms and locally-grown organic cherry tomatoes at Bloomsbury Farm and Athena's Harvest Farm this Saturday.

Now that peach season is coming to a close, this is the perfect time to visit the Nashville Farmers' Market. The Peach Truck announced last week that their Georgia Peaches are done for the season, but our market still has fresh--from-the-farm peaches available 7 days a week! Find sweet Alabama peaches from Hal Hayes Farm and South Carolina peaches from Fisher's Orchard. Get them now for jams, jellies, preserving, and freezing before you've missed your opportunity to fill your peachy fix.

And don't forget that August is the height of peak season at the Nashville Farmers' Market, and that means you can find an abundance of summer fruits and vegetables filling our Farm Sheds 7 days a week! Flawless fresh sweet corn, tender okra, sweet watermelons, cantaloupe, and sweet and hot peppers are here for your summer cooking needs Monday - Sunday. So don't miss your opportunity to support your local farmers in and around Nashville, and purchase the freshest locally grown food found around town at the Nashville Farmers' Market. 

August 9, 2016

Edible Kitchen

Join us every first and third Saturday of the month as we partner with our friends at Edible Nashville to bring you the Edible Kitchen—our hand-picked line-up of live cooking demonstrations using seasonal ingredients found at the Nashville Farmers’ Market. The Edible Kitchen is where you can meet local chefs and cooks, shake the hands of local farmers, and learn to use simple, seasonal ingredients in creative and delicious ways. Demonstrations take place at 10 and 11 am, and samples of the recipe are passed around after the show. And don’t forget to grab a hand-written recipe card from our Edible Kitchen chef before you finish your Saturdaymarket shopping!

For more information about the Edible Kitchen, including our scheduled line-up, visit



August 8, 2016

Watermelon Throwdown 2016 Recap!

Watermelon Throwdown 2016 Recap!

The Nashville Farmers' Market celebrated summer's favorite fruit this past Saturday with a special event filled with contests, fun, and food—our Watermelon Throwdown 2016! Over 3,500 watermelons brought by our local farmers towered over shoppers inside the Farm Sheds, making this Watermelon Throwdown a record year! Shoppers sampled 8 different varieties of the sweetest, juiciest watermelons grown by our market farmers, and kids got messy and giggly in our Watermelon Eating Contests. Chef demonstrations in the Edible Kitchen engaged hundreds of audience members, and shoppers enjoyed Cajun shrimp skewers and watermelon slices off the grill. It was a summertime event with a little sweetness for everyone that we look forward to hosting every year to come!

The morning kicked off with two exceptional demonstrations in the Edible Kitchen by chef Crystal De Luna-Bogan of The Grilled Cheeserie. Her recipe for Hibiscus-Lime Granita with fresh watermelon from Simons' Produce and strawberry mint from Reggie's Farm Produce had audience members asking for seconds. It was a refreshing treat for a hot summer day that made the Watermelon Throwdown just a little sweeter and cooler.

Next, we threw-down at the Watermelon Eating Contest, where both kids and adults left with messy watermelon-stained smiles. Kids stepped up and devoured giant slices of juicy watermelon as fast as their little mouths could go, all without the use of their hands. It was so much fun to watch, that moms, dads, and grandparents stepped up and competed, too. Winners of our Watermelon Eating contest went home with the championship title and a watermelon from Simons' Produce. It was one of the most enjoyable events we've seen, and the perfect way to celebrate summer at the Nashville Farmers' Market.

The market featured of delicious summer treats for snacking and lunch options at this year's Watermelon Throwdown. Cajun shrimp skewers from Nooley's Cajun Cuisine, Alaskan salmon from Virgin Bay Seafood, squash and zucchini from White's Family Farm, and fresh watermelon slices were grilled on-site and served to shoppers by Ed Smith of B&C BBQ. All proceeds went to the Music at the Market fund. Plus, sweet watermelon varieties provided by our farmers were sampled at our Watermelon Tasting Table all morning.

The Nashville Farmers' Market would like to thank everyone who supported our market this past Saturday, making the Watermelon Throwdown a huge success! Thank you to Simons' Produce for sponsoring the event and all our market merchants who sponsored other activities and provided food for the outdoor grill. We look forward to our next summertime events—Night Market on August 19th and Pepperfest on September 17th. 


August 3, 2016

Chef Crystal De Luna-Bogan in the Edible Kitchen

Chef Crystal De Luna-Bogan will demonstrate a sweet and refreshing watermelon salad for the Watermelon Throwdown on Saturday August 6, 2016, at the Nashville Farmers' Market. Chef De Luna-Bogan is Le Cordon Bleu trained and the co-owner of The Grilled Cheeserie food truck—Nashville's go-to for gooey, cheesy delights. Her education and many years of experience in the fine dining scene has assisted her and husband Joseph in creating one of the most popular food trucks in the Nashville area.

This Saturday, chef De Luna-Bogan will demonstrate her recipe for Fresh Watermelon with Hibiscus-Lime Granita in the Edible Kitchen using ingredients found at the Market—fresh mint from Reggie's Produce and sweet watermelon provided by Simons' Produce.

"Nothing is better in this Southern summer heat than ice cold watermelon! My recipe for Hibiscus-Lime Granita is a sure crowd pleaser that compliments all the fresh watermelon found at the Nashville Farmers' Market. I am so excited to throw down my recipe and kick off the Watermelon Throwdown with everyone," chef De Luna-Bogan says.

You can catch her demonstrations in the Edible Kitchen this Saturday at the Watermelon Throwdown at 10 and 11 am. Snag a hand-written recipe card from Chef De Luna-Bogan, and stick around afterwards to sample this tasty salad.

The Edible Kitchen is where chefs from around the city teach live audience members how to prepare simple meals using seasonal ingredients found at the Market. It is presented by Edible Nashville, and happens at the Market every first and third Saturday of the month.

August 2, 2016

Simons’ Produce Sponsors Watermelon Throwdown!

Simons' Produce will sponsor the Watermelon Throwdown festival at the Nashville Farmers' Market this Saturday, August 6th, from 10 am to 2 pm. The Watermelon Throwdown is Nashville's opportunity to celebrate all things watermelon with the people who grow the sweetest and the best right here in our region. Simons' Produce is one of the most abundant producers of watermelons at the Nashville Farmers' Market, and we are grateful for their sponsorship and support.

Jerry and Janice Simons both come from farming families and farmed until their recent retirement. Their son, Jerry Wayne, is now in charge of the farm and has over 100 acres planted in produce. The Simons' farm is located just 1 hour north of the Nashville Farmers' Market in Ellkton, Kentucky, where the family resides. They've been members of our farmers' market family since June of 2015 and can often be found giving the best tips on how to pick out the sweetest melons at their market booth.

"We are so very excited to sponsor the Watermelon Throwdown this year, because we love getting people excited about the fresh food our family grows. Watermelon is one of our favorites and so enjoyable on a hot summer day. We just love talking to folks who visit our booth at the market to talk about the different varieties we grow," Janice Simon says.

Simons' Produce will feature two watermelon varieties at the Watermelon Throwdown this Saturday—the 'Sweet Gem' and 'Fascination.' Sweet Gem is a newer variety of the Crimson Red and Sweet Gem is a second generation Sugar Baby. Both melons are globe-shaped and seedless, harvested fresh and ripe, and oh-so sweet. Visit the Simons every week at the Market Wednesday-Sunday, and be sure to grab one of their sweet, juicy watermelons this Saturday at the Watermelon Throwdown!

August 2, 2016

Tips and Tricks for Choosing the Sweetest Watermelon

Summertime at the Nashville Farmers' Market is where shoppers find the freshest watermelon grown by local farmers. Yet, many folks are still befuddled when it comes to choosing the best one. Some like to thump, and others swear by the stripes, and many aren't sure how to approach the decision at all. Therefore, we’ve put together this handy-dandy guide to help you navigate your way through the process. By following these helpful tips and tricks, you'll increase your chances of scoring the sweetest melon every visit to the Nashville Farmers' Market.

The brighter the yellow spot, the better. Some folks feel the yellow spot on a watermelon is unsightly, yet it is the best indicator of sweetness, according to expert watermelon farmer Jerry Simon. The "belly spot" or "field spot" marks the side of the melon that sat in the field and touched the ground far away from the sun's rays. If the watermelon was picked immaturely, the yellow spot will be light or nonexistent. But if the melon spent a longer time ripening on the vine, the yellow spot will be big and bright, and the sugars will have developed much more robustly. So don’t dismiss a spotty melon!

Don't thump--lift! Lifting is the key to choosing a watermelon that is ripe and filled with juice. Many folks believe that thumping is the way to go, yet deep, hollow sounds can be difficult to determine. Therefore, we suggest flexing your melon muscles and giving that baby a lift! A watermelon that is heavy for its size is an excellent indicator of a pick that is ripe and filled with juice.

Symmetry = Beauty. A beautiful melon is a symmetrical one. Scratch that…a ripe, juicy, sweet watermelon is often a symmetrical one! That's because misshapen watermelons are often due to inadequate pollination, and can mean that the fruit did not mature properly. Therefore, choose a supreme melon that is symmetrical and blunt on both ends instead of pointy or underdeveloped.

Ask your farmer! There is no better way to learn about the food we eat than from the people who grow it. The Nashville Farmers' Market has more farmers participating now than it has had in decades, serving as a venue where shoppers can find the freshest farm food and learn a thing or two from the experts. So strike up a conversation with a farmer the next time you're at the Nashville Farmers' Market. They’ll be happy to teach you everything you've ever dreamed of knowing about watermelon, including how to choose the sweetest one!