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Market Blog

November 8, 2016

Turnip Green Festival a Fun and Funky Success!

This past Saturday, the Nashville Farmers' Market and Smiley's Farm brought back the beloved Turnip Green Festival, and 7,000 members of our community came out to celebrate. The B.B. King Blues Club All-Star Band had shoppers dancing to funky, soulful tunes, and the whole-hog barbecue gathered an intrigued crowd of hungry on-lookers. The World's Largest Pot of Turnip Greens cooked on site at the market fed crowds until the afternoon, and the Martha White Cornbread Cook-Off attracted crackerjack cornbread experts from our community. It was a successful, down-home event that was a true testament to the power of the humble turnip green and its most unique ability to bring people together.

The day started at 7am, as Troy Smiley of Smiley's Farm began to fire up the two large kettles that were stuffed full of turnip greens and simmered throughout the day. Samples were handed out to crowds by Mr. Smiley himself, and the line was never too short on pepper sauce or smiles.Smiley's Farm sold and cooked a record number of Turnip Greens this year!

Smoke also filled the air around Nashville favorite grill master, Joe Bond of Smokin' Joe's Barbecue, as he set up his full rig filled with smoky meats. Shoppers gathered around, watched, and snapped photos as Smokin' Joe pulled the whole hog and prepared sides, and many said his barbecue was the best they have ever tasted.

For our plant-based dieters, Melissa Haithcock of a Happy Healthy Heart demonstrated how to prepare a flavorful Sweet Potato, Kale, and Red Lentil soup in the Edible Kitchen. Samples were served after the show that happy shoppers slurped down with hearty delight.

Though the food and chef demonstrations were a hit, it was the Martha White Cornbread Cook-Off and the Turnip Green Eating Contest that both made this year's Turnip Green Festival  a real smash! Cornbread enthusiasts brought their best recipes to the Martha White tent to be judged by our panel of esteemed judges. Hot water cornbread, Mexican-style cornbread, even a rosemary cornbread were entered into the contest, but it was Wanda Hodge's Fried Jalapeno and Onion Cornbread that stole the judges hearts. Congratulations, Ms. Hodge, and thank you to our judges.

Finally, Smiley's Farm brought back the popular Turnip Green Eating Contest that attracted kids and parents alike to participate. Each contestant was given a 3 pounds of Smiley's turnip greens and 3 minutes to gobble them down, and though it was a very close finish, the ultimate winner of the $100 prize was James Brown. Congratulations to him and his steady determination!

Thank you to everyone who came out and celebrated for the Turnip Green Festival at the Nashville Farmers' Market this year! It was warming to see this event spring back to life with such exuberance, and we are all looking forward to making it even bigger, better, and badder next year. All hail the humble turnip green!