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Take advantage of fresh foods from local farmers this growing season

Posted in NEWS on Friday, May 20th, 2011

by Kendra Abkowitz, Sustainability and Environmental Management Office

Vanderbilt Farmers Market 2010 (Vanderbilt University/Steve Green)

Tennessee’s summer growing season brings ample opportunities to enjoy fresh, locally and sustainably grown and produced vegetables, fruits, meats, flowers, herbs, cheeses, bread and much more! The best opportunities for finding these food items are conveniently available in the Middle Tennessee area:

  • farmers’ markets
  • community-supported agriculture (CSA) arrangements

Farmers’ markets are public venues where local farmers sell their goods directly to customers. Vanderbilt University hosts its own weekly farmers’ market each Thursday from 3 to 6 p.m. during the growing season. The market will open on June 2 and will continue through Oct. 27.

CSAs allow farmers and consumers to share the benefits, costs, and risks associated with maintaining, harvesting and producing food items. Customers pledge to financially support a producer early in the growing season and then receive a selection of fresh vegetables, fruit, meat and/or dairy products on a weekly basis. Pricing, delivery and/or pick-up, length of season and selection of items varies from one CSA to another. Worried that you can’t consume all of the items in your CSA? Share a CSA membership with a friend or co-worker and split the bounty!

Some of the benefits of shopping at farmers’ markets and participating in CSAs include: access to healthy, fresh, seasonal and many times USDA Certified Organic food items that have been produced locally; acquisition of produce items at optimal harvest time; knowledge of how and where items were produced; lower overall costs due to the elimination of middlemen; support of the local economy, farms, and businesses; cultivation of community relations between growers and consumers; and avoided consumption of fossil fuels required to transport foods across long distances from production locations that are far away. Consider visiting a farmers’ market or joining a CSA near you!

Middle Tennessee Farmers’ Markets

Vanderbilt Farmers’ Markets: The Vanderbilt Farmers’ Market features fresh fruits, vegetables, locally farmed meat, dairy, cheeses and bread from local farmers and vendors. The market is open each Thursday from 3 to 6 p.m. from June 2 – Oct. 27. Cash, check, and credit and debit cards are accepted (some vendors are cash or check only). Address: Medical Center Plaza. More information.

Nashville Farmers’ Market: Located near downtown Nashville’s Bicentennial Mall, the Nashville Farmers’ Market features food items from local farmers and re-sellers, eateries, specialty food shops and a weekend Flea Market with independent vendors selling new and used items. The market is open every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (except Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year’s days). NOTE: Many market vendors and their items are seasonal. Address: 900 Rosa Parks Boulevard; Nashville, TN 37208. More information.

12th South Farmers’ Market: Located at Sevier Park in the 12th South Neighborhood, the 12th South Farmers’ Market offers dairy, meat, eggs, baked goods, seasonal produce and specialty items. The market is open Tuesdays from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. from May 24 – Oct. 25. Address: 300 Granny White Pike; Nashville, TN 37204. More information.

East Nashville Farmers’ Market: Located in the heart of East Nashville, the East Nashville Farmers’ Market features organic produce, grass-fed meats, eggs, artisan cheeses, berries, breads, trees, herbs and more. The market is open Wednesdays from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. from May 11 – Oct. 26. Address: 210 South 10th Street; Nashville, TN 37206. More information.

Forest Hills Farmers’ Market: Located at Forest Hills United Methodist Church, the Forest Hills Farmers’ Market provides a diverse selection of fruits, vegetables, herbs and meats grown by area farmers and fresh cakes, pies and pastries prepared by local bakers. The market is open Saturdays from 8 am to 12 pm from May 7 – October 29, 2011. Address: 1250 Old Hickory Boulevard; Brentwood, TN 37027. More information.

Franklin Farmers’ Market: Located in the Shed at The Factory in Franklin, the Franklin Farmers’ Market features seasonal produce and fruits, fresh-baked breads, dairy items, grass-fed meats and more. The market is open year-round on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. NOTE: Many market vendors and their items are seasonal. Address: 230 Franklin Road; Franklin, TN 37065. More information.

West Nashville Farmers’ Market: Located at Richland Park west of downtown Nashville, the West Nashville Farmers’ Market features farm fresh produce, eggs, milk, cheeses, flowers, seasonal fruits and berries, breads, granola, herbs, spices and more. The market is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. from April 9 – Oct. 29. Address: 4601 Charlotte Pike; Nashville, TN 37209. More information.

Woodbine Farmers’ Market: Located at the Coleman Park Community Center southeast of downtown Nashville, the Woodbine Farmers’ Market features organic and conventional produce, meats, local cheeses, baked goods, local honey and more. The market is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. from May 14 – Oct. 29. Address: 384 Thompson Lane; Nashville, TN 37211. More information.

For a complete listing of farmers’ markets available throughout all Tennessee counties, visit Pick Tennessee Products’ Farmers’ Market page.

CSAs Serving Middle Tennessee

Avalon Acres Farm offers a variety of packages and individual items for 26 weekly distributions of locally-produced vegetables, fruit, meats and dairy from May 11– Oct. 30. Package prices range from $22.50 to $60 per week, plus a one-time $25 membership fee. Vegetables and fruit you can expect in your share vary throughout the growing season but include strawberries, peas, radishes, carrots, beets, lettuces, tomatoes, peppers, beans, corn, squashes, herbs, apples, melons and more. Meats available include cuts of beef, pork and chicken. Several pickup sites in the Nashville and surrounding areas are offered on Wednesdays and Sundays. Pickup times vary based on locations and days. More information.

Bells Bend Farms offers 1/4+ bushel of produce from mid-May to mid-December for $700, or $23 per week. Vegetables and fruit you can expect in your share vary throughout the growing season but include broccoli, cabbage, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, kale, blackberries, melons, peas, lettuce, green beans, corn, local eggs and more. Pick up is available on Tuesday at the Sulphur Creek Farm north of Nashville, or on Saturdays at the Farmers’ Market in Sylvan Park. More information.

Buffalo Valley Farm offers a ½ bushel basket of 20 weekly distributions of produce from May 25 – Oct. 25 for $700. Vegetables and fruit you can expect in your share vary throughout the growing season but include beets, okra, peppers, onions, cabbage, pears, melons, beans, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach, eggplant, squash, honey, kale, zucchini, lettuce and more. Pickup is available on Wednesdays from 5 to 7 p.m. across from Bellevue 12 Cinema in Bellevue. More information.

Delvin Farms offers a full share of 24 weekly distributions of organic produce from May – October 2011 for $700 and a half share of 12 weekly distributions (every other week) for $400. Vegetables and fruit you can expect in your share vary throughout the growing season, but include strawberries, broccoli, cabbage, green onions, kale, collard greens, turnip greens, lettuces, tomatoes, peppers, squash, zucchini, eggplant, melons, potatoes, and more. Several pickup sites in the Nashville and surrounding areas are offered on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Pickup times vary based on locations and days. More information.

Doe Run Farms offers a regular share of 18 weekly distributions of locally-grown produce from May 3 – Sept. 2 for $795 and a mini share for $495. Vegetables and fruit you can expect in your share vary throughout the growing season, but include strawberries, arugula, beets, beans, peppers, cabbage, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, zucchini, blueberries, peaches, muscadines, apples and more. Fruit, Tomato, and Cheese Lover’s Shares are available with purchase of a regular and mini share. Several pickup sites in the Nashville and surrounding areas are offered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Pickup times vary based on locations and days. More information.

Eaton’s Creek Organics and Hungry Gnome Farm will jointly offer a full share of 25 weekly distributions of locally-grown produce from May – October for $725 and a half share of 12 weekly distributions (every other week) for $400. Vegetables and fruit you can expect in your share vary throughout the growing season, but include carrots, strawberries, asparagus, onions, beets, herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, lettuces, beans, eggplant, peppers, blackberries, peaches, melons and more. Pickup is available on Wednesdays from 4 to 6 p.m. at the First Unitarian Universalist Church on Woodmont Boulevard or in Joelton at Eaton’s Creek Organics. More information.

Gourmet Pasture Beef offers a full share of 6 monthly installments of grass-fed beef from May – October for $550. Each installment includes 5 pounds of ground beef, 4 cuts of steak and 1 surprise cut of steak. Several pickup sites in the Nashville and surrounding areas are offered. Pickup times vary based on locations and days. More information.

Peaceful Pastures offers a full share of 6 monthly installments of grass-fed meat from May – October for $650-715 (regular, 3 meat, and pork-free installments available) and a half share of 3 monthly installments in June, August and October for $375-405. Meats available include cuts of beef, lamb, goat, pork and whole chickens. Several pickup sites in the Nashville and surrounding areas are offered. Pickup times vary based on locations and days. More information.

For a complete listing of CSAs available throughout all Tennessee counties, visit Local Table’s Farm Guide.

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