White's Creek Bounty
White's Creek Farmers Market just opened on June 2nd, and you got it, I was there! The farmers market is only open 8a-12p Saturdays on the southeast corner of White's Creek Pike and Old Hickory Blvd north of Nashville. White's Creek is about 10 miles as the crow flies from the center of Nashville, and about 14 miles on the road from me. It isn't a bad drive on Saturday morning. White's Creek is the most northern portion of my county, and it is amazing how rural it is and still is so close into Nashville. I am putting this into perspective, I drove only 14 road miles, stayed within my county, and found beautiful farmland. When I lived in Boston, I would have to go about 100 miles to west into the Bershire mountains for a sense of rural, or into New Hampshire and Vermont to the north (over 60 miles), and there is no sense of rural anywhere to the south of Boston until you get to Virginia (350+ miles) perhaps. Don't get me wrong, I do love Boston for so much of the other things it offers. It offers great public transportation, great learning institutions, great symphony, great ballet theatre, great colonial and revolutionary history, great chefs, great Chinatown, great coast line, great lobsters, and great culture. Oh yea, no tax on food, and most clothes.
Back to the White's Creek Farmers Market. This is a group of 4 farms that are trying to give this market a go. Eaton's Creek, Sonfarm, Bramble Hill and Hungry Gnome Farm are the collective of farmers who seem to be friends and want to make things work. I think that it will work for me because it is about 3 miles closer to my house than the Franklin Farmer's Market, and on the way back to my home, I can drive right by the Nashville Farmer's Market where Freddie, from Mamushi Nature Farm, sells his chickens and eggs, and DW Farms are selling other meats. It will be about a 15 mile savings for me because I don't have to double back and pass my house like I used to, just to go get meat and eggs from Freddie and DW. With the way gasoline prices are going (still way cheaper than most of Europe), if I can save 1/2 gallon of gas (about $1.65) on a food shopping trip, each week, the savings over a years is $85.80 which can get me a 3-course dinner for 2 with a corkage fee for a bottle of wine at Margot Cafe, my favorite restaurant in Nashville.
Look at my new potatoes I got from Hungry Gnome. They are literally new potatoes that were the very 1st crop of potatoes from Hungry Gnome, and they were just picked that week for sale. I will fully admit that Hungry Gnome is my favorite direct source farm for me because of the food they offer, and for who these people are. Alicia Batson and Bert Hartman are both doctors, and partner in life with a vision of the way foods should be grown. I would like to have time with them and hear their story of how they got where they are. It is fun to hear Alicia say what is edible (all of it) of the food they are selling, and a suggestion for how to prepare the food. For example, in the winter, I was at the Harris Teeter grocery store buying beets. I asked the produce guy if I could eat the tops. He did not know, the book in the produce section said nothing about the beet greens, so I went home, cut them off and dumped the greens into my compost pile. Fast forward to spring and Hungry Gnome, Alicia casually mentioned that the beet greens could be cooked up just like chard, mustard greens, or other bitter greens. The outcome is that my compost pile is shrinking because I am not putting beet greens in the pile anymore, and I am now waiting for fall to get here so I can put tree leaves on it to compost over winter, so I can use the compost in my flower beds and herb pots.
Here is a look at the Bramble Farm's greens. Aren't they pretty? About greens, I got a head of lettuce for only $2 from Hungry Gnome last week, and I have had some business travel and had not been able to eat it up. Since it was picked only 9 days ago, and has been handled very gently by Hungry Gnome and myself, I still have a vibrant head of lettuce without one black mark on it. I am sure it will last for a few more days, and I can have a decent salad today. What can you say about your lettuce in the pre-washed plastic bag? Those have a shelf life of less than 5 days, cost more, and there tends to be more waste. I prefer the cheap method of having a $2 head of lettuce last me for at least 2 weeks, if not more.
I have a couple of back to back trips this week, so I did not buy a whole lot at the White's Creek Farmer's Market. I did get some radishes to snack on, gorgeous garlic bulbs, and potatoes for later. I am so happy for new potatoes now because that means that the need for me to stray out to un-local brown rice and flour deminishes. I can do a lot with a potato.
I really want to support this White's Creek Farmers Market. Why? Because the farmers have lovely displays of food on their tables, as you can see from my photos. How can you resist the beauty of the colors of the flowers and food in these photos, and for me in real life! I get giddy when I see the beautiful displays and colors, and the vision beckons me to buy and bring home some of that beauty for myself. This farmers market is closer to my house, and makes sense for road driving for other errands I need to run, so it will save me time in the long run. This weekend, I was able to go late to the market (9:30 am, and remember my household is late to bed, late to rise, and pass the coffee before doing anything), get home, unload, scamper off to do a full workout, run another errand and be home by 12:30 pm for lunch. This farmers market is fitting in great without compromising other aspects of my weekend life. I also really like Alicia and her preparation tips for parts of the food that are unusual, like carrot tops and beet tops. More to come on the carrot top pesto that wowed my friends at a potluck. Until then, bon apetit!
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