Lannae's Food and Travel

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July 3, 2007

Nashville's Year of Farmer's Markets

It seems to be the year that Nashville gets a big push for better produce grown locally, and I could not be more thrilled. When I was a kid, there was a farmer's market near my elementary school in Los Angeles. When I was a teen, there was a farmer's market near my high school in Boston. It was kind of nutty that these two mega-cities had farmer's markets with locally grown veggies for us to eat, yet in Nashville, all we had were big box stores selling cardboard flavored veggies. This is all changing now, and I hold my breath in hopes it is a change that will take hold. Fresh veggies taste really good, and it is possible that kids actually do like veggies if they tasted good.

This past week I found an article in the Vanderbilt University Newspaper that said a PhD candidate, Darcy Freedman, is starting a PhD project to bring farmer's markets to three of the city's Boys and Girls Clubs once per week. Darcy calls it the Veggie Project. (click on the hot link to read the article and get directions) The VP is sponsored by Vanderbilt Children's Health Improvement and Prevention program. The idea is to bring local, organic, fresh and lots of different types of veggies to "food desert" parts of town, and let people on the way home from work, and neighbors buy great veggies. This year the VP will go through Aug 10, so I only have 6 weeks to take advantage of this. The best part of this project is that the VP comes on Thursday to a Boys and Girls Club that is just about 2 blocks off of my normal route home from work. The local grocery store has really lack luster produce, and I end up having to drive more miles to find fresher, and more varieties of veggies and fruits. For the next 6 weeks, I will be go to the VP to buy my veggies. The question I have is, when Darcy's project is over, what will happen to the VP farmer's market? Is it sustainable? Who will sustain such a wonderful project?

Darcy and her interns get the produce from Delvin, Smiley's, and other local farmers and the resells the veggies at the VP locations. Delvin is a local organic farm with a wide variety of veggies, and Smiley's is a local farm with great corn and eggplant. All profits are being given to the Boys and Girls Club to help pay for the camp season. One mom said this is a good program because she can pick up her kids, and do important veggie grocery shopping for the week and save time. I agree, it is a big time saver for me to stray 2 blocks from my normal commute and buy my veggies. I just want it all. I want a large variety of veggies that are easily accessible to my lifestyle and commute. This VP fills the bill.

Just for fun, I wanted to show a Japanese eggplant that I got from the VP farmer's market. Yes, the kids, Darcy and her undergraduate interns all had a good chuckle over this veggie.

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At 7/5/07, 10:29 AM, Blogger Katie Zeller said...

Who said vegetables can't be fun!?!

At 7/5/07, 3:17 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Fun indeed! I think the Japanese Eggplant was happy to see me, and I was happy to eat it!

At 7/5/07, 4:02 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Actually, Lannae, you'll be able to get fresh produce from the Delvin's and other local producers (including cheese, bread, eggs, and free range meats) until the end of October at the Downtown Farmers' Market sponsored by Nashville Urban Harvest, Thursdays at 3rd and Union from 11-2.
~Kate Lassiter

At 7/5/07, 5:42 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks Kate, I did know about the wonderful FM downtown. I wish them a great success! The VP project is quite convenient (just 2 blocks off my path) on my way home from work. The Urban Farmer's Market is about a 2 mile walk round trip in the hottest part of the day, so I will have to skip the UFM until it gets to be cooler, and I am not dripping in sweat while heading back into the office. A few co-workers and other friends, who work on the west side of downtown, all say the same thing - it is too hot to walk all the way over to the UFM. We support the idea, but just cannot reasonably get there.

At 7/6/07, 9:51 AM, Blogger ayseyaman said...

Hi Lannae,
I love buying vegetables and fruits from farmer's market, too.
It is really great feeling. I can't find any market in Orlando as big as what we have in Turkey.:{
I dont give up hopefully I will find it one day.:)
Japanese eggplant is really funny. Lol! :)

At 7/6/07, 6:57 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Dear Ayseyaman, it does seem that farmer's markets in Europe and Asia are always better than in the USA. I wish you very much luck in finding a lovely farmer's market in Orlando. Florida is a big growing state, so I hope that the farmer's market trend reaches you soon!


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