May evenings are an idyllic time here in Nashville. With the mild weather and the longer days, there are more people on the streets enjoying everything from the outdoor seating to the flowers in bloom to the mere fact that it is not yet blisteringly hot. This past Wednesday, I decided to enjoy a particularly fine May evening by exploring the very first day of the East Nashville Farmers’ Market. And in doing so, we inaugurate the very first Kitchen Confit Roadtrip. Granted this roadtrip was less than 10 minutes from my apartment, but in the future our travels will take us further afield as we explore good food in all its incarnations and locations.
Located across the Cumberland River from downtown Nashville, East Nashville is one of Music City’s most intriguing neighborhoods. In fact, the East End/Five Points section of East Nashville is our own little version of Berkeley, CA. The neighborhood is home to East Nashville High School – Oprah’s a graduate – and also a number of churches, live music venues, and beautiful homes. The neighborhood has a plethora of starving musicians and activists, but it also has Margot – a southern version of Alice Waters’s Chez Panisse; the Turnip Truck – a versatile natural grocery; and enough hybrids with Obama bumper stickers to make Al Gore proud. So it made sense that when an organic, producer-centric, farmers’ market popped up in town, it would be in East Nashville.
On this first farmers’ market evening, there was a bluegrass band playing, since it likely violates all sorts of statutes to have an event in Nashville without a fiddle. The market was definitely busy and there were plenty of people and young families milling around the 10 or so booths set up. Most of the produce consisted of greens and root vegetables – which is what you’d expect since these are the produce products currently in season locally. There was one booth that was selling organic strawberries, but the line was so long I couldn’t get close enough to see the price, let alone the berries. There were also booths selling local cheeses, other dairy products, and free range meats. Almost all of the producers were happy to talk about their products – detailing the methods they used and underscoring the freshness of their merchandise – I overheard a woman selling milk tell a little boy that the milk had been inside the cow just yesterday!
All in all, the market shows promise. Once the growing season reaches it’s peak here in Tennessee, I’ll likely be making a weekly trip to stock up on fresh local produce – though by then we’ll be in the sweltering section of summer. On this May evening it was just nice to see people out and about and enjoying the beautiful day.