What is the heartbeat of a city? Is it the sports team? The music? Monuments? For many places, it’s the food. Music City USA clearly represents itself with its namesake and rockin’ tunes, but food is a close second. I tell those that I encounter that Nashville is going through a cuisine renaissance, attracting elite chefs from around the nation and (probably) globe. One of the hallmarks of that cuisine scene is Tennessee’s excellent, varied produce. And there is no better time and place for that produce than the Nashville Farmers Market Farm Day held annually on a Saturday in July.
Produce to Buy
How much produce can you find at the Nashville Farmers Market on Farm Day? Let’s just say my mind was boggled. I walked everywhere and didn’t know what to choose because so many vendors lined…well, everywhere. Ever had dandelion greens? Me neither, but there was a crop being sold. Do be prepared to pay a slight premium for this spectacularly fresh produce. The prices should be on par with stores like Publix and Kroger’s. For example, I paid $3.00 for a bunch of Swiss chard. I honestly hesitated to purchase more simply because I buy a lot of my produce at stores like Aldi’s (known for very low prices) and because I already had produce at home that I needed to use. The masses of fruits and vegetables were extremely tempting though.
Greens, melons, peaches, berries, and plenty of tomatoes are just a sampling. My video shows buckets of produce, and farmers had more stored if they began to run low on produce. If you’re lucky and a fan of tomatoes, Farm Day sometimes provides a tomato sampling table where you’re able to try several varieties!
Restaurateurs In Action
Nashville Farmers Market currently has 33 vendors listed. Thirty-three! And a solid portion of them are part of the large international restaurant food court. From B&C Market BBQ (southern-style) and Bella Nashville (gourmet pizza) to Music City Crepes (sweet or savory) and The Original Nooleys (Louisiana cajun), you’ll find enough variety to tame your taste buds’ currently craving.
One of the restaurants–Jamaicaway Restaurant (not open on Saturdays)–was even featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-In and Dives. The one at Nashville Farmers Market is one of two outposts in town. And you’ll find special guest appearances by food trucks like The Grilled Cheeserie (specializing in all things grilled cheese sandwich).
With all the options, I chose the only occasionally open Caracasville, a local pop-up Venezuelan restaurant about which knowledgeable Nashvillians rave. I opted for fresh mango juicee and a chicken arepa with beans, cheese, plantains, and sides of ajo (garlic) and cilantro sauces. It was some of the best food I’ve eaten in Nashville for less than $10.00!
Activities To Sample
Farm Day isn’t strictly about food; local activities are plentiful! Are you a baker? Enter the pie baking contest! Do you want to enjoy that Music City USA namesake? Enjoy some live bluegrass music! Do you love kitschy contests and charity? Enter a corn-shucking contest to benefit the Nashville Food project.
And don’t forget to check out the plant shed–more in my video, but it features some amazing plants and crafts (sample Nashville, Tennessee sign above!!).
Whatever your fancy, make sure it includes drinking water. Lots of water. Nashville summers are hot, humid, and exhaustively sticky.
Have you been to the Nashville Farmers Market Farm Day? What are your favorite parts? Comment below, and don’t forget to check out the video!
Until next time…toodles!