Monday, April 7, 2008

Nashville Farmers’ Market

Nashville Restaurants and Food
Nashville Farmers’ Market
900 Rosa L. Parks Blvd.

On a summer Saturday morning at the Nashville Farmers’ Market you can smell the sweet, earthy perfume of produce from the parking lot. Inside the shed shoppers will be packing the aisles looking for that perfectly ripe tomato or firm squash. The best part has always been the variety. Once you worked your way through the produce you could shop for some of the best frozen biscuits in town or pick up a half-pound of really fresh shrimp. Then you could finish it all off by wandering around the Market House, spying all of the various food available at 10 or more different vendors. You’d get your lunch and sit down in a comfortable environment and be very happy that you lived in Nashville.

Well, you know the rest of the story. Somewhere along the way it was decided that change was needed at the Nashville Farmers’ Market. We can’t argue with that. Every place needs an update every now and then, and there have been plenty of those since people started having market day on the site in 1828. But please, someone please explain to me why all of the great merchants had to be chased out and why, after all of this time, the construction moves at a glacial pace? It’s sad and has been hard to take.
We still mourn the loss of Gulf Pride seafood. We still look for the hot sauce guy, just hoping. Even worse we get continually sucked in by the so called festivals and special organic produce days. The result is usually less than spectacular, with just a couple of lonely sellers. Sometimes there is absolutely nothing there, even when advertised for weeks ahead of time.

There are a couple of signs of life. The wonderful Jamaicaway restaurant has a new location with seating. The new B and C Market BBQ is a good addition. We like the look of these places and it’s obvious someone has put thought into how the new farmers market will look. Nooley’s Louisiana po-boys, Chicago style gyros and Swett’s continue to hang in there. You can still get your tahini or spicy ajvar at the International Market. But the huge blue tarp and empty space is kinda depressing.

It’s time to get this project finished. The Farmers Market was one of the things that convinced us that Nashville would be a good place to live when we first came here. Now we cringe when we see tourists strolling through. You just want to stop them and say “It used to be really cool here, and maybe it will be again….someday.”

Anyway, enough of the diatribe; what follows are reviews from a recent lunch trip.


Dumuro said...

See Please Here

joisymike said...


joisymike said...

Now back the the farmers market -

Tell me about it. I have personal acquaintances who have tried to become part of the local producers feature they tried a while back, but they got roundly shut out by the gang in the first shed. The place is out of anyones control. The vendors are intimidating to anyone new, when the market management tries to evict, propose lease terms or anything that may disrupt their monopoly, they call the news media and cry to them. A fair amount of the vendors in that first shed aren't even farmers - they are resellers.

This summer expect to find the local producers *anywhere* but there. You have got the Whites Creek market, Turnip Truck will be doing one, Franklin farmers market, where else, I can't recall.

The one glimmer of hope for that location is the possibility of the Gardens of Babylon hosting a market as well. I have been out of town and have not had a chance to speak with Marcus to see how that is going. Let's see how that goes while we wait patiently for progress.....

Vol State said...

Joisymike: Thanks for the heads up on the spammer. I'll try to remove it. I've heard of those farmer issues as well. I think the effort to get local growers into the sheds is a good one. Unless you ask or look closely it's hard to distingiush local from Venezuela sometimes. The Whites Creek famers' market is great, but Nashville deserves a top notch farmers' market. Hopefully they will get all of this straightened out soon. We really are rooting for them.

Lannae said...

What a great post. I thought last summer had a small push in the right direction with local organic farmers there on Saturday morning. I want more of that. Can we do it again this year?

Eric and Katie said...

I agree...I'm really hoping the Whites Creek Farmers' Market comes back. It should. They were quite popular last year and with all the rain we've been having it should be a good growing season. I'll let you know what I hear.