Wednesday, September 23, 2009

More Goat Cheese and Restaurant Kick backs

Nashville Restaurants and Food
More Goat Cheese and Restaurant Kick backs

A stroll through the park is never a bad thing and when you can chat with organic farmers it’s a pleasant way to spend an hour on a Saturday morning. The crowd at the West Nashville Farmers Market was apparently a little more laid back this weekend than the big crowds seen in opening weeks. The wet weather provided us with an opportunity to talk to the various vendors, under tents and dodging a few rain drops.
Noble Springs Dairy caught our eye. The Williamson County farm has become the third commercially licensed goat cheese manufacturer in Tennessee. Alex Noble says they’ve been selling cheese for about six weeks now. His son Dustin runs the venture. Dad just helps out with marketing and sales. We sampled several varieties of chevre including garlic and herb, and we took home a peppery Santa Fe blend. The feta proved mild and with a little brine. They also have a cherry and berry sweet cheese that sounds intriguing. The love of goats doesn’t just make cheese a possibility; apparently it makes love a possibility. Alex says Dustin met the girl of his dreams at a goat show. Justyne McCoy is now officially fiancé and part of the fledgling business. Noble Springs will be selling at the West Nashville Farmers Market for the next few weeks, as well as other area Farmers Markets. You can visit their website at: www.noble-springs.com but it doesn’t say anything about the cheese yet, it’s pretty much goat oriented right now.
If you haven’t had a chance to check out the West Nashville Farmers Market organizers say they hope to keep up and running until the end of October. It happens Saturday mornings from 9am to Noon in Richland Park, at the corner of 46th Ave and Park Ave.
Restaurant Kick Backs
Eating out on a regular basis can really add up, especially if you’re dining at the high end of the scale. A new local venture is trying to give diners some cash back and provide new opportunities for area restaurants. We shy away from promoting particular business ventures. However, this one sounded interesting and after much checking it appears to be legitimate. It’s called Royal Oak Rewards. You sign up your credit cards with their system. When you use that card to eat out at a participating restaurant you get money credited back to you.

Here is how owner/CEO Jeff Gould described it:
· The rewards are 5% of the total amount of the check – food, drinks, tax and tip. That is consistent across all the restaurants.
· There are no extra cards or coupons that the diner needs to be able to receive their rewards – they simply register their credit/debit card(s) with us.
· You can redeem rewards after you accumulate $25 in rewards. You can receive your reward either as a credit to one of the cards you register with us or as a prepaid Amex gift card. We just deal in cash – no points or credits or anything else you need to interpret.
· The registered credit cards are all stored with our technology partner (Total Systems or “TSYS” a $2.5 billion NYSE company). Everything is encrypted and secured – it’s much more secure than handing your credit card to a server.
So, the first question to ask: how do they make their money? Apparently they ask participating restaurants to give them a discount on purchases through the system and they give part of that discount back to customers. The restaurants pay for the venture and I suppose the worth to them would be increased business. They currently list about 20 area restaurants on the website including: Yellow Porch, The Standard at Smith House, Midtown Café and the Mad Platter.
I guess if you drop $100 for dinner and save $5 that’s not such a bad thing. Perhaps best of all several non-profit groups have signed up, so you could get that money donated to a worthy cause. They also have a corporate version of the plan for businesses.
If you’re interested check out the web site at https://www.royaloakrewards.com/default.aspx

3 comments:

RestaurantZoom said...

I don't mean to be negative but "storing credit card" information to save a little money is generally not that great of an idea. Most folks balk at providing yet another party with their personal financial information. We recommend just the opposite...give your credit cards and financial information to as few companies and people as possible. It is just not a security breach from outside of a company but internally as well. All it takes is a disgruntled, dishonest employee who is out to cause damage and the rest just falls into place.

Anonymous said...

Help me out here - how exactly did you find out about this market?

I (we) kinda know just about every farmer at that market not to mention the organizer personally. I have not seen a single email or anything online to let me know when it is in operation.

Eric and Katie said...

Restaurant Zoom: I agree, the big issue here is whether you trust this company to keep your credit card info. But considering many people leave credit card info on file with Amazon and other online retailers...it's not such a stretch.

Anon: We've been getting regular e-mails and it's been the buzz on food blogs around Nashville. Probably your best bet is to visit the West Nashville Farmers Market blog and e-mail them to sign-up: http://www.westnashvillefarmersmarket.org/blogs/blog6.php