For Singin' River to be hosting the College Street Farmers Market is a true honor-- it means a great deal that we are able to provide a space for local farmers to sell and promote their farms. My family is made up of farmers and has been in the agriculture business in this area since the early 1900’s. They raised cattle, grew corn and cotton for cash, and farmed vegetables. Although I’ve never personally had a farm, I grew up on my grandparents farm and saw the blood, sweat, and tears that went into every crop. My grandfather would get off work at 5pm from the state highway department and drive to the farm where the cows would hear his call and start herding towards him like pets, and then he would bush hog until midnight to make sure everything was done in time, while my grandmother canned produce from their personal farm.
We at College Street Farmers Market are proud to declare that CSFM is a producers-only market. “Producers-only” means that everything that you purchase at our market was made, grown, or raised by the person that sold it to you. Most importantly, it means that all of us, as consumers at the farmers market, can know precisely where our products come from. We can see the name of farm or store, look up where they are from, and speak to someone who is from there. Transparency in the supply chain is the watermark of CSFM’s mission.
People assume that because I consider myself a locavore that I eat 100% local food. Wrong. I hope to someday get to that place – but at this stage in my life that is not realistic. Right now, I eat about 70% local food and that bumps up to about 80% in the summer and fall when the farmers markets are in full swing. So what about that other 30%?
When you can only choose one: say local produce maybe or maybe not grown using sustainable, organic methods or organic produce shipped in from across the country, which do you choose?
My body has been deprived of leafy greens this summer. It has been so hot here in Nashville, that no greens stood a chance to grow in the blazing heat. Last week, I saw a familiar friend at the Market – KALE! I couldn’t believe it. For me this marked the end of the summer, and the promise of cooler temperatures to come.
Two years ago, I expanded my home gardening project to include additional harvestable items I could sell at our local farmers market. I was excited to try my hand at making money from something I was passionate about, and I was excited about becoming part of a farmers market community. However, I was also nervous. Would shoppers buy my produce? Would I be able to market my products in an appealing way? Would I be able to gain the respect of other market vendors? Would I actually make a profit?
Farmers Markets have been gaining in popularity all across the country. Woo-hoo! It’s so encouraging to see new small farms pop up each year. In fact, I just met a new farmer last weekend at my local market and was able to ask him all about his growing practices. We had a long conversation about why he wasn’t certified organic, and what steps he took to grow without pesticides and chemicals.