there is always a first time

each and every saturday since that dramatic first delivery for Hill and Hollow CSA in 2000, we have loaded every member of our family into the vehicle in the still night for the now so familiar 100 mile journey to the metro Nashville farmers market. back then it was a lone child nestled between mama and papa in our ’82 ford  f-150. a newly turned one year old boy. then years later the pair:  a toddling boy and a daughter in arms, golly. more years pass and another babe born into the market routine. waking before dawn on saturday and hitting the road all together is a family tradition. and you know, traditions are hard to change.

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it was a tough decision to leave papa home with our youngest and our oldest.  we each have our significant role on market day. it is a long and important work day that we each treasure for many reasons. CSA delivery is the moment of gratification, of connection, of appreciation, of affirmation . we are restored in a super caffeinated, sleep deprived kind of way and it is a hard day to miss.

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for extreme personal familial reasons, we changed it up. whether it be a lasting shift or a one time only, that remains to be seen, but this past market day mother and daughter loaded out pre dawn and rocked the market in ways we never thought possible.

we work together every day, my children and i. some days are lovely, some full of nagging and respondent eye rolling.  madeline has her own agenda at the market. a fluid dance that has evolved in her 12 years of saturdays. between urban pals and vendor buddies, i feared her plans might not mesh with having to operate the market stand with me. as it turned out, nothing could have been farther from the truth. my daughter was awesome, making sale after sale, filling CSA baskets, holding down the stand of a fellow vendor when he unexpectedly had to leave market. mindful and lovely, i was so proud.

with a pocket full of cash and a bag of greasy chips we rolled home, my girl and i. despite an unexpected vehicle breakdown (fixed by our dear fellow vendors from  Barbour Farms and Noble Springs Dairy) we relished the time to talk uninterrupted and to share a special day. the trip was simultaneously so familiar and so new. change is good friends, change is good.

 

 

sunrise in gallatin

we actually started our 16th CSA delivery season last saturday, may 9th. that happened to be the sixteenth birthday of my oldest, ’twas also my middle dear’s annual dance recital. i did mentally compose a chaotic concept of a post that never made it past my mind to your computer screen last week. perhaps for obvious reasons. ahem.

this weekend, we had the 2nd delivery of the season, but the first for the mom and kid team. the fine art of leaving the farm at 4:00 am with 60 families’ vegetables for the week, market signage, tables, display items, and my family’s provisions for the 14 plus hour day, is one we have worked hard to perfect over these years.

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this season’s start was one of great anticipation for many reasons, it always is energizing to reconnect with our farm’s supporters after a winter’s off. the return of summer’s highly caffeinated super urban socialization is one we really do delight in! this year however there has been a huge transition at our delivery site, the metro nashville farmers market., making our return to town that much more exciting.

after years of planning and envisioning, this well established destination transitioned from a re sellers market to a producer’s only venue highlighting the finest of the local area farmers and artisans. this shift was do dramatic there have been fine folks on either side of the heated debate. for our family, we were just plain excited to see the change firsthand.

change it was.

it is hard to describe how the market felt. the tangible difference it makes when each and every vendor present is representing themselves, selling the fruits of their hard work, displaying the beautiful gifts offered from the land they steward.

sheesh.

it was a great day. personally. professionally.

now in the foggy day after i sip iced tea and hope for rain. i urge each of you to support the beautiful local food scene wherever you are. throughout history vendors and customers have gathered at markets. commerce and community happening for one spectacular day of exchange. right now, with the energy of the early season, i felt so nourished. these weeks will grow exhausting, i know that. for now, i bask in the beauty of a market season officially underway.

 

switching it up

I do the lion’s share of the cooking around here you know, the day to day job of keeping my people fed. Paul comes in for the glamour: the legs of lamb, the roast turkeys and gravy, but it is me dolling out potatoes and rice and eggs and beans and burgers and salads and tacos and pasta and breakfast and lunch and dinner and snacks each and every day. this is no easy task. most often it never occurs to me to garnish, who has time for that when one if not all of the kids are screaming? last week however, we had a little role reversal.

historical photo, I believe this to be the largest turkey EVER raised by Bugtussle Farm!!

historical photo I believe this to be the largest turkey EVER raised by Bugtussle Farm!!

with the departure of our final apprentice, our family settled into our solo selves and with the mood of transition in the air dad headed to the kitchen. farmer Paul wasn’t simply trying to relieve this tired mama of her duties, there was another motivation.  he was  transitioning our home kitchen to his test kitchen for his first ever farm to table extravaganza at Nashville Farmer’s Market once monthly Night Market.

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yes, farmer Paul was due to become chef Paul for pumpkin festival and we were his taste testers for the many days prior. we dined on batches of pumpkin bisque, shared desert samples of pumpkin custards, filled up on ramekins of shepherd’s pie, and our family loved every minute of it.

OK, so i have to interject I was not totally supportive of this endeavor. Paul and I are the perfect match: he the visionary, me the realist. (Really friends, where would we be now if there wasn’t anyone paying the bills?)We both reach for the extraordinary, that we share, but Paul definitely stretches the limits and I certainly remind him of the bottom line. This is a role I don’t always relish (I have been called a naysayer and a downer) but it is a role I have occupied for the two decades of our partnership.

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You can probably guess the end of the story. Despite an inadequate amount of preparation time,  we pulled off the event with glory. The family worked together to send Paul off with joy by mid day on Friday. He was welcomed by helpful hands in Nashville: sous chef times two,  overnight accommodation, market stand support times two. The food was totally perfect and sold out way too early.  I have a feeling that this was not the last chance you will have to sample our foods grown with love, prepared with style,  and served with a garnish.