Fruits of our Labor

By: Alex Powell

You know the old adage, “When life you gives you lemons, you make lemonade”. Well, that’s all fine and good, but lemons are small, and easy to store. I can name easily 20 things off the top of my head to do with this tiny yellow citrus or its juice.  No friends, the real test of character is what you do when your farmer hands you a 15-pound watermelon as part of your CSA basket.  And then it happens again the following week. 

A brief overview of this monstrosity that rules over the market this time of year, it is thought to have originated in southern Africa where it grows wild.  Watermelon seeds were found in the tomb of Tutankhamen. The Spanish were growing it in Florida in the 1500s. It is the state vegetable of Oklahoma. Wait, what? Technically it is a pepo, which is a special berry that is characterized by being fleshy, many seeded, and having a hard rind. Aka, pumpkins, cucumbers, and other gourds.  Mind blown. Nature is a kooky thing. 

Because I am trying to teach my almost three year old to appreciate food, and those who grow it, no food gets tossed in our house. I’ll even overlook the things I don’t like about watermelon. It’s messy, the seeds stick to everything, and the squelching sound it makes when you cut into it… I actually read somewhere it is used as a sound effect for more than a few horror movies. So without further ado, I present to you 

Watermelon-4 Ways.

1.    Cut up. 
Because picnics. And lunches. It is simple and easy, as well as traditional, or lazy, whichever adjective suits you. I left the rind on some and not on some for variety. I froze some for later use in smoothies or just to enjoy post summer. Some people puree it and add a little sugar, then freeze it in ice cube trays. Frozen watermelon will lose some sweetness, so it depends on how you plan to use it. 

2.    Watermelon and cucumber salad.  (These measurements are not exact, increase or decrease depending on taste and desired serving size)

½ red onion thinly sliced
6 Tbsp lime juice (2 to marinate onion, the rest for dressing)
4 cups watermelon, cubed
1 cucumber seeded and chopped
Torn mint to taste
½ cup of olive oil
Feta cheese to taste

In a small bowl combine 2 tbsp of lime juice to onion and marinate for ten minutes.
Combine watermelon, cucumber and mint. Drain onion and stir into watermelon mixture. 
Stir together olive oil and remaining lime juice. Pour over salad, stirring to combine. Top with feta.  

3.    Watermelon ice cream
    6 cups watermelon, cubes
        1 1⁄2 cups heavy cream
    1 1⁄2 cups milk
        1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vodka
Remove the black seeds from the cubes if needed. Puree the watermelon cubes. Press the watermelon puree through a sieve to remove any chunks or seeds. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until the sugar is fully incorporated. Put into your ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s instructions.

4.    Pickled Watermelon Rind There are countless recipes online. I happened to use this one, but make sure you read up about canning safety if you, like me are a novice.

Truth be told, I’ve never heard of such a thing, When I saw the carnage that remained after gutting my poor melon, I knew the rind had to be good for something. My husband had just returned from NOLA, and declared pickled watermelon rind a life-changing thing. Challenge accepted. It was our anniversary after all, and how better to say, “I love you” than pickles? So I go to the store and get the necessary equipment  (canner, jars, etc…). As I am simmering the rind, I prepare the canner to place on the stove, and happen to catch a line on the warning. NOT FOR USE ON GLASS TOP STOVES. Hmm… how important is that? “Siri, why can’t I can on a glass top stove?” There are three basic reasons. First, most glass top stoves do not maintain a consistently high temperature that is required to kill the bacteria that may be present. Second, this was not a flat-bottomed canner and it is possible for it to create a seal with the burner that will shatter the top when you lift it. Finally, the weight of the canner, jars, and water can be too heavy for the stove and crack the top.  I have friends who have taken this risk for years and have never had an issue, so your best bet is to double check with the manufacturer of your stove. Ours is already at the end of its lifespan, and while I would love to have a reason to get a new one, I did not take this chance. I still jarred the pickled rind; I just have to leave it in the refrigerator instead of the pantry.  I have to agree with my husband; pickled rinds are an amazing thing. You can also adapt this recipe to pumpkins and other winter squash. 

Lastly, I won’t count this in the recipe count because I didn’t try it personally, but you can roast the seeds. Toss watermelon seeds in a little olive oil and sea salt. Roast on a baking sheet in a 325-degree F oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Oh well, there’s always next year… All in all though I would say that’s definitely using your melon! 


Yinz to Y'all

By: Alex Powell 

I’m not from the south. The humidity, the bugs, none of this is for me. However, between college and career, I did little jaunts along the coast where I was introduced to a dish called shrimp and grits. At approximately 1 pm on a sunny day in May, at the Full Moon Café in Manteo, North Carolina, my life changed.  This food! It goes down as one of the most memorable meals of my life. I wish I could tell you my next course of action was carefully thought out, and I did a thorough job search and cost of living estimate, but this is not so. In less than three months after this life altering meal, I traded in my yinz for y’all. I moved to the south in large part because I was charmed by the cuisine. 

 Once settled into a life in Olde Towne Portsmouth, I devoted my Saturday mornings to coffee and a stroll through town.  I stumbled into the farmers’ market, and immediately felt lost among a sea of greens and vegetables I kinda knew, but had certainly never tasted. I was embarrassed by what I did not know. One weekend, I saw Brussel sprouts. I think “I know what those are! I’m going to get those, even though I’ve never been successful at cooking them.” As I’m paying, I say as much to the woman, Lisa. She tells me, “Look, I don’t know what to do with half this stuff. But I do have a really good recipe. I’ll bring it next week.” And she did. I was amazed she remembered. From that day forward, I was a loyal customer. Bobby would see me coming and say, “here. Try this.” Showing me some random greenery. He would tell me the way to prepare it, and I would take it home and report back. I know he was amused by my comments, “This is a turnip, right?” and the fact that I had never had greens aside from spinach.  It quickly became the highlight of my week.  

When they announced the following season they would be starting a CSA program, I jumped at the chance. I was absolutely giddy to see what was in the basket every week. I discovered a love for parsnips; mashed turnips are amazing, and radishes! Sautee those suckers in some butter and it is positively decadent, melting in your mouth. I became acquainted with produce I would have never bought in a grocery store. Relying on Lisa and Bobby to provide for us has created a relationship beyond friendship and more like family that continues despite our move to Nashville. Yes, we are in a sense business partners, and I am financially invested in their success. But that is a secondary concern for me.  Not only do I know where my food comes from and have walked on the land that grows it, I know the hands that pick, pluck, and bundle it from start to finish.  I know exactly where my dollars go. It was harder leaving my farmer than it was leaving some neighbors.


The first thing I did when I got to Nashville was try on the local markets. This one was too big, that one was a little heavy on the man buns. (Not that there is anything wrong with man buns but a friend hit that nail on the head when she said, of this neighborhood “it’s almost aggressively hipster”) These were not for me.  A neighbor told me about the Nolensville market, so off I went. It wasn’t huge, but still bigger than my home market. It was bustling, but not so much that I couldn’t talk to the vendors. I was on a mission. I had to find a new farmer. It was clear I had found my tribe here.  I walked out that day with eggs, veggies, and a pledge to sign up for both a produce and a meat CSA.  Before I had a Tennessee driver’s license, I made sure I was feeding my family, and supporting local producers. 

I’ve come a long way from my first farmers’ market, but I know it can be a daunting experience when you feel like you don’t know the difference between a carrot or a parsnip, or how to prepare any greens, let alone tell them apart. The beautiful thing is, almost any grower or producer here at the Nolensville Farmers’ Market is happy to help you. All you need to do is ask. Or, just swing by the information booth, and leave your question in the “ask a farmer box”. I will do my best to get it answered for you here on the blog! 


So Fresh and So Clean-Clean


By Kim Abdallah

You'll find some of the most beautiful produce at the Nolensville Farmer's Market.  I love the variety of vendors and I have yet to visit the market this season without running into a friend or neighbor!  It's like Happy Hour without the loud music and the alcohol, well, sometimes there's music, but it's never dimly lit, okay, maybe it's not like Happy Hour but it's still awesome.  Some of my favorite picks right now are the sweet potatoes, the yellow squash and zucchini, but you really can't go wrong with any of the goodies! 

Everyone can find something they or a loved one will love from the market.  You don't have to be a chef or an ambitious home cook either.  Are you one of those who can't cook?  Wrong.  It's not that you can't, it's just that you don't enjoy cooking.  I can dig that. But if you enjoy eating delicious food, consider the following crazy-easy recipe.


Vegetable Hash for Two

2 teaspoon oil (canola, olive or coconut)

1/2 red onion, chopped

1/2 bell pepper, chopped

1/2 medium sweet potato, shredded

1/2 cup broccoli florets, chopped

2 eggs


Pour 2 teaspoons of oil into a saute pan over medium heat.  Add the vegetables and stir until softened, about 5 minutes.  While that's cooking, fry the eggs in a separate nonstick pan.  Eggs like it slow and low so make sure your pan isn't too hot and cook them slowly until they're done how you like them. 

Divide the vegetables between two plates and top with a fried egg. 


Marketing Terms

Between the Farmer's Market and the grocery store, marketing terms are everywhere. Describing to us, the background of the product we may be buying. It can be overwhelming, confusing and sometimes even misleading. Thanks to the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service and the Evanston Farmer's Market for compiling a list of commonly used terms and their meanings.




Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) products are certified by an independent nonprofit organization (not USDA) as having been produced in approximate accordance with national organic standards, a program involving fewer paperwork requirements and lower certification fees for farmers than the USDA’s National Organic Program.


Biodynamic farming is based on the work of Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner. In addition to organic practices such as crop rotation and composting, biodynamic farmers rely on special plant, animal, and mineral preparations and the rhythmic influences of the sun, moon, planets, and stars.


Refers to standard agricultural practices that are wide-spread in the industry. Can (but does not necessarily) include use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, “mono-cropping,” antibiotics, hormones and other chemical approaches. Conventional farming in the U.S. may also include the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).


Produce grown using a tilling technique that seeks to retain moisture in the soil and to minimize or eliminate the use of irrigation.


GMOs are plants and animals whose genetic make-up has been altered to exhibit traits that they would not normally have, like longer shelf-life, different color, or resistance to certain chemicals. In general, genes are taken (copied) from one organism that shows a desired trait and transferred into the genetic code of another organism. Genetic modification is currently allowed in conventional farming.


Heirloom crop varieties, also called farmers’ varieties or traditional varieties, have been developed by farmers through years of cultivation, selection, and seed saving, and passed down through generations. Generally speaking, heirlooms are varieties that have been in existence for a minimum of fifty years.


A pest management strategy that aims to reduce the use of chemical pesticides through careful monitoring for actual pest threats. Pesticides are applied in such a way that they pose the least possible hazard, and are used as a ‘last resort’ when other controls are inadequate.


Food and other agricultural products that are produced, processed, and sold within a certain region, whether defined by distance, state border, or regional boundaries. The term is unregulated at the national level, meaning that each individual farmers market can define and regulate the term based on their own mission and circumstances.


USDA guidelines state that all “natural” meat and poultry products can only undergo minimal processing and cannot contain artifi cial colors, artificial flavors, preservatives, or other artificial ingredients. The claim “natural” is otherwise unregulated.


While a farm may not be organic, “no spray” or “pesticide-free” indicates that no pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides have been applied to the crop at any point in its production.


A method of reducing soil erosion by planting crops without tilling the soil, which may rely on herbicides to control weeds.


All products sold as “organic” must meet the USDA National Organic Program production and handling standards. Certification is mandatory for farmers selling more than $5,000 of organic products per year, and includes annual submission of an organic system plan and inspection of farm fields and processing facilities to verify that organic practices and record keeping are being followed.


Farming that is socially just, humane, economically viable, and environmentally sound. The term is unregulated.


Farmers must practice organic methods for three years on a given piece of land before the products harvested from that land can be sold or labeled as organic. “Transitional” as an unofficial term means that the farmland is in the midst of that transition period towards organic certification.


Fruit that has been allowed to ripen on the vine or tree. Many fruits that are shipped long distances are picked while still unripe and firm, and later treated with ethylene gas at the point of distribution to “ripen” and soften them.




The terms “artisan” and “artisanal” imply that products are made by hand in small batches.


Meat that is dry-aged is hung in a temperature and humidity controlled room for a period of weeks to develop flavor and tenderness. Most commercially available meat is wet-aged by vacuum packaging.


Farmstead cheeses are made by the same people who farm the animals producing the milk. In other words, a cheese that is “from the farm.”


Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) are a collection of recommended principles for on-farm production, post-harvest processing, and storage of food that reduce risks of microbial contamination.


Foods such as milk, cheeses, cider, vinegar, sauerkraut, or almonds that have not been pasteurized (heated) to a minimum of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. In the U.S., raw milk cheeses are required to be aged for 60 days. In some states, sales of raw milk are prohibited.


Produce which is bruised, blemished, over-ripe, misshapen, or otherwise deemed unfit for regular sale. Seconds, for cooking or canning, are often available in large quantities and at lower prices.


Many dried fruits are sulfured with sulfur dioxide (S02) or meta bisulfate to keep them from oxidizing during and after the drying process. This preserves their original color and acts as a preservative. Unsulfured fruits are often dark brown in color.


Foods with this label contain no animal products such as meat, dairy, eggs, gelatin, or honey.


Breads baked in an oven made of brick, clay or sod that is heated by burning wood.




Closed-herd implies that all animals are bred from the original herd. No animals are purchased to incorporate into the herd.


Free-range, free-roaming, and pastured imply that a product comes from an animal that was raised unconfined and free to roam. “Free-range” claims on beef and eggs are unregulated, but USDA requires that poultry have access to the outdoors for an undetermined period each day.


The diet of grass-fed animals consists of freshly grazed pasture during the growing season and stored grasses (hay or grass silage) during the winter months or drought conditions. Grass feeding is used with cattle, sheep, goats, and bison.


A term applied to breeds of livestock that were bred over time to be well-adapted to local environmental conditions, withstand disease, and survive in harsh environmental conditions. Heritage breeds generally have slow growth rates and long productive lifespans outdoors, making them well-suited for grazing and pasturing.


If an animal product is labeled “humane,” it implies that the animals were treated with compassion. “Certified Humane” means that the animals were allowed to engage in their natural behaviors; raised with sufficient space where they are able to lie down, shelter and gentle handling to limit stress; and given ample fresh water and a healthy diet without adding antibiotics or hormones. Not all “Humane” claims are regulated.


Antibiotics are given to animals such as cows, hogs, sheep, and chickens to prevent or manage diseases. “No antibiotics,” implies that a farmer does not administer antibiotics to his/her animals.


Hormones are commonly used in the commercial farming of animals such as cattle to speed the growth rate or increase milk production. Some of these hormones are natural, some are synthetic, and some are genetically engineered. If a ranch or product professes “no hormones,” this means that they do not engage in these practices. Hormones are not allowed in raising of hogs or poultry.




Some states offer or require certification of farmers markets to ensure that the products sold are produced by the farmers themselves. As of 2009, these states include California, Nevada, and Texas. Most of the nation’s producer-only farmers markets establish their own rules and methods of ensuring product integrity at the local level.


The Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) provides eligible low-income seniors with coupons that can be exchanged for fresh fruits, vegetables, honey, and herbs at farmers markets. Funding for the SFMNP is provided by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service to states, U.S. territories, and federally-recognized Indian tribal governments.


The Women, Infants, and Children Farmers Market Nutrition Program provides coupons to eligible low-income women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, and/or caring for children up to five years of age who are found to be at nutritional risk. Coupons are used to buy fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs at farmers markets. Funding for the WIC FMNP is provided by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service to states, U.S. territories, and federally recognized Indian tribal governments.


Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) is an electronic system that allows participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to authorize transfer of their government benefits from a federal account to a retailer account to pay for fresh foods. A growing number of farmers markets are equipped with the technology to accept SNAP benefits.


WIC Cash Value Vouchers, or its equivalent state-sponsored name, allow farmers to accept WIC fruit and vegetable checks at farmers markets, by enrolling them as limited WIC  vendors.


This glossary is for educational purposes only. It does not endorse or discredit any of the practices included herein. Created in partnership with Marin Farmers Markets and the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA).


Another Record Breaker

Snow doesn't stop the mail man and apparently 90mph winds won't keep Nolensville from the Farmer's Market either. Despite the whipping winds, last weekend was yet another record breaking weekend. Thank you Nolensville for supporting our farmers and vendors. 

Daniel, NFM Board President and Kasi Haire, Market Manager at the Strawberry Gala 2016

Daniel, NFM Board President and Kasi Haire, Market Manager at the Strawberry Gala 2016

This Friday, the Farmer's Market is hosting its first-ever Food Truck Festival Fundraiser. 12 of your favorite foods trucks are invading Nolensville and its sure to be a awesome event. The Food Trucks will be open from 5-8pm. 

Two Goats
Bradley's Creamery
Brother's Burgers
Cousin's Maine Lobster
Dixie Drip
Georgia Boy Food Co.
Grilled Cheeserie
Hibachi 4 Hire
Kona Ice
Music City Pie Co.
Uncle Buds

The following Saturday, we will be kicking off our new Fresh Savings program to double SNAP dollars at the market. SNAP recipients will be able to come and swipe their EBT cards for up to $10 and will receive an additional $10 to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables. The Nolensville Farmer's Market is 1 of only 17 markets in the State of TN to be selected to be a part of this USDA grant to increase SNAP usage on fresh fruits and vegetables. 

Daniel has also started streaming Live Video via Periscope and using Facebook Live. Both are fun new feature to see some of the amazing produce and meet some of our vendors! Follow us on Periscope @NolensvilleFM and make sure to follow us on

See you at the Market!


Opening Day Success

I think, no matter how many seasons we open, I will never get past the opening day nerves. There are some things you can just never prepare for, positive or negative. Our opening day this year was one for the books, for sure. A successful market day isn't measured by how many t-shirts we sell or how much we bring in from booth fees. Its measured by total vendor sales. Because at the end of the day, our farmers, our friends, are who we do this all for.

Here's a little perspective- 

In 2014, our very first market, ever, we opened with 10 vendors who brought in a total of just a bit over $5,000 for the day. A huge success in our eyes. We saw neighbors, made new friends, supported local farmers, crafters and put money back into our local economy. 

In 2015 we opened the season with 19 vendors - nearly doubling from the year below. Word about how awesome the Nolensville community is definitely spread through the farmer's market vendor world over the winter. We ended that opening day with a total just over $6,000 in total sales. 

This year, we broke every record we had previously set - opening the 2016 market season with 26 of the best vendors. Some that have been by our sides since Day 1 and some that we have mentored and helped to mold their business into what it is. Our total vendor sales were        $10,468.95. WHAT? Believe me, I had to calculate that a couple of times to make sure that I hadn't added an extra number somewhere. Last summer, we broke $10,000 in sales 1 day - at the end of July when vendors and produce were in the peak of the season. 

I tell you all of this to share in the excitement of how the Nolensville Farmer's Market has grown and to thank, on behalf of NFM and its vendors, the Nolensville community for supporting and loving us. I can not wait to see what the rest of this season has in store for us! 

See you next week.



We're gearing up for our third season of the Nolensville Farmer's Market. During the off-season, I have been working with fellow market managers, exchanging ideas and learning from each other. Attending workshops on marketing, market manager trainings, grant writing and more! 

We have so many exciting things happening this season. The Nolensville Farmer's Market is 1 of only 17 markets in the state of TN to be accepted into a grant program facilitated by AARP to double SNAP dollars at farmer's markets, making fresh fruits and vegetables available to SNAP recipients. The NFM is honored to bring Fresh $Avings program to Nolensville and all of Williamson County.

Two big, NEW, events are happening this year!

Along with our monthly events, we will have our first ever, Food Truck Festival happening Friday, May 20th from 5-8pm at the Historic School of Nolensville. Without the gracious support of the Farmer's Market from the Nolensville Historic Society, this event would not be possible. 

Another big event in the works is our Inaugural Farm-To-Table Dinner. On Friday, July 29th you can join us at Bloomsbury Farm, located just down the road from the market off of Sanford Rd. for our first-ever Farm-To-Table dinner. I am working with Pat Martin of Martin's BBQ along with Chris Going of Mill Creek Brewing to make this a one-of-a-kind Nolensville event.

Opening day is set for May 7th from 8am until noon! Be sure to check out our events page for more happenings at the Farmer's Market! See you on the 7th!