While fans of fresh local farm food in many cities and towns across the country see their local farmer’s market close down in the fall, Nashville residents enjoy a long established permanent farmer’s market that is open seven days a week all year long.
The market is located just down the hill from the city’s historic state capital building at 900 Rosa Parks Blvd and is open every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., although hours for specific vendors may vary somewhat. The market closes on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Savvy Nashville residents hunting for the best local farm food who also have a commitment to green, sustainable, or what is now often called “slow food,” will find what they’re looking for at the Nashville Farmer’s Market. Vendors like Devlin Farms, Tennessee’s largest organic vegetable grower and Triple L Ranch, known for its sustainably and compassionately raised beef, are among the market’s merchants.
Shoppers will also discover a full service nursery open all year long as well as an extensive collection of jams, honey, cookies, bread and other locally handmade food items.
During the coldest winter months, local produce is most limited to root crops and various greens. Cooks looking for local produce in December, January and February will likely come across various herbs, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, turnip greens, turnips, winter squash, and pecans.
One recent visit in early December also found a good assortment of apples.
The Nashville Farmer’s Market is also home to artisans who specialize in handcrafted cheese, soaps and textiles. Cooks can also purchase locally produced milk and other dairy products.
The sprawling complex also houses a flea market, which is open Friday through Sunday during the winter months and a food court that features a wide array of restaurants that are generally open for breakfast and lunch. Shoppers can enjoy classic barbecue, Middle Eastern fare, Mexican, Jamaican and Louisiana style cuisine.
In addition, the Shreeji International Market carries a huge selection of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, South Asian and Asian food items.
The 2010 flood in Nashville hit the farmer’s market hard, but resilient growers were able to keep meeting their customers’ needs as the facility was being fixed. Now, everything has been repaired and remodeled, and despite the challenges presented by the flood, the Nashville Farmer’s Market was named “Best Farmer’s Market” in The Scene 2010 reader’s poll.
The Nashville Farmer’s Market can trace its origins back to the early 1800s when produce was sold in the town square. It moved to its current location in the mid 1950s.