01 November 2012

Nashville Farmers' Market

The Nashville Farmers' Market is a foodie's dream, with row upon row of restaurants, vendors, farmers and more available to eat or browse. If you can eat it, you'll probably find it at the Nashville Farmers' Market.

Operations rotate in and out of the market. It is divided into a food court with restaurants and ample seating, a farmers' market with fresh produce and local foodstuffs, and a flea market with clothing, artwork and assorted knickknacks. Some places operate on different days of the week; check out the website for a schedule.

There are plenty of options for vegans and vegetarians. Check with individual vendors for details.

Service runs the gamut from take-out to table service. It's easy to make a meal at many different restaurants.

AM/FM is a deli run by Top Chef Season 7 alum/Nashville restaurant impresario Arnold Myint. The table service is excellent, and it even features alcoholic beverages.    

The menu at AM/FM has a few items that remain throughout the year, and seasonal items that change regularly. The pumpkin bisque displayed the flavors of fall with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and roasted shallots.

The roasted veggie sandwich is a panini made with goat cheese, spinach, roasted red peppers, eggplant and caramelized onions. The charred veggies are brightened by the fresh creamy cheese. The chips are a perfect crispy complement.

The brownie bites were a great finish to a meal.

I didn't get a chance to sample it, but the Bella Nashville pizzeria came highly recommended by almost everybody, most importantly Josh Habinger of the much talked about Catbird Seat. Habinger worked with Dave Cuomo, the owner of Bella Nashville, at the Patterson House, the upscale speakeasy cocktail bar next to Catbird Seat. Emma Berkey, the other half of Bella Nashville, worked at the Wild Cow, Music City's foremost vegetarian restaurant.

Bella Nashville offers at least one vegetarian pizza daily. The thin crust pies bake in about 90 seconds, and it looks difficult to wait that long to eat one.

There are a number of international eateries with vegetarian options at the market. Jamaicaway makes Caribbean food, and the menu is largely vegetarian. Swagruha, a South Indian restaurant, is vegetarian friendly like most Indian restaurants. El Burrito Mexicano serves up massive portions of delicious looking food, and their beans are vegetarian to boot.  

There is an ocean of baked goods at the market as well. Whitney May runs the Sweet Stash, which makes cupcakes, cookies, truffles and other desserts. The chocolate whoopie pie was served on a colorful plate that made the goo sandwich almost jump off the plate, and bittersweet cocoa flavor was greatly enhanced by the richness of the cream filling.

The ButterCake Babe specializes in coffee cake in a rainbow of flavors as well as other pastries that taste great with tea and coffee. The Elvis cake tastes just like the King would like it, with layers of banana, chocolate and peanut butter spinning atop a buttery base.    

The farm shed merchants have a great range of fresh produce, milk, eggs, spices and gardening supplies. Like the restaurants, vendors all operate on different schedules. While there are a smaller number of restaurants at the Nashville Farmers' Market than at my hometown North Market, there is a great deal more space in Nashville devoted to local farmers. 

The market is a great way to spend a lunch break or a weekend in Music City. You could graze for days and still never eat the same thing twice.    

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