(Editorial note: These will be used as separate pieces throughout guide.) Meet My Farmer
Wendy Williams
(931) 783-0529
Wendy Williams was a homeschooling mother of three girls living on fifteen acres when she had a brainstorm. The spark began with a vegetable garden and then a coming together of other local naturally growing farmers to create the Downtown Green Market in Cookeville. Next came specialty-cut heirloom flowers for bouquets at the market, wholesale and weddings. “No one grew the annuals and perennials that we decided to bring in,” she says. These days, peonies, dahlias, spring tulips, anemones, zinnias and straw flowers are among the varieties that decorate the farm, one heated greenhouse and four hoop houses. The 2018 flower season begins April 1 and ends December 15. And with educations at Tennessee Tech almost complete, the Williamsâ€TM sisters have a crackerjack flower expert to call mother and a never-ending internship. Wendy says, “Life-long learning goes on in the flower business; between trial and error, online courses and reading, I am constantly learning.” Meet My Artisan Food Maker
Short Mountain Cultures
(615) 200-7731
“We both have a long history of home fermenting, with a particular affinity for making tempeh,” says Hannah Tidman when asked about her partnership with John Parker and the evolution of Short Mountain Cultures. Indeed, their skill sets incorporate all that is needed for the creation of a delicious line of food. With a development plan that called for resourcing local produce and made optimal use of Johnâ€TMs background in natural food grocery, plus what John calls “Hannahâ€TMs gift for flavor profiling and creating recipes,” the stage was set for an array of assorted fermented goodies. Short Mountain Cultures, close to Woodbury and named for the highest point in Middle Tennessee, began with pot-stirring of the increasingly popular fermented soy product called tempeh. The genesis of their handiwork began in residency with well-known fermentation instructor and revivalist Sandor Katz. “Through his teaching, I learned that I could be creative and make something for people that was really healthy,” says John. A commercial kitchen and storefront in the Arts Center of Cannon County has allowed John and Hannah a place to manufacture fermented foods and a venue to sell a variety of other local, natural and organic foods. Short Mountain Cultures sets up every Saturday at the Franklin Farmersâ€TM Market with word-of-mouth best sellers: tempeh; Tennessee kraut, caraway kraut, gold zinger kraut, dill garlic kraut and red cabbage kraut; chili garlic pepper sauce; coconut kefir; and kvass. Consumers might catch Parker, the teacher, raving about a fermentation twofer: “Not only delicious, but two to four ounces will provide friendly bacteria to the gut and help assimilate nutrients,” he says. Hannah, meanwhile, waxes in favor of the most important fermentation recipe of them all: “Itâ€TMs a trip to be able to bring home local ingredients from the farmersâ€TM market one week, only to return with them for sale in a different form a few weeks later,” she says. Meet My Baker
Reggie Marshall Sr.
(615) 295-3236
Reggie Marshall took experiences learned at his fatherâ€TMs knee on their farm in West Tennessee to create an evolving hot spot for veggies and baked goods at the Nashville Farmersâ€TM Market. His son Reggie Jr. is ever present with a canny set of eyes for what the public wants. In 2014, as a student of the New Farmers Academy, Reggie Sr. began to grow kale, turnip and mustard greens on Tennessee State Universityâ€TMs Research Farm. “Before we went to market, we washed those greens better than anyone else,” he says. Reggieâ€TMs Veggiesâ€TM reputation was won. Along with expansion efforts on his Antioch farm and a part time nursing gig, Reggie Sr. loves to “fiddle around” with baked good recipes gleaned from family members. Outcomes like sweet potato pie, banana bread, assorted cookies and carrot cake have been best sellers at the market this past year. Reggieâ€TMs Veggieâ€TMs also sells Bongo Java coffee and specialty drinks that the family creates using herb varieties from the farm. New offerings this year will include small seasonal pies and a pepper sauce with ingredients harvested from what they grow.