Monthly Archives: April 2015

Where to Buy the Best Herb and Vegetable Starter Plants

A market customer selecting vegetable starter plants from Paradise Produce

A market customer selecting vegetable starter plants from Paradise Produce

Buying local herb and vegetable starter plants from your local farmers provides the healthiest young seedling plants for your home garden. Local farmers grow all their plants from the best seeds they can find. They also know how to create the best conditions for starting plant growth. I’ve been purchasing vegetable starter plants for my garden from farmers for years now. One day after losing several vegetable plants after planting, I thought there had to be a better place to find healthier young seedlings. I remembered seeing young plants at a local farmers market, so I made the trip back to the market and found beautiful young herb and vegetable starter plants for sale.

I then laughed to myself thinking “Well, of course, buying the same plants a farmer is using to grow their crops just might be the best choice”. Problem solved!

Vegetable Starter Plants from Paradise Produce

Vegetable Starter Plants from Paradise Produce

At the Franklin Farmers Market, most of our local farmers bring to market healthy young starter plants. You can find just about all the vegetable starter plants you need. You don’t have to worry about if any of the young seedling plants are labeled wrong. The root growth is strong and ready for planting in your home garden. If you need soil suggestions, you can ask any farmers for suggestions. Our local Williamson Farmers Co-op can help with any garden supplies you need. Our market soil expert Organics in Motion can also help advise you on best soil types. All our farmers are friendly and full of advice to help you with your home garden.

Kids love Lettuce!

Kids love Lettuce Plants from Kirkview Farm

You can find market starter plants from Kirkview Farm, Purple Tree Farm, Paradise Produce, Evans Produce and Earth Advocates Research Farm. I spotted some blackberry plants from Delvin Farms and raspberry plants from Earth Advocates Research Farm the past two Saturdays. We’ve created a starter plant photo gallery so you can see some of our vegetable and herb starter plants currently in the market.

Good luck and happy planting! Hope to see you at our local Tennessee farmers market!

Local Lamb or Beef for Easter Sunday?

Grilled Skirt Steak from Bear Creek Farm

Grilled Skirt Steak from Bear Creek Farm

Are you considering local lamb or beef for this coming Easter Sunday? We have the largest assembly of local meat producing farms at the Franklin Farmers Market. All of our animal farmers are committed to raising their animals in a responsible and humane way. Local farm animals feed on farm grass and grain. Some farms will only grass feed their livestock for a leaner meat product with others finishing with a measured diet of grain adding some marbling to cuts of beef. We recommend you get to know the farmers from the Franklin Farmers Market. They are all Tennessee friendly with great information about how they raise and feed their animals. Once you taste the great flavor of local meats it is hard to eat anything else!

 

The natural color of locally raised beef

The natural color of locally raised beef

So what’s the difference between store bought, mass produced beef compared to local farm meats? With locally sourced meats, you have more flavor delivering a much tastier and enjoyable steak. Great meat flavor comes from the diet of what a cow or lamb eats. Our farmers are careful to feed their animals the best diet of grass with some farmers finishing with grain grown on their farm. When cattle and other animals are raised in extremely large quantities, you lose the local diet which reduces the flavor of well-cooked steak, lamb, chicken or pork. When farm animals are taken care of and fed well it leads to a tastier meat for your enjoyment.

 

I’ve prepared two examples of some great tasting meats from two of our local Tennessee farms. I’ve prepared a small lamb tenderloin from Hatcher Family Dairy and a skirt steak from Bear Creek Farm. Both cuts were grilled on a Big Green Egg delivering the best possible fire to hold in the juices for a perfect cooking experience.

 

Lamb medallions from Hatcher Dairy Farm, lettuce mix from Norton Family Farm and Red Potatoes from Kirkview Farm

Lamb medallions from Hatcher Dairy Farm, lettuce mix from Norton Family Farm and Red Potatoes from Kirkview Farm

For the lamb tenderloin from Hatcher Family Dairy, I brought the meat to room temperature before lightly seasoning. I seasoned a few minutes before hitting the grill with sea salt and a classic Tuscan blend of herbs, tomato flakes, and garlic. Because local lamb is tastier, I prefer not to overwhelm the natural flavor with anything too strong. I bring the grill temperature down to around 450 degrees and grill lightly for 7 minutes turning three times. This delivers a great tasting tenderloin of lamb I slice into medallions for a great lunch. Included are red potatoes from Kirkview Farm and spring lettuce mix from Norton Family Farms. I then sprinkled some fresh cut market chives.

 

Grilling on a high temp is key

Grilling on a high temp is key

For the skirt steak from Bear Creek Farm, I brought the meat to room temperature. Then added kosher salt and fresh ground pepper exactly 5 minutes before placing on my Big Green Egg with a temperature of 600 degrees. The secret to grilling a tender, juicy skirt or flank steak is the seasoning and hitting the grill at a very high temperature. The flank steak grilled on both sides for 3 minutes. Then reduced both vents on the Big Green Egg by 70% for another 90 seconds on each side. It takes some experience judging the correct time for this to work, but after a few tries you can figure out how to get that perfect medium rare. You don’t want to overcook skirt or flank steak, or it will be tough.

 

Left over skirt steak makes for slider snacks!

Left over skirt steak makes for nice slider snacks!

What’s great about grilling a large skirt steak is using the remainder for leftovers. Slice off what you want cold from the fridge and eat cold or heat up for a great slider snack! Don’t be intimated by buying too large a cut! You can always prepare additional meals for later in the week. There’s nothing better than great tasting local beef, lamb, chicken and pork from the Franklin Farmers Market. Enjoy getting to know all our local farmers, stop and ask them any questions, they are all very friendly with great tips for cooking.

From all of us at the Franklin Farmers Market we wish everyone a peaceful Good Friday and Easter Sunday Celebration!

Visit our Facebook Page to see a few more photos of these two grilling ideas.