Everyone thinks they have the best chili recipe and one local farmer proved it at the Local Farmers’ Chili Cook-Off held at the Franklin Farmers Market on Saturday, March 5, 2016. Eight meat vendors participated in what is sure to be a popular event at the market in coming years. Customers were treated to each of the farmers’ special recipe made from either chicken, beef, lamb and even bison! Chili Cook-Off tasting began at 9am and ballots were cast in a race to find out which farmer had the best chili. The Franklin Farmers Market has the largest selection of local meats in middle Tennessee. Participating farmers were Triple L Ranch, Red Cedar Bison Ranch, Bear Creek Farm, Little Spring Creek Farm, Hatcher Family Dairy, River Cottage Farm, Beaverdam Creek Farm and West Wind Farms.
Franklin market customer, Bonnie Ferguson, exclaimed, “This was so much fun and I can’t believe it was free!” She went on to say that tasting chili from each of the eight meat vendors gave her the opportunity to meet farmers she wouldn’t have normally met, and now she knows what other vendors have to offer. “I’ll make sure to shop with them in the future,” Ferguson said, “ It was so nice talking to the farmers participating in the Chili Cook-Off and getting to know more about their farm.”
Ann Lee of Triple L Ranch agreed, “This is a wonderful event, especially for us meat vendors! It brings more people out to try our products and talk with us. We’ve been really busy, and this has been fun!”
Chili cook-off sponsor, Dr. Devan Arman of Unity Chiropractic, was proud to be part of the inaugural event and said they are always thrilled to be involved in the Franklin farmers market. Their goal is to bring “unity within the community, and empower the community to take care of themselves from the inside out,” and shopping at the farmers market will help the community make healthy food choices. To make their sponsorship even better, Unity Chiropractic is offering a special promo code for this event. Customers can visit their website, www.unitychirotn.com and use code CHILI for $55 off their first evaluation.
Franklin Farmers market artisan, Tom the Furniture Guy, donated his talent to the chili cook-off by making the Grand Champion sign. He humbly said you’re welcome when thanked for his beautiful work and said he was “Very proud to be part of the Franklin Farmers Market and excited to support all the special projects the market does.”
Tom made his first barn wood sign 6 years ago when a tornado blew a friend’s barn down. He’s been enjoying the beauty of barn wood ever since and “loves taking something nature knocked down and turning it into something people can enjoy for years and years.” Customers stood in front of his booth at the market and gazed with admiration at his work. Nature may have torn down one work of art, but Tom’s natural talent has allowed the barn history to continue in someone’s home.
The chili cook-off ended as spicy as it began. The ballots were counted and the race was close! The farmers vying for the title waited not so patiently for the results as they joked with one another and one farmer exclaimed, “Wait a minute, you had toppings? This isn’t a topping contest it’s a chili contest, I protest!”
Over one hundred customers sampled and cast their vote on who should be crowned the Grand Champion of the first ever Local Farmers’ Chili Cook-Off. After much anticipation the winner was announced- Red Cedar Bison Ranch in Chapel Hill, TN. Owners of the second generation family business, Dennis Fioravanti and Brock Hughey were ecstatic to prove that their bison chili recipe really is the best!
For more information about the participating vendors in the Local Farmers’ Chili Cook-Off, visit the Franklin Farmers Market every Saturday at the Franklin Factory, 230 Franklin Road, Franklin, TN 9am-12pm.