The 2021 East Nashville Farmers Market is bigger & better than ever. Photo: Megan Seling

East Side Buzz, May 14

They’re coming, they’re coming! The East Nashvillian’s Best of East Awards are coming! Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and/or Facebook to know when exactly polls open up and be prepared to vote for all your favorite East Nashville people and places. 

You can also subscribe to The East Nashvillian via Apple News. Neat!

East Nashville Farmers Market Is Bigger Than Ever

If you’ve been to the East Nashville Farmers Market since it kicked off their new season April 6, you may have noticed it looks a little different this year, different in that it’s bigger than ever, with more than 60 different farms and vendors offering locally grown produce, fresh-baked bread, home goods, jewelry and more. 

The market expanded in part to last year’s growing crowds. Rebecah Boynton, who operates and manages the ENFM (along with the Richland Park Farmers’ Market and the monthly Hunters Community Market), noticed a spike in support after the 2020 tornado and pandemic. 

“Shoppers are more engaged, more dedicated to shopping locally, and more likely to visit the market than ever before,” she tells The East Nashvillian. “After the pandemic landed and our national food system took such a major hit, neighbors began shopping in increasingly large numbers, not only because they were searching for the safest food possible, but also because shopping outdoors at that time just felt safer as opposed to a crowded grocery store.

“East Nashvillians had a marked desire to ensure our neighborhood survived not only economically, but socially and communally,” she adds. “There was an ethos almost that shoppers were determined to preserve. You could feel it.”

To accommodate the crowds, Boynton says the market has expanded its parking options to include the lot behind the Holy Name Catholic Church on Main Street, and some new-this-year vendors have been brought in to accommodate shoppers’ requests. For example, this year offers more options for home gardeners. Gardening boomed in 2020 as more people stayed home and attempted to grow their own food, so, “Expect beautiful hanging baskets, annual and perennial plants, locally-grown vegetable garden starts, and compost from our farmers,” says Boynton.

The vendor list features familiar favorites — Smokin’ Oaks Organic Farm meat, Kelley’s Berry Farm berries, and Radical Rabbit’s vegan soul food — and new additions, including rainbow trout from Bucksnort Trout Ranch, Tennessee peaches and apples from Rosson Orchard and Farm, and more meat and specialty items from Caney Fork Farm (“located on Al Gore’s family farm in Carthage, TN,” Boynton says). 

Throughout the season there will also be onsite agricultural and culinary services — knife sharpening, pea shelling, and pepper roasting — and “parade-style, mobile performances that wander throughout the market and serenade shoppers who are waiting in lines.”

The market is open 3:30-6:30 p.m., but your selection will be better if you arrive earlier. Last week multiple vendors sold out before closing time, including Kapu Haole and Mama Yang & Daughter — their dumplings were gone within 30 minutes!

Mmmm … dumplings.

Speaking of delicious food, if you want to go way, way east — like, out past Lebanon east — East Nashville Farmers Market vendor Kelley’s Berry Farms also has you-pick strawberries. I made the drive last weekend and it was surprisingly relaxing to wander around the field and pick and eat all the berries I wanted. Peep their Facebook for weather and quantity updates.

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Development Developments

Remember back in April when Mayor John Cooper announced Perkins Eastman would lead the development of the Cumberland’s East Bank? Perkins Eastman focuses on developing waterfront properties and their resume includes District Wharf in Washington D.C. and Battery Park City in New York.

Anyway!

This week the firm took a big step forward in their East Nashville project by launching the public study portion of the process. Perkins Eastman’s principal designer Eric Fang and Metro Planning Director Lucy Kempf addressed community questions and gave a virtual tour of the area to be developed. You can watch the virtual meeting here. The Nashville Post has a wrap-up of the event here

The event is just one of many to come — future events include a week-long design workshop and a draft open house. To learn about future East Bank-related events, keep an eye on the calendar at eastbankstudy.nashville.gov or email eastbankinfo@nashville.gov

In other developmental developments, on Wednesday William Wiliams reported the “Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency Joint Finance and Development Committee approved a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement” with a company looking to build a 255-unit affordable housing development on Dickerson Pike.

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Gov. Bill Lee + Tim Tebow = BFF

Governor Bill Lee has been up to some bullshit this week. Let me tell you about it! 

First, he opted out of the $300 federal unemployment supplement. He basically said, “How about get a job instead,” citing in a statement that there are currently 250,000 job openings in the state and Tweeting, “Work is good for the soul, good for families, and good for Tennessee. We shouldn’t be incentivizing people not to do it.”

OK, but the minimum wage in Tennessee is $7.25/hr. In March a senate committee killed the bill that would have raised that rate to $12/hr. As it stands now, a full-time minimum wage employee takes home $1,160 a month while the average monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Nashville is $1,196. 

That’s not great math, Gov. Lee!

So what’s our leader doing instead of fighting for a living wage for his constituents? He’s meeting Tim Tebow at Luke Bryan’s honky-tonk and agreeing to give him $1.2 million from state funds.

The governor meeting a football player in a country singer’s Lower Broadway bar sounds like a stale storyline on Nashville, but nope, it’s real life. 

In the coming weeks, Gov. Lee is expected to sign off on several bills that were passed during the recent legislative session, to add to the stack he’s passed in recent weeks. Stephen Elliott at the Scene wrote a great recap of the four-month-long session, including what passed and what didn’t.

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COVID-19 Updates … Yes, Still

On Thursday the Tennessee Department of Health began administering the COVID-19 vaccine to children aged 12-15 years old. Most pharmacies, grocery stores, and walk-in clinics will be participating in the expanded age group, and the vaccine is also available at the Drive-Thru Vaccination Clinic on Murfreesboro Road and the Recover Vaccine Clinic on Jefferson Street. 

The Music City Center is currently only offering the second Pfizer dose and they will close their vaccination site completely on May 28.

To find a vaccine site near you, visit asafenashville.org. You can also see a list of vaccine community sites, and their operating hours, on Metro Public Health’s calendar.

Unable to get out? Metro Public Health started offering the vaccine to homebound residents this week — requests for at-home appointments can be scheduled by calling 615.862.7777 or emailing Homebound.Vaccination@Nashville.gov (include your name, address, email address, age, and if there’s an affiliated home health agency).

Finally, as of Thursday, the CDC says vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks in most situations, include indoor or outdoor gatherings. 

Personally, I am going to continue wearing a mask. I kind of like wearing a mask! Also, I begin to have an anxiety attack the moment I even think about eating in a restaurant without a maks. The pandemic has scarred me. PLEASE GET VACCINATED SO I CAN CALM DOWN.

Quick Bits

  • Bluesman Kenneth Wright goes Live With the Vibe from the Music Makers Stage at Delgado Guitars tonight at 7 p.m. CST. Check it out here.
  • Margo Price released new music! Listen to “Long Live the King” here. The song will be released as a limited-edition seven-inch and sold as part of the singer’s A Series of Rumors Record Club, which is a collection of songs from That’s How Rumors Get Started paired with rare and exclusive tracks. Very cool.
  • The Cornelia Fort Pickin’ Part kicks off this weekend with Brazilbilly and The Cowpokes; this show is sold out, but tickets are still available here for June’s installment, featuring Kyle Tuttle and Greenwood Rye. Proceeds benefit revitalization projects at Shelby Park & Bottoms and Cornelia Fort Airpark. 
  • Music City Grand Prix organizers say they need to remove 17 trees, will pay for 157 replacement trees to be planted around Nissan Stadium and East Nashville.
  • Tour de Nash 2021 is this Saturday. There’s still time to register here.
  • Because Nashville property taxes increased 34.05 percent this year, Metro has introduced an online property tax calculator to help landowners calculate their new rates. If you disagree with your new market value, you have until 4 p.m. on May 21 to file an appeal. More info at padctn.org.
  • The Nashville Predators have made the playoffs! I’m as surprised as you are since the first half of the season was a steaming pile of sabertooth tiger crap. Their seven-game series against the Carolina Hurricanes begins Monday night. Win it for Pekka, boys!
  • Chris Scruggs and the Stone Fox Five are coming out of quarantine this weekend to launch their series of free and outdoor Saturday shows at the American Legion in Inglewood. The show starts at 4 p.m., a portable chair would be a good idea, and there will be food and drinks for sale.
  • This Saturday the Metropolitan Action Commission is hosting a rental assistance fair at the Madison Regional Community Center (550 N. Dupont Ave.) from 8:30-11 a.m. Staff will be on hand to help renters upload documents and answer questions about the process. You can access the portal here. More information about Saturday’s rental assistance fair can be found here.
  • In other housing news, this week Mayor Cooper launched the Landlord Risk Mitigation Fund, a program that grants federal housing vouchers to landlords and property managers who provide housing for the city’s homeless population. More info here.
  • The indoor drive-in movie theater announced in 2017 has been put on indefinite hold.

Love Buzz

For this week’s Love Buzz I’m making an exception to the “locals only” rule because this week I want to celebrate Ron Gallo. Gallo called Nashville home for several years and before returning to his hometown of Philadelphia late last year he wrote one more record as a Nashvillian — Peacemeal was released in March 2020 on Nashville-based New West Records.

The record is, as any Gallo fan should expect, an organic stream of jazzy, electronic dream-pop. Songs and spoken word bits flow from one into the other as though Gallo is performing the record on the fly and just for you in your room.

While it’s hard to pick a favorite track, as the record really is a whole mood best appreciated as one entity, my ears perk up a little extra when “You Are Enough” comes on. It’s a gentle and hazy pep talk, with Gallo singing, “You are enough / Fuck what they told you.” Thanks for the reminder, sir. Check out Gallo’s Peacemeal on his Bandcamp page here.

Gallo returns to Music City this weekend to play two outdoor shows at The Basement on Saturday. The shows are at 2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. and, as of this writing, tickets were still available to both