Produce has been available at the Nashville Farmers’ Market since Saturday, but operators of the facility’s nine restaurants and shops are still cleaning up from flooding.
Parts of the Metro-operated facility on Rosa Parks Boulevard, along with farmland throughout Middle Tennessee, sat under water following the region’s historic level of flooding earlier this month.
Nonetheless, according to the farmers’ market’s Director Jeff Themm, the facility is providing space to about the same number of vendors today as it was prior to the flood. That fact hasn’t translated into a normal flow of customers, however.
“Unfortunately, right now we’re seeing fewer people,” Themm said. “I still think some people think we’re closed because the interior market is closed, so we’re just trying to get the word out that the farm side and the flea market side are both open.”
The farmers’ market has five vendors who keep inventory, booths and other supplies at the facility permanently, while others bring goods in and out on a daily basis.
Themm said customers could rest assured produce sold at the farmers’ market is still safe to eat.
“[Produce] on the day it flooded, it was basically destroyed,” Themm said. “So, the stuff that’s being brought, it was either outside the Middle Tennessee area or up on hills.”
One of the farmers’ market’s tenants, for example, is Smiley Farms, which Themm said relies on rolling farmland that was spared from flooding.
“Since we’re just starting the beginning of the season, people are doing more cool weather crops like lettuce, spinach and arugula, stuff like that. If it wasn’t flooded, they’ve got it,” Themm said of his vendors. “If it was flooded, they’re just replanting with summer crops that will come up in three months or so.”
While produce has made its way back, the same can’t be said for Shreeji International Market, Jamaicaway Restaurant and other establishments that made the farmers’ market a hotbed of diverse dining options. For the time being, the inside remains closed.
“People are continuing to clean,” Themm said. “It will take a couple of weeks at least.”