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VOL. 36 | NO. 9 | Friday, March 2, 2012




Chef goes from farm to kitchen and back again

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Sylvia Ganier with her husband Al

As the chef at Cibo, the now-closed restaurant on Church Street, Sylvia Ganier was always concerned with finding the best possible ingredients. She grew up on a dairy farm in North Carolina and was used to fresh, unprocessed food. But she soon began to realize what an anomaly small farming was.

“Where I grew up, all of my relatives farmed,” she says. “I didn’t realize that people were so far removed from the farming culture. Most people are five generations removed from actual working on the land, and that is kind of an eye opening thing.”

Green Door Gourmet

On farm market: Saturdays, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

7011 River Road, 429-1712

She links the disconnect to the Great Depression when so many people lost their farms and got jobs in the city.

“You have to think we are about 100 years from when big agriculture doing most of the farming became the reality instead of the oddity,” Ganier says.

So she began farming again after she shuttered Cibo and now runs Green Door Gourmet on Happy Valley Farm. Located on River Road in western Davidson County, two miles past the Charlotte Pike Wal-Mart, Green Door Gourmet features natural, sustainable, organic method to produce plants and herbs specifically suited for any southern-loving kitchen.

2012 Lawn and Garden Show

Sylvia Ganier is one of several lecturers at this weekend’s Lawn and Garden Show at the State Fairgrounds. The four-day event will have a number of lectures or displays focused on sustainability. They include:

Garden 13, sponsored by LightWave Solar in Antioch. This garden, entitled Fusion, is presented to provide support to local growers, community supported agriculture and programs to promote healthy eating in Tennessee.

Friday, March 2, Noon

Creating a Sustainable Landscape – Presented by Vincent Simeone, a horticulturist/garden writer/lecturer from Long Island, NY. This lecture will provide ways to create a more sustainable environment, including recycling, habitat management, managing invasive species, composting and proper plant selection.

Friday, March 2, 3 p.m.

Thomas Jefferson’s Revolutionary Garden – Presented by Peter Hatch, director of gardens and grounds, Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson wrote "the greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add a useful plant to its culture," and his 1,000-foot-long, terraced vegetable garden at Monticello was an experimental laboratory, an Ellis Island of 330 varieties of vegetables.

Saturday, March 3, 1 p.m.

Thomas Jefferson, Gardener -- Presented by Peter Hatch. Explore the themes that defined Thomas Jefferson’s love of gardening: his use of native plants, the union of gardening and sociability and his experimentation with useful plants as a means of social change. Mr. Hatch also will review the restoration of Monticello’s gardens over the last 50 years and examine the character of the historic fruits, flowers and vegetables cultivated by "the sage of Monticello."

Sunday, March 4, 11 a.m.

Back to the Future: Heirloom Seed Saving -- Presented by Michelle Carratu, Nashville landscape designer and gardening instructor. A talk and demonstration on heirloom seed saving and how the older varieties are fabulous, taste delicious and beautify today’s gardens. Heirloom seeds are an important part of sustainable gardening. Unlike hybrid seeds, heirloom seeds can be saved and grown the following year.

“Green Door Gourmet is an umbrella company for a lot of different things going on in our farm, including the eight acres of sustainable, natural produce we grow for our CSA members, for a number of area gourmet restaurants and also for people who just want to stop out at the farm to get great produce,” she says.

Not only does she offer her own goods, but she is committeed to finding the area’s best producers for a wide range of products, from fresh produce to grass fed meats, honey, jams and dairy as part of her Tennessee Farm to Fork cooperative.

“We help other local farmers that don’t have enough time in the day or manpower to go to a lot of different markets, so they can have their products at our farm,” Ganier says. “They maintain their own cooler safe, keep it stocked and we just watch their money jar for them, if you will. And that is nice thing we have been able to do for farmers who wouldn’t otherwise have the ability to be in a number of places at one time.”

She also offers farm tours to expose children, or anyone else who is interested, to the true source of their snacks.

“I think it is really fantastic that people are interested in at least knowing where and how their food has grown again,” she says. “I don’t expect people to want to grow, nor should they grow, everything they are going to eat, if they have a small yard. But you can certainly plant a trellis of beans or do a couple of pots of tomaotes and supplement the things you are buying from the grocery store for very little money. And it is a great experience for your family to do together.”

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