Over the last couple of years, many of the peppers in our Chili Garlic Sauce were sourced locally through Old School Farm, located outside Nashville in Bells Bend. This fertile land near the Cumberland River has a long heritage of farming, the 13,000 acres in northwest Davidson County that make up Scottsboro-Bells Bend. Its community resists many waves of proposed development, including malls, a chemical plant, and a landfill, in order to retain its rural and agrarian quality.
Although this old farming community became suburban on its fringes, a series of farms and farmers are breathing life into the community. Old School Farm is one of them, a non-profit which employs people of all abilities. Its nine-acre organic farm provides produce for markets and supplies their farm-to-table restaurant, The Old School. Converted from a New Deal-era schoolhouse built in 1936, which closed and was abandoned in the 90s, it was recently restored as a dining venue.
Located 60-miles from us, we consider Old School Farm a local source. We plan to source more hot peppers from their farm to make the next batch of Chili Garlic Sauce. The Old School has bought our Caraway Sauerkraut previously for the restaurant, cabbage which we also sourced locally from different farmers. This mutually beneficial web of relationships – between farmers, growers, producers, customers, cooks, and restaurant patrons – is a component of eating local. It takes multiple small economies and overlapping communities to make eating local possible.
Because of supermarkets and the global economy, we can purchase produce that is out-of-season or impossible to grow in our region. An example is the variety of tropical fruits available throughout winter. If something is grown locally, then it is seasonal, because it has been grown in accordance with the season. Greenhouses, hoop houses, and covered beds can extend seasons for certain produce.
When we choose to make a seasonal ferment, we were able to source produce grown in our local region. Farmers have had a good crop that year, because they were able to supply producers like us with large quantities of produce for food manufacturing.
While a seasonal product is available, this ferment is an expression of the preserved crop of that season. Teeming with life, the Chili Garlic Sauce showcases the culture and ingenuity of our friends at Old School Farm.