Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Quarter Spring Farm

In case you did not know the way to a chef's heart, it is through his stomach. A chef is always knee deep in organized chaos and if not, soon will be. Often, it is hard to take a few minutes to stop what you are doing and focus on something new. Well, JB with Quarter Spring Farm has first hand knowledge of this having done his time in restaurants. JB brings me one of his all natural, whole chickens and just says to try it. No long conversation I do not have time for, no complicated ordering process to go through, "just try it, let me know".  What he knew was that once I tried it, I would take the time to find out about ordering, price, and those other necessary, but boring details. The chicken spoke for itself you could say.

JB and his wife, Heather Bradley are the master minds and backs behind the delicious, pasture-raised, all natural chicken from Liberty, Tennessee. It does not stop at chicken either. The unique and old favorite produce has been an added bonus to tag onto a bird order. I must mention the Mexican sweet gherkins as probably one of the most popular items we have ever served in my 15 years here. They look like the world's smallest watermelon! The guests loved them, and they were not just cute but tasty too. I am just glad I did not have to pick them.

You can find Quarter Spring Farm at the Nashville Farmer's Market  and the Rutherford County Farmer's Market with not only chickens, but produce, eggs, and goat milk soap! The Nashville Farmer's market did a very nice story on our new friends.  You can get all the "juicy" details about them there or on their facebook page.

We have been using their whole broilers on our Stonehaus wine tasting dinner in the past couple of weeks, as well as, lunches for several of our corporate clients. There will be more local chicken dinners to come and JB has planted the seed so to speak about the fall garden that is on its way too. We look forward to a tasty, healthful relationship with Quarter Spring Farm for a long time to come.  

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Kenny's Farmhouse Cheese

There is obviously much to love about Evins Mill and its neighborhood for me to have passionately stayed around to create in the kitchen for the last, almost fifteen years. I must say that I do often daydream of the days traveling the world and trying foods and flavors that open your mouth and soul to brand new experiences. Luckily, these days you can order just about anything from around the world and have it to play with here in middle Tennessee. But some foods do not travel so well. Artisan cheese would have to be one of these. I have so many wonderful memories of the European, New Zealand, and Tasmanian cheeses paired with simple local produce, bread, and wine.

It is my good fortune, and yours, that Evins Mill now carries a growing variety of Kenny's Farmhouse Cheese! We happened upon Kenny's cheese through one of our other local partners, Northfield Vineyard. We purchased some, and now we're hooked! After a little research and figuring out the best way to get it here from Austin, Kentucky, we now have a variety of different styles and flavors of Kenny's cheese.

I will not be able to adequately list and describe the two dozen varieties of cheese they offer, but I can say that we have the Nena, Barren County Blue, Kentucky Blue, Brie, Kentucky Rose, Reserve Cheddar - and that they are each unique and amazing. Kenny's website is beautiful and informative, with a full list of their cheeses with descriptions, beverage pairings, and information about the beginnings and the care that goes into creating the perfect milk and then cheese. It is clear that the only thing easy about the process is our getting to enjoy this fabulous cheese.

We will be offering up our new found goodies on salads, cheese boards, and the like. Please take a look at Kenny's Farmhouse Cheese, order some cheese, and come see me at Evins Mill smiling and daydreaming a little less now that we have some of the best cheese around!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

SPEAKeasy Spirits

As we near the holiday season and the chill in the air that comes with it, it is time to cozy up to the fireplace with a celebratory beverage. Our featured partner for this post is becoming a regular around the Mill in aiding with the celebration.

SPEAKeasy Spirits has been distilling their fine products in Nashville since 2011, including Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Cream and Pickers Vodka, recently featured in a recipe we posted for our Headless Horseman. Pickers also comes in several flavors to mix it up occasionally. The Pickers Original is wonderfully smooth all by itself, and is also a fantastic canvas to brush your favorite flavors on. We will be playing with cranberries, spices and pomegranate in the coming weeks!

While these guys are producing spirits of the highest quality, their products are not ones you have to save up for all year to buy - and that is something to celebrate! SPEAKeasy also uses non GMO, Tennessee corn in their vodka, uses a hot water recycling process in their production, and also uses the stillage (byproduct) to feed local farm animals.

It never gets old seeing folks doing something the right way, and not just the easy way. Welcome to Evins Mill SPEAKeasy! Gather round the fire and stay a while, and thank you for helping our guests relax and celebrate all year.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Northfield Vineyards

We recently had the pleasure of touring a new Tennessee winery - and tasting some of its wares. Northfield Vineyards is located near Sparta, just a thirty minute drive from Evins Mill - a beautiful country drive with a prize at the end!

I am not sure I can put the words down to describe Mark Ray, owner of Northfield Vineyards. Mark starts out as a "good ol' boy" in all the right ways, then takes all your preconceived ideas of drinking and wine making and gives you no choice other than to change your ways. 

Mark has taken fruits like cranberries, blackberries, muscadines, and rhubarb and turned them into wine that...well, (as they say around here) makes your tongue slap your face. I am not a sweet wine drinker but was blown away by the flavors of Mark's wines. The Northfield selections do not lead with sugar and follow with fruit - they are fruit forward, in your face juicy. There are sweet and dry ones, all to my surprise pleasing to a suspicious pallet.

Mark's wine making started out with picking muscadines for his "Granny" to eat, which eventually led to a five gallon bucket of the "worst stuff ever" according to Mark. After a few classes, patience, prodding, love, and determination, he has it right. 

Mark and family should be proud of their creations. They have a store front at the winery for you to shop and sample their wine. You can only get Northfield wines on site or in select locations, so this really is a well kept secret ...for now! Visiting Northfield will be another great activity to be enjoyed when at Evins Mill.

As always, when we highlight a new friend, we will be serving their wares at Evins Mill -Northfield's wine will be available by the bottle. We are also working on some wine-cocktail, spritzer ideas. These wines are wonderful on their own as a porch pounder, pare up well with food, make a nice after dinner course, or mix well with a prosecco for a wine spritzer. 

Thanks Northfield for being our partner! It is both fun and an honor to feature your wine.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A Trip Down Harmony Lane

Julie David of Harmony Lane has a quote on her website that I like..."Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony".  Julie's definition of happiness reminds me of one of my favorite words, "integrity". We might just be on to something when we find ourselves living out happiness and integrity in our daily lives. My family and I were able to witness this first hand recently on a tour of Harmony Lane Farm and Creamery.

Harmony Lane is our newest family member to the ever growing tree of Thoughtful Provence. We are now purchasing our chevre from the David's and are so excited. First of all, they are local, right here in Smithville! They also seem to know just a little bit about goats, and milking, and making cheese (insert sarcasm); oh the cheese, it is amazing! I could live on cheese alone for those who do not know.

Julie and Mark are relatively new in the business, but have left no detail out in running a beautiful farm that is officially a Grade A dairy. On our visit, we toured the milking and cheese making facilities, pastures with all sorts of animals, and even got to try our hand at feeding the kids bottles and hand milking Zora (thanks Zora, you are quite the lady). We also learned so much about what goes into making the cheese that we so often take for granted. Goats do not take a day off by the way in case you were on the fence about doing this yourself.

You can read all about the Davids and how they started on their website, but I certainly recommend the farm tour which they can do with a reservation. This might be a nice add on to your next visit to the Mill! We will be using the chevre, but they also have soaps, ground beef and pork sausage that are produced and can be purchased right on the farm.

A big thank you Julie for the wonderful tour; our kids (children) loved playing with your kids (baby goats) and learning to milk for the first time. Harmony Lane certainly fits in nicely with all of our partners in food here at Evins Mill. Passionate folks being intentional and creative. Look for the chevre on you next visit to our table!

   Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony” 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Not Just a "Cuppa Joe"

Coffee for me has not always been a way of life. You could say I married into it about 12 years ago when it was practically part of my wedding vows. In that time, I have went from drinking it white and sweet to straight up black. You could say that I am somewhat dependent on it; that makes my other half proud! This family dependency and our goal of serving the best of everything food and beverage here at the Mill leads me to our latest featured family member of "Thoughtful Provenance".

I met Courtney and Brian Hicks a few years ago as guests of Evins Mill. We were saying our goodbyes when they mentioned they were in the coffee roasting business, Humphrey Street Coffee Co. They agreed to send some samples and and before long we were serving their amazing coffee. Sounds easy, right? Well it was an easy decision. It turns out that they had a great product; wonderful coffees that were responsibly sourced, sustainably grown, and roasted locally. What made it an even easier decision was that they had a bigger goal in mind than just making great coffee (as if that were easy).

You see, Humphrey Street Coffee Co. is a social enterprise of Harvest Hands Community Development which offers youth in Nashville the opportunity to be employed and mentored in their own community using the craft of roasting coffee. They seek to make a change by teaching and mentoring the students with important work, life, and craft skills that help encourage them to live into who they are created to be. There is nothing to not like about this; yes, it was an easy decision.

We are proud of our partnership with Humphrey Street and Harvest Hands. They exemplify living intentionally, doing their job on purpose, with a purpose and that is a quality that we seek to provide in our service here at Evins Mill.  When we can partner with folks who share this, it is a win for everyone.

We hope to have these guys out to do a coffee tasting in the fall, so keep an eye out for that! Until then, you can enjoy their coffee here at the Mill anytime or visit them in Nashville. You can read all about them, watch videos, or learn how you can help on their website and follow them through all the social media outlets as well. They truly are more than just a "Cuppa Joe". Drink good coffee for a change!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Southern Natural Foods

Nothing says summer like a steak on the grill! Lucky for me, I get to see a lot of both during the busy summer season. I love the change of the seasons in thinking about meals to prepare, but summer has to be in the top four (that was supposed to be funny, I think the heat in the kitchen is getting to me)! I do love the variety of garden vegetables and fruits that are only good this time of year. Summer has a distinct taste.

Back to that steak! We have a new friend I want to share with you, and that is Southern Natural Foods. I had the pleasure of getting to play with a few samples of their beef and pork a few months ago; they are special to say the least. We served their rib eyes and strip steaks at our Bluegrass Cookout back on the 4th of July to rave reviews (and it was not just my cooking). They are everything you would expect from an all natural, locally raised, sustain-ably farmed product.

I am very impressed with not just the quality, but also the supply. They have had what I needed and when, and delivered fresh...yes, fresh! This is almost unheard of in beef from local farms. This is key for me in trying to feed the variety of events from weddings to corporate retreats to an anniversary couple.

Southern Natural Foods also offers DNA trace-ability, so that you can trace your meal back to the very farm it came from; very cool. These guys have taken all the steps you need to take to create a one of a kind product and went even further to ensure you are eating the best. I have said it before, but starting with the best ingredients makes my job a whole lot easier.  There is a ton of information on their website  Check it out!

Evins Mill will give you your next opportunity to try their beef at our Stonehaus Wine Tasting, Harvest Cookout.  This will be August 22nd and will be a cookout style menu with loads of steaks off the CHARCOAL grill, local veggie salads and sides, local fruit cobbler with homemade ice cream...yeah, you better come! Have a great rest of the summer.