There is something so spring-like, so fresh and so vibrant, about a farm's first growing season. For Sounding Stone Farms in Ashland City, that first season is happening right now. Just a few miles outside of bustling Nashville, Caroline McDonald is adding even more lusciousness to the already green countryside, then graciously bringing it to the city for our delight.
Caroline developed a growing obsession with sustainable farming through High School and college. Embracing that farming sustainably and locally truly can change the world, or whatever little microcosm pocket that she can, Caroline was offered the use of dear friends' land, and the dream of Sounding Stone Farm was born. Sharing is certainly a beautiful foundation at Sounding Stone Farm. Being a quarter acre of land, plants share space and nutrients with each other in alignment with the permaculture principle of intercropping, and the high rotation in small spaces method of SPIN farming. With the sharing of redirected water of permaculture's swills, nutrients from the no-till method, and the sun's rays, Sounding Stone is able to grow without any chemical treatment.
Caroline loves every aspect of Sounding Stone, from having her hands in the dirt, to marketing and running a small business. With great pride in protecting our Southern Seed Heritage, the anticipation of the first heirloom tomatoes and okra radiates excitement from Caroline. They way she speaks of her Scarlet Frills and Salanova lettuce with awe and fascination of how they grow, look, and taste leads me to believe they taste extra amazing being grown by someone so passionate. Chefs seem to feel the same way, as they are sharing their creations using Sounding Stone's greens with diners in Nashville. One of the biggest moments for Caroline this season so far was when a Chef came back for a second order, showing how much the bounty of this first season is being enjoyed.
When Sounding Stone Farm Comes to vend each Saturday Morning at the Richland Park Farmer's Market, a bond through sustainable food is shared between Caroline and the customers, as well as other farmers. She loves that everyone is there to support this movement of taking care of the earth and communities, and the positive energy that comes with it.
Be on the look out for Caroline's current favorites that are all must-try greens: Flavorful baby red Russian kale with a small stem and no massaging required, baby rainbow chard, so tender and sweet, and baby turnip greens that are a far cry from those that need to be cooked for hours and hours.
Here is a recipe from Caroline's blog at Soundingstonefarm.com
Go-to Kale Salad
1 pound baby red Russian kale
Juice from 1-2 lemons
1-2 cloves of garlic, mashed
A drizzle of soy sauce or tamari
A drizzle of honey
Freshly ground pepper
Suggested topping combos:
Japanese salad turnips, apple, and Parmesan cheese shavings
Carrot shavings and sunflower seeds
Put your kale is a big bowl, removing the stems and chopping if you’re using bunched kale.
Squeeze the lemon and mashed garlic over the kale. Mix with your hands until the leaves are evenly coated, and give the kale a few squeezes.
Add a drizzle of soy sauce and honey, and mix well. Finally, add a generous drizzle of olive oil and freshly ground pepper. Mix to combine. Kale should be coated but not dripping.
Add whatever toppings you like. I’ve found it’s best to keep it simple and let the dressing shine.
Come see Caroline and celebrate the offerings of Sounding Stone Farm's first growing season every Saturday Morning, May through December.
Richland Park Farmer's Market
Saturdays 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
4711 Charlotte Pike,
Nashille, TN 37209