A wonderful thing about Nashville is the abundance of farms that harvest fresh produce for the locals to enjoy. There are close to 200 farms in and around Nashville cultivating everything from meats (we love the lamb ladies!) and dairy to gorgeous, seasonal produce. Luckily there are many local farmers’ markets to shop these ingredients year round, but why cook when you can bring the farm to the table at the farm’s restaurant?
The farm-to-table trend really began in the 60s and 70s with the hippies ditching processed foods for local and organic food. Since then, the trend has steadily grown and became mainstream in the early 2000s, changing diners’ habits and shedding light on the quality of food. Several of the 50 best restaurants in the world are farm-to-table restaurants with NY farm restaurant, Blue Hill at Stone Barns coming in at #11. With increasingly more education on the science of food and how it affects our well-being from overall health, skincare and even our moods, it’s no surprise consumers are becoming more aware of what they are putting in their bodies.
The Old School is a farm-to-table restaurant located in Bells Bend about 10-15 minutes from downtown Nashville on Old Hyde Ferry’s Pike. The farm is an incredible organization dedicated to giving back to the community. According to their website, it’s a “unique non-profit dedicated to producing quality farm-to-table food while providing employment for individuals of all abilities.”
Sean and I first discovered The Old School Farm when we attended our friends’ wedding there in April. The wedding in April was absolutely gorgeous, so I suggested it to another friend who recently got engaged. She and I made a plan to go for brunch to check it out together.
The farm looked quite different in the daylight when you could see the rows of green produce, herbs and of course, the chickens! It was a perfect Saturday afternoon, a yoga class was just wrapping up in the barn as we arrived and the restaurant was beckoning us with amazing smells. Yoga classes are taught every Saturday and they also feature jazz dinners and blue-grass brunches.
The interior is simple, rustic-chic, farm-house décor with long, wooden farm tables and porcelain pitchers with fresh farm flowers. The “monthly harvest” of local ingredients from the Old School farm and neighboring farms used in their daily menus are displayed prominently on chalkboards. The menu we were served featured bright, summer produce like peaches, summer squash, leeks, lettuces, fennel and tons of fresh herbs. Could there be anything better?
We started with the grilled peach salad on a bed of fresh lettuces with homemade goat cheese and a chili-pistachio vinaigrette. We both wanted to bottle that dressing and take it home. The flavor combination of the sweetness of the grilled peach paired with the bitterness of the greens with the spice from the chili was incredible. Add the velvety goat cheese and the crunch from the pistachio – pure heaven!
For our mains, we both opted for the farmhouse breakfast. I chose it because it fell within the confines of the Whole30 (almost over, yay!) – two eggs, bacon or sausage, biscuit (I left off), and a salad of spinach and frissee. The sausage was delicious with a spicy flavor and the greens provided a nice freshness to offset the fatty protein. Unfortunately, the poached eggs were over cooked on both of our plates. Both here and Sky Blue Café had overcooked poached eggs – maybe I should start ordering scrambled?
All I can say about the biscuit is it looked perfectly golden brown with an herb butter, and sadly, I did not get to taste it. I also didn’t get to try a bloody mary or mimosa I saw tempting me on surround tables. All more of an excuse to go back!
Picture an idyllic farm-house serving that day’s harvest and The Old School Farm will come to mind. I love the concept and mission of the farm and that they provide jobs for adults with intellectual disabilities. Plus, the food was fresh and lovely, the atmosphere rustic and quaint and it was the perfect spot for a girlfriends lunch, a date or a wedding. Since I’m still new to Nashville, it’s rare I’m out brunching with girlfriends, so it was a real treat to help a friend in her wedding venue search and catch-up over a delicious meal. I can’t wait to go back and definitely want to try dinner next!
Rating*: 4.1 | More Info: The Old School | Neighborhood: Bells Bend | Cuisine Type: American, Local, Farm-to-Table
*Ratings are based on a 5 point scale with 5 being an exceptional, extremely satisfactory experience. Factors taken into consideration when reviewing include atmosphere, service, taste, food/drink preparation, quality & innovation, and cost relative to the previous factors.