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Green Door Gourmet of Nashville, Tennessee 

Romancing the Farm 

Story by Melissa Corbin 

Photos courtesy of Green Door Gourmet  

It could be said that food is our most important love language. Mother Nature isnt just a circle of life, its a circle of loveand one to be most revered,” says Sylvia Ganier, who works diligently on her organic farm in Nashville, Tennessee. Cultivating food is labor-intensive work with a low monetary yield; it’s ultimately a labor of love. 

Fresh Flowers - Foodie Travel USA

Photo Credit: Green Door Gourmet

Ganier met her husband Al while catering in Nashville. For us, the way to a mans heart really was his stomach,” she says.  

When the couple married in 2006, questions about where they were going to live and what type of life they would create together seemed written in the stars. Both had grown up on farms, his in Nashville, hers in North Carolina.  

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After settling into the rolling hills of Als 350-acre family farm along the Cumberland River, Al built his bride a small kitchen garden.  

That garden eventually grew to 152 acres of regenerative agriculture known as Green Door Gourmet. This is a love for our community and for the environment,” she says. “We are trying to break down some barriers to accessing good food, and the ability to get fresh food at a reasonable price.  

After the historic 2010 Nashville Flood, Green Door Gourmet evolved with the areas food scene garnering Music City national coverage as the new ‘it’ city. Chefs all over Nashville featured Ganier’s produce on their menus. Local grocers also touted Green Door Gourmet as a trusted supplier. And, to best serve retail customers, Green Door Gourmet opened an on-site farm store where fresh-picked produce was accompanied by area meat and dairy farm products, artisans, and other makers.   

Green Door Carrots - Foodie Travel USA

Photo Credit: Green Door Gourmet

Area farmers looked to the agritourism industry as a leading way to not only show tourists where food comes from, but also a way to earn muchneeded financial resources to literally feed humanity. Sylvia saw this as an opportunity to take the lead. She designed special crops of pick-your-own strawberries, a pumpkin patch, and sunflowers, to name a few, where visitors often posed for portraits, and built new memories on the farm.  

Berry on Board - Foodie Travel USA

Photo Credit: Green Door Gourmet

Specialty flower crops connected the dots for her produce crops pollination needs while also offering the pièce de resistance for floral designers, chefs, and floral CSA subscribers. With a top-notch event barn onsite, Green Door quickly became a premier destination for farm weddings with all the makings of a nearly zero carbon footprint.  

Star Turn 

When the show Nashville began shooting its 2012 debut, the West Nashville organic farm was on its short list for Raynas and Deacons weddingWhat’s more, farm fans can easily recognize Green Door Gourmet on the show since it was regularly featured as Raynas family farm. 

Connie Brittons (Rayna Jaymes) personal makeup artist held her own real-life wedding at Green Door Gourmet the following year, because the cast and crew all loved the feel of the farm. 

Ganier remembers how much the cast and crew respected her land, I love that they loved us as a farm, first and foremost. They were very respectful of it being a farm and didn’t want to displace anything.” For example, she says that when shooting outside, they knew mosquito spray wasnt an option on the organic farm and never once questioned the policy. Often, theyd shop at her farm store to take fresh food back home after a long day on the set. Cast and crew members who still live in Nashville have become loyal Green Door Gourmet customers.  

Sign of the Times 

Unfortunately, just as the coronavirus pandemic has affected most industries, Green Door Gourmet is not immune. Working with a smaller farm crew than usual, Ganier has had to cancel nearly two years worth of event bookings. Farm tours and other group activities are at a bare minimum. And, because restaurants have taken well-publicized hits due to capacity mandates, Ganiers 2021 growing season hangs in the balance of whats to come.  

She recognizes the everyday gambles that farmers face, and how the pandemic upped the ante.  

For now, the Green Door Gourmet farm store is working from a curb-side pick-up model. The 2021 CSA season continues full steam ahead with hoop houses producing cool weather crops like collards, cabbage, and beets. Ganier is also working toward a culinary tourism model which she hopes to become the new star of the show.  

Flowers and Vegetables - Foodie Travel USA

Photo Credit: Green Door Gourmet

Beginning this spring, shell offer fieldtokitchen classes on how food is grown, harvested, and prepared. I count it a good day on the farm when someone learns what a radish looks like in the fields, and then we take it into the kitchen,” she says. “We make pesto out of the greens. We roast the radish or toss it into a salad with dressing made from sorghum grown here.” Shes also excited to add a recentlypurchased grain mill to the syllabus to show students how to grind their own cornmeal this summer.   

During the time that we’re looking for the ability to  heal our crazy country, if reconnecting to make your own food, and farming through agritourism as a possible vehicle for doing so, why in the world would we not try to do that?” she says. Once the coronavirus threat is behind us, Ganier anticipates that her previous offerings will grow beyond their former glory into a new hopeful normal. She hopes that those who visit her farm fall in love and nourish a healthy relationship with food grown in a responsible, sustainable manner. And, if that happens, two of the Ganiers greatest loves will flourishTheir love of the earth and its people.  

Simply Sorghum Old Fashioned  

Stir up this tasty cocktail. 

1 ½ oz. bourbon whiskey 

¼ oz. orange juice 

¼ to ½ oz. sorghum, depending on desired level of sweetness 

Garnish with an orange twist and cherry (Woodford Reserve or Luxardo-style cherry preferred 

Use a little of the sorghum as a “rinse” inside your glass before adding ice and ingredients. Then stir rather than shake to combine. Garnish and serve.  

Plan A Trip

Book a tour, class, or shop the farm here.

Green Door Gourmet works with Nashville Grown to distribute food to local restaurants. Find a list of restaurants that support the farm here. 

Discover other area culinary attractions that were featured on Nashville as well as other ways to safely explore the city where face coverings are required, capacity limits are in place, and last call for service is at 10 p.m. Reservations strongly recommended.  

Nashville is currently available for streaming on HULU.

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Tennessee Vacation 

Melissa Corbin - Foodie Travel USAMelissa Corbin

Contributor

Melissa Corbin is a Tennessee-based journalist writing about food, travel, and folks who make their corner of the world so unique.