PBH Apalachicola Oysters [high res]

50 Pearls Discovered in Boat House Oyster

So how’s this for a lucky day?

One sweet lady was feasting on oysters at Puckett’s Boat House on Thursday, and dove into her last oyster. And when she did………

50 PEARLS SPILLED OUT! Yes, fifty. Crazy stuff. And this has gone viral! We’re talking ABC News and Eater–and it’s jumped the Atlantic to The Daily Mail.

We’ve been getting asked: yes, of course we let her keep her pearls! We hope she does something pretty with them. And nope: these are NOT farm-raised oysters. All our oysters at the Boat House are freshly harvested from the Gulf Coast.

Anyhoo: Talk about flashing those pearly whites. We’ll have what she’s having, from here on out!

Learn more about this discovery and the Boat House here (or watch the ABC video below to catch the full story):


ABC Breaking US News | US News Videos

Agricultural Curators Q + A: Homestead Manor

Our family just keeps on growing, y’all… literally!

We’re thrilled to welcome Casey and Joni McCarty to the A. Marshall clan, as the new agricultural curators at Homestead Manor–the freshest addition to our family of restaurants that will offer a unique farm-to-table dining experience. One of the coolest parts about dining at Homestead? You’ll be feasting on dishes with featured fruits and vegetables that will be growing right here on the grounds of this historic property.

Not sure what it really means to grow organic produce, or how you operate a “working sustainable farm?”

We sat down with Casey and Joni to find out the answers to those questions, and to learn more about their family’s passion for agriculture. Keep reading for the scoop on our newest A. Marshall family members, and what they’ll be bringing to Homestead Manor!

The McCarty Family

What will y’all be doing at Homestead?

We will be the agricultural curators for Homestead Manor and the restaurant, which means we will be organically growing the vegetables and fruits for the restaurant and the event center, while simultaneously keeping the integrity and style of Homestead. We’ll also show how farming practices have changed throughout the years through different methods of farming–from ground to hydroponic and aquaponic techniques.

What have you & your family been doing the last 10 years?

For the past 10 years we have been moving towards living off the land. Back in Washington state, we lived on a little hobby sustainable farm. We had a big garden where we dried, canned, and fermented the vegetables for the rest of the year’s meals. We also raised a number of animals, including goats and sheep.

With the joy and satisfaction of this lifestyle, we made a conscious effort not only to share this with others but to also let them know they are capable of doing the same. So, for the last three years we have been searching for a way to do what we love–and we simply couldn’t have found a better way to do so than through a farm-to-table restaurant located on a site that’s so rich in history.

Sustainable farm

What are a couple fun facts about you and your family? 

As a family, we believe life is meant to be lived out in a way that’s similar to how we eat–with lots of different spices and seasonings! A sense of adventure and the desire to try new things are two qualities our family has a love/hate relationship with. We have lived in a remote, fly-in only village in Alaska, as well as an off-the-grid farm. We’ve travelled from West Coast to East Coast several times (by car!), but we’ve been able to do so because we all truly enjoy being together as a family.

The McCarty Family

What do you mean when you say you lived on a sustainable farm?

A sustainable farm means staying out of the grocery store as much as possible. Aside from a handful of items, we have been doing just that.

Why do you refer to yourselves as agricultural curators?

A curator is someone who oversees or is in charge of a museum or historical site. We are overseeing different methods and techniques of producing the vegetables and fruits here at Homestead Manor, so we thought our one-of-a-kind position here deserved a unique title.

Your life has taken you to some interesting places. What’s your craziest story to tell?

One of the craziest things we’ve ever done was when we travelled to Canada during the middle of the winter in a 1984 Volkswagen Fox that didn’t have a working heater. We bundled up, sat on our sheep fleeces and laughed together thinking about how few people would be willing to do what we were doing.

Trip to Canada

Another trip across the country–from California to Ohio–we travelled with 23 goats and sheep in an “ark” on wheels that we built ourselves. We’d pull over on the side of the road and milk the goats with a milking stanchion that pulled down on the side of the trailer–now that’s a sight you don’t see everyday!

What are y’all most passionate about? Why?

Our passion is life. Life is meant to be simple, but our world just makes it complicated with distractions and technology. Our family is constantly seeking to live simply.

Why is Homestead and what y’all have to offer important to the community?

Not everyone is in a situation where they’re able to grow organic produce, nor do we all have the same likes and dislikes. So there’s a variety of things to do and see when you come out here.  

At Homestead, we are providing a unique experience for the senses and a learning opportunity regarding our work on the farm. We want to extend that to the community by sharing all of our expertise about natural, organic growing that can be done at home.

Grapes

How do your educational backgrounds tie into your work?

I (Casey) have taught history and english in the public school system for 20 years and Civil War history is an emphasis I have always enjoyed. With the rich story behind Homestead Manor, it’s fun that I’m able to combine my passion for agriculture and history in a way that will better serve those who visit.

You mentioned a “pizza tour” in your bio. How cool! Tell us a little about that.  

Some of our friends wanted to know more about what all this “sustainable farm” talk was, so we invited them over and built a dinner with them as we toured the farm. Our guests would pick the herbs and vegetables they wanted on their pizza and then go milk the goats and bring it into the kitchen to make the cheese. We even had a hand grinder for making flour!  Then in the evening, when everything was done, we ate our pizza with home-brewed beer while watching the sheep graze in the yard.

Pizza

 

Those McCarty’s are pretty interesting, right? Be sure to follow along as they document their Homestead adventures… and teach us all a thing or two in the process!

 

Wheat

Andy Marshall with Nashville Business Journal

Winner, Winner: NBJ’s “Best in Business!” [WOW]

by Claire Marshall Crowell
Director of Operations of A. Marshall Family Foods Inc.
Raised by the Fork

This past week we experienced an incredibly proud moment for our family business. We were one of the finalists in the Nashville Business Journal’s Best in Business Awards, in the 101-500 employees category, and attended the awards luncheon with some of our key employees on Thursday.

I want to first remark how amazing it is to me to be included at all; secondly, that we are now in the 101-500 employees category. Puckett’s started over 15 years ago with no more than 10 employees. In the last five years, that number has grown from about 50 to well over 300. It’s astounding to think about.

As we watched the videos for all the finalists, we were so impressed by the diversity and achievements of our colleagues…. But when they called A. Marshall Family Foods Inc. as the winner of the 2015 Best in Business Award, I nearly fell out of my seat.

I cannot tell you how proud I am of my father and what our business has accomplished these past few years. Even more than that though, I am so excited for what’s ahead of us [more on that here and here].

Read Andy’s NBJ profile + Q&A here, or watch their videos about him below:

IMAG0277

The A. Marshall team, ready to celebrate!

About Claire Marshall Crowell

A Tennessee native, Claire grew up in the grocery and restaurant business: her father, Andy Marshall, owned a string of Piggly Wiggly stores before purchasing Puckett’s in Leiper’s Fork, Tenn., when she was 11 years old.

Today, Claire serves as the Director of Operations for A. Marshall Family Foods Inc. She helps manage operations of Puckett’s Gro. & Restaurant locations in downtown Franklin, downtown Nashville, downtown Columbia, and downtown Chattanooga (opening spring 2015); Puckett’s Boat House in downtown Franklin; Puckett’s Trolley, the brand’s mobile food venue; Homestead Manor in Thompson Station (opening spring 2015); and Puckett’s Events & Catering.

Claire is involved in various industry and community organizations, and recently launched her own lifestyle blog: Raised by the Fork, which offers a look inside the crazy world of A. Marshall Family Foods Inc., the hospitality industry, and life as a devoted and working mother. Follow along here!

And The Winner Is… (March Drink Of The Month)

The votes are in and the winner of the March drink of the month contest is the Irish Spring, concocted by the folks at Puckett’s Franklin (they’re three for three now, y’all!)

To make this lip-lickin’ libation, we take Jameson Irish Whiskey and mixed it with peach schnapps, orange juice and sweet ‘n sour for a classic taste. We all agree the Irish Spring’s the perfect cocktail to sip on while you thaw out from this dang winter that doesn’t seem to want to go away.

We’ve also already gotten a head start on polling for April’s drink of the month, so be sure to check out our Facebook and Twitter pages to cast your vote now!

Irish Spring

NourishWise Q&A: Decoding Health

On Monday, March 2, Puckett’s is proud to be partnering with NourishWise–a Nashville-based startup that aims to offer diners online nutrition data from participating restaurants. Basically, their dietitians remove the guesswork from local eateries’ menus and help diners choose the healthiest options when outside the home.

We asked founder Jason Denenberg–and lead Dietitian Nan Allison MS, RD, LDN–to answer a few Q&As for us, so that we could get a handle on what it means to choose healthier items when dining. Read on to find out the single best question to ask your server, decoder words, and his favorite at-home recipes.

Pssst: don’t forget to sign up for NourishWise here to get the Puckett’s edition in your mailbox on March 2!

Hanger Steak at Puckett's

We know NourishWise is all about not having to decode your food, but what are some keywords you should generally look for on menus when you’re wanting to choose the healthier option?  
Lean, baked, broiled, roasted, steamed, poached, low-fat, grilled, broth-based (soups), tomato-based sauce, reduced-fat and fresh.   

Beyond that, you must ask questions about how something is prepared, for example: Is the primavera mostly pasta with flecks of vegetables or does it have about half of the ingredients as vegetables? I wish there were keywords that would indicate that you are getting a balanced meal; Oftentimes, using the terms mentioned above in conjunction with “platter” or “plate” or “meat-and-three,” will get you closer.

If you’re feeling particularly healthy on any given day, what is the single best question to ask your server?
Can you double the vegetable serving?

Why does NourishWise include the total fat, carbs and protein numbers? Some people think it’s the calories that we should pay attention to–what would you say to them?
NourishWise aims to help you identify nutritionally dense meals. We don’t necessarily count calories or chase diets. More specifically to your question, calories are not an indicator of overall nutritional value. You could have a 500 calorie sandwich and it could be all white bread, tomatoes and mayonnaise, or you could have a 500 calorie sandwich from whole grain bread, lean roast beef, a slice of cheddar, light mayo, tomato, pickles, onions and low-fat slaw; or a whole wheat pasta dish with lean chicken, tomatoes onions and snap peas, sautéed in a small amount of olive oil and topped with Parmesan. Also, we know that people are more likely to be satisfied for longer with a balance of the calories from whole grain, fruit and/or vegetable, adequate protein and fat. They are less likely to over eat a meal like this, and they are also more likely to do less snacking later.

It’s no secret we love BBQ here at Puckett’s–what are a couple options when ordering the meat ‘n’ three to keep the calorie count down?
Order the BBQ Chicken, Hanger Steak or Pulled Pork BBQ with smashed sweet potatoes and any two of the following sides: Cole Slaw, Green Beans, Steamed Vegetables–or a Side Salad with 1/2 the amount of dressing.

Is there are particular wine, cocktail or other beverage that you doesn’t make a huge impact on your calorie count or sugar intake?
Almost any average pour of wine or beer  or regular (non-diet) soda or juice will provide about 100-150 calories. Most cocktails without juices or syrups added will provide about 100 -150 calories. The best option is to have a juice or wine mixed with club soda or sparkling water or one shot of a cocktail mixed with dilute fruit juice and splash of lemon or lime. Of course, you can mix cocktails with diet sodas and diet tonic.

Are gluten-free options better for everyone–even those who don’t have a wheat allergy?
No. However, there may be some people who are sensitive, but not have a classic allergy, to wheat or proteins in wheat and other gluten-containing grains who may benefit from opting for gluten free carbohydrate foods. These individuals will know this because they will generally feel better when they do not eat products with wheat or high in gluten. Genetic testing and food sensitivity testing is now available to individuals to help determine who would best be served by avoiding wheat.

When cooking at home, what is your favorite substitute for a high-caloric ingredient?
In lieu of Alfredo sauce, use low-fat cottage cheese blended with Mrs. Dash or McCormick’s fat-free seasoning. I may blend in a bit of reduced-fat sour cream depending on the texture. I also use this for dips and spreads or potato topping.

Personally, what is your favorite meal to make at home?
Dreamfield’s–lower carb–(or other) pasta tossed with oodles of stir fry vegetables, lean meat or chicken or shrimp or ham and my own ginger peanut lime sauce, finished with topped with chopped peanuts and cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime. It takes about 15 minutes to assemble if I have all the ingredients prepped and the sauce made.

In winter, I like to make a white bean and spinach soup with a little bit of chicken or vegetarian sausage…maybe a few carrots and a good grainy cornbread.

 

And there you have it, folks! Advice from the experts. We hope to see y’all orderin’ up some of their recommended goodness soon!