Dress Up “Summer” Produce for Fall

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 | 02:43 pm
Zucchini Pie
Zucchini Pie

NASHVILLE - Some types of produce — sweet potatoes, for instance, or pumpkins — are truly fall crops. Planted in summer’s heat and harvested as the year winds down, there’s only one season per calendar year when they’re available. Watermelons are a prime example of a true summer crop; local asparagus is available for only a brief time in early spring. 

Most types of produce, however, are merely cool weather or warm weather crops—meaning that as long as the weather conditions are right, they can be planted and thrive, providing harvests over and over. In Tennessee, the growing season typically runs seven to nine months.

Squashes like yellow crookneck and zucchini are called “summer” squashes only to set them apart from hard, or “winter,” squashes like butternut, acorn, patty pan and other true autumn varieties. Summer squash is planted in late spring to be available by early summer, but later plantings make these delicious and easy to use vegetables plentiful right up until frost.

Tennessee Viticulture Advisory Board to Meet

Monday, August 19, 2013 | 10:37 am

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Viticulture Advisory Board will meet Aug. 29 at 10 a.m. CST at DelMonaco Winery, located at 600 Lance Dr. in Baxter, Tenn. The agenda includes a report on 2013 grape and fruit crops, a recent study of the wine and grape industry and other updates. 

The meeting is open to the public. Individuals interested in addressing the board should plan to arrive prior to the start of the meeting in order to be placed on the agenda. 

The Tennessee Viticulture Advisory Board advises the Tennessee Department of Agriculture on matters pertaining to grape growing and wine production in Tennessee.  For more information, contact Tammy Algood, marketing specialist with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture at 615-837-5160, or e-mail

Lively Named TDA Food and Dairy Administrator

Thursday, August 15, 2013 | 10:56 am
Shanna Lively
Shanna Lively

NASHVILLE –Tennessee Department of Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson today announced the appointment of Shanna Lively as food and dairy administrator.

“I am happy to appoint Shanna to this position that plays a very important role in ensuring food safety for Tennesseans,” Johnson said. “Food safety is a top priority at the state and federal levels and Shanna’s experience with this in the private sector makes her an ideal person to take on this responsibility.”

Lively officially assumed her new duties on Aug. 1. She replaced food and dairy administrator Bill Walls, who will be assuming other management duties within the department’s food safety program.

Local Wines Win 2013 International Wine Competition

Friday, August 09, 2013 | 11:16 am
Tennessee Wines Win
Tennessee Wines Win

NASHVILLE – Tennessee just made global news for its award winning wines.

Tennessee wineries took home 21 medals from the recent Indy International Wine Competition at Purdue University, one of the nation's largest wine competitions.

The West Lafayette, Indiana event attracted more than 2,300 wines from 39 states and 14 countries as far away as France, Australia, Chile and Greece. The wines were judged by 44 international experts in a completely blind taste competition based on appearance, aroma, taste and aftertaste.

For their port wine, “Apropos,” Beans Creek Winery in Manchester was awarded a prestigious Double Gold Medal, meaning that every one of the 44 judges at the event voted for that wine to receive a gold medal.

Pick Perfect Local Peaches in Tennessee - While They Last

Thursday, August 08, 2013 | 11:09 am
Tennessee Peaches
Tennessee Peaches

NASHVILLE -- Turns out, bigger really isn’t always better—at least when it comes to peaches. Tennessee’s peaches may not match their rivals in size this year, but that’s exactly why, at the end of a soggy summer, Tennessee peaches have more flavor packed beneath their fuzzy exteriors.

In many parts of the Deep South this summer, excessive rains have affected famous peach crops in a way that isn’t immediately evident. For peaches, superabundant water is too much of a good thing, creating what looks to be simply an exceptionally large fruit. When the flesh of waterlogged peaches swells, the real result is a peach with literally watered down flavor.

Fortunately, Tennessee’s mild summer has perfected local peaches, a sometimes elusive fruit for this state since frosts can hit too heavy and too late to accommodate early blossoming peach trees. Tennessee orchard growers are tickled peachy pink over this year’s yield, which is been sweet and abundant. With only a few weeks left in the season, local farmers are inviting customers to come pick the last of a great crop.

Emerald Ash Borer Findings Continue to Spread

Wednesday, July 31, 2013 | 12:01 pm

NASHVILLE – Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive insect that destroys ash trees, has been found in Jackson and Scott counties. The identification was made recently and has been confirmed by USDA.

Both counties will now be placed under quarantine. Earlier this summer, Hamilton County was also placed under quarantine when EAB was found in trees near a rail hub in Chattanooga.

“It appears the newly found infestations of Emerald Ash Borer probably originated through the movement of infested firewood used in camping,” Gray Haun, Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Plant Certification Administrator said. “Campers need to buy firewood locally where they are camping to avoid introduction of new pests to those areas.”

Todd Named Assistant State Forester

Thursday, July 25, 2013 | 09:38 am
David Todd
David Todd

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson today announced the appointment of S. David Todd as assistant state forester effective July 16. 

“I am delighted to make this appointment of a very competent and experienced professional forester to the position of assistant state forester,” Johnson said. “David, in addition to possessing excellent technical forest management skills and knowledge, also brings to the position leadership attributes that will serve the department and forestry community well.”

As assistant state forester, Todd will direct several program areas within the Division of Forestry and assist state forester Jere Jeter in maintaining existing programs and developing new ones as needed to ensure healthy and productive forests for the people of Tennessee.

Late Season Leads to Loaded Farmers Markets Across State

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 | 01:47 pm

NASHVILLE – After a late start, Tennessee farmers markets are making up for lost time. A cool, rainy spring has resulted in truckloads of local produce ready for harvest, not in an orderly procession, but a regular rush hour traffic jam of fruits and vegetables.

Pick Tennessee Products, the state’s “buy local” promotion for farm direct products, will host special media days to celebrate the growing season at two locations in the coming week. On July 27, the event will take place at the Union County Farmers Market in conjunction with their market’s corn festival. On July 31, Tennessee Department of Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson and Deputy Commissioner Jai Templeton will be on hand for a Pick Tennessee Products media day at the Ripley Downtown Farmers Market.

Visitors who attend a farmers market media day can take home free Pick Tennessee Products recipe cards and have the chance to win a basket of artisan and other popular foods from Tennessee.

TDA and TDH Provide Healthy Tips for Enjoying Summer Fairs

Wednesday, July 17, 2013 | 03:20 pm

NASHVILLE – Thousands of Tennesseans will be enjoying the sights, sounds and foods of county fairs in the upcoming weeks. And while the Tennessee Department of Health, the Department of Agriculture and other agencies work behind the scenes to help safeguard the health of people and animals, parents and individuals need to take a few moments to prepare for another healthy trip to the fairgrounds.

Livestock exhibits are popular attractions and are an important part of agricultural youth programs and industry. Fairgoers are encouraged to visit these areas while also being mindful that, while the instances are rare, livestock can sometimes spread diseases such as E coli and H3N2 swine flu to humans, especially the elderly, young children, and those with compromised immune systems.

Last year, there were several cases in other states of swine flu infecting pigs and, in some cases, humans who came into contact with them at fairs around the country. To minimize risk, those prone to developing severe complications from influenza or in poor health should limit their exposure to swine.

Tennessee Pest Control Licensing and Advisory Board to Meet

Monday, July 08, 2013 | 03:26 pm

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Pest Control Licensing and Advisory Board will meet July 15 at 9:30 a.m. CDT in the conference room at the Porter Building at Ellington Agricultural Center, 440 Hogan Rd, Nashville, Tenn. The agenda includes a review and approval of minutes, special licensing requests, Tennessee Insecticide Fungicide Rodenticide Act rule changes and horticulture lawn and turf mosquito spraying. The meeting is open to the public.

The Tennessee Pest Control Licensing and Advisory Board comprises seven members representing the pest control industry and consumers. The board sets standards for licensing in categories of pesticide application. The board also advises the Tennessee Department of Agriculture on pest control issues and regulatory matters.

For more information, contact pesticide administrator Kathy Booker, Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Regulatory Services Division at 615-837-5133 or