Can't Wait for Fresh Local Veggie? You don't Have To! Try Local Fresh Frozen

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 | 02:44 pm
Pot Pie with Cornbread Crust
Pot Pie with Cornbread Crust

NASHVILLE -- Where’s the freshest produce in your grocery store this time of year? Hint: It’s NOT the produce aisle.

You can still find fresh local produce, even when this summer’s homegrown tomatoes and sweet corn are still a couple of months away. Fact is, the “freshest” local produce available now is most likely in the freezer section at your local grocery store. Pictsweet brand fresh frozen produce, located in West Tennessee, is available year round in the frozen foods sections of most grocery stores across the state. 

Through the winter, much of the fresh produce Tennesseans find at groceries store is grown more than 1,500 miles away. As a result, it may be harvested before it reaches its nutritional peak in order hold up under the weight of being packed, then artificially ripened during transport. That trip can take days or even weeks.

Tennessee Lawmakers to Celebrate "Ag Day on the Hill"

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 | 10:52 am
House Speaker Harwell and Lt. Gov. Ramsey at 2013 Ag Day on the Hill
House Speaker Harwell and Lt. Gov. Ramsey at 2013 Ag Day on the Hill

NASHVILLE – Tennessee lawmakers will celebrate Ag Day on the Hill on March 25 at Legislative Plaza in Nashville. Gov. Bill Haslam has also proclaimed the date “Agriculture Day” in Tennessee as part of the annual national observance to recognize the important contributions of farmers and forestland owners to the state and nation. 

Ag Day on the Hill activities will include the popular milking contest between Senate and House members, a cattle-weighing contest, farm animals, crops and equipment, and new this year, a silent auction to benefit Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee and Tennessee’s Ag in the Classroom educational program.

Tennessee Pest Control Licensing and Advisory Board to Meet

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 | 08:54 am

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Pest Control Licensing and Advisory Board will meet April 7 at 9:30 a.m. CDT in the conference room at the Porter Building at Ellington Agricultural Center, 436 Hogan Rd, Nashville, Tenn. The agenda includes a review and approval of previous meeting minutes and consideration of individuals seeking licensure in special categories. The board will also receive an update on the use of dogs in pest detection and control. The meeting is open to the public.

Tennessee Viticulture Advisory Board to Meet

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 | 08:35 am

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Viticulture Advisory Board will meet March 24 at 10 a.m. CST at DelMonaco Winery, located at 600 Lance Dr. in Baxter, Tenn. The agenda includes a discussion and review of the 2014 VAB report, which provides an assessment of and plan for growing the state’s grape industry. 

Burn Permits Required Through May 15

Monday, March 10, 2014 | 10:23 am

- Record low number of fires in 2013 -

NASHVILLE – With Spring drawing near, Tennesseans begin to take advantage of the mild weather to do some outdoor work around the home or farm. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry wants to remind citizens that if they are considering doing outdoor burning, a burn permit is required.

In 2013, the Division of Forestry recorded the lowest number of wildland fires since 1927. There were a total of 639 wildfires that burned 9,033 acres (lowest burned acreage was 7,110 in 2003). Increased efforts in fire prevention and suppression contributed to this record low, and landowners getting burn permits to conduct safe debris burning played a major role in that effort.

“We’re hoping to see a continuation of that trend this year and need our citizens’ help,” said state forester Jere Jeter. “Burning leaves and brush that has accumulated around the yard or using fire to clear an old field can be an efficient way to get rid of such vegetation. However, it is very important that citizens practice safe outdoor burning. Obtaining a burn permit in advance of outdoor burning is our way of making the public aware of those recommendations and helping them know when, where, and how it is safe to burn.”

Governor Proclaims March 7 as Arbor Day in Tennessee

Wednesday, March 05, 2014 | 02:20 pm

- Memphis to Host State Arbor Day Celebration -

NASHVILLE – Gov. Bill Haslam has proclaimed March 7 as Arbor Day in Tennessee to recognize the importance of trees to our state. This year’s state celebration will be held in Memphis, which is also celebrating its first year as a designated Tree City USA community.

“Arbor Day is important for reminding us how every community, regardless of size, benefits environmentally and economically from trees,” Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson said. “We’re committed to improving and protecting our forest resources, both in rural and urban areas, and are proud to join the city of Memphis and their tree board to recognize Arbor Day.”

The Arbor Day celebration, hosted by the City of Memphis Tree Board and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, will take place March 7 at 10 a.m. CST at the Memphis Botanic Garden. Memphis earned the honor of hosting this year’s state Arbor Day celebration by being recognized as the state’s Tree Board of the Year in 2013. Proclamations will be presented by state and local officials, along with a presentation of awards and honors and the reading of Shel Silverstein’s “Giving Tree” poem. The program will be followed by a tree planting ceremony and refreshments.

Tennessee Dairy Promotion Committee to Meet March 20

Tuesday, March 04, 2014 | 11:37 am

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Dairy Promotion Committee will meet March 20 at 9 a.m. CST in the Moss Administration Building at Ellington Agricultural Center, 440 Hogan Rd., Nashville, Tenn.

The agenda includes a review of the TDPC financials and the 2013 audit, a program update and planning the 2014 Tennessee advertising program. The meeting is open to the public. 

The Tennessee Dairy Promotion Committee comprises 11 members directly affected by the assessment paid by dairy producers for the promotion of milk and milk products. Membership is in proportion to the method of milk marketed either through agricultural dairy cooperatives or by direct sale.

Restaurant Inspections Help Keep Tennesseans Healthy

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 | 10:33 am
Courtesy:  CDC/Amanda Mills
Courtesy: CDC/Amanda Mills

NASHVILLE – There are approximately 26,000 establishments in Tennessee where food and beverages are served. Inspectors from the Tennessee Department of Health visit each location at least twice a year to make sure items are safe for consumption.

“Protecting the health of all Tennesseans is a core part of our mission,” said TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. “Our regulatory role and partnership with food and beverage providers helps to prevent food-borne illnesses and is one of the invisible services we provide to people across Tennessee every day.”

State Soil Conservation Committee to Meet February 23

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 | 10:16 am

NASHVILLE - The next meeting of the State Soil Conservation Committee will be held Feb.  23 at 5 p.m. at the Nashville Airport Marriott Hotel, 600 Marriott Dr, Nashville, Tenn., in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Tennessee Association of Conservation Districts.  The meeting will take place in Salon C inside the hotel.

The agenda includes remarks from state Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson, and reports from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Tennessee Association of Conservation Districts, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

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

Outstanding Fairs Honored at 92nd Annual Convention

Monday, January 27, 2014 | 03:35 pm

- Fifty-six awards were given to top agricultural fairs -

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson recently presented awards to 56 of the state’s top county, regional and state agricultural fairs. They were recognized with the Merit Award for outstanding achievement during the 2013 fair season. More than 900 people attended the Fairs Merit Awards recognition dinner during the 92nd Annual Convention of the Tennessee Association of Fairs (TAF) held January 16 - 18 in Nashville. 

The top award went to the Overton County Fair in Livingston when it was named the Champion of Champions Fair for 2013. The Overton County Fair was also recognized by Johnson and TAF President Stephen Potter, with the “Award of Merit” based on overall operations, educational value and promotion of local interest in agriculture and community spirit.

“Fairs are a wonderful way for families to bond and create life-long memories while experiencing the best our farms and communities have to offer,” said Johnson. “Our Tennessee fairs have a positive impact on local economies as well as on agriculture and education.”