Family Fun Every Weekend in July

Monday, July 01, 2013 | 03:22 pm

NASHVILLE – “Summer Saturdays”, hours of fun-filled family programs that highlight farm activities, begins the first weekend in July at the Tennessee Agricultural Museum.

From buggy rides and horse shows to milking goats and sampling foods from the forest, there will be different things for families to see and do each weekend in July.

WHAT:  “Summer Saturdays”

WHERE:  Tennessee Agricultural Museum, located at the Ellington Agricultural Center

WHEN:  Every Saturday in July from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Emerald Ash Borer Found in Hamilton County

Monday, July 01, 2013 | 11:53 am

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

The find in Hamilton County is of particular concern because it is not adjacent to the already quarantined areas in East Tennessee. At least a dozen trees adjacent to the rail lines in Chattanooga and an EAB trap located in a park near the rail hub tested positive for the insect.

“While it’s not possible to say with absolute confidence at this time where the origin of the infestation began in Chattanooga, detection surveys indicates it is located near a rail hub,” Gray Haun, TDA Plant Certification Administrator said. “EAB travels on firewood and unprocessed ash materials, so it’s likely wood products already infested with the insect arrived near that vicinity.”

Tennessee Forestry Commission to Meet July 9

Friday, June 28, 2013 | 02:31 pm

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Forestry Commission will meet July 9 at 4 p.m. CST at the Baymont Inn located at 1151 S Jefferson Avenue in Cookeville, Tenn.

The agenda includes approval of previous meeting minutes, election of new officers, a federal budget update, program updates from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry, and discussions on green building standards, the Greenbelt Property Tax Abatement Program, the federal Farm Bill and Tennessee Forestry Camp.

Sudden Summer Sizzle Helps State’s Berry Crops Make Up for Lost Time

Friday, June 28, 2013 | 11:21 am
Blueberry Pancakes
Blueberry Pancakes

NASHVILLE -- After a long, cool, rain soaked spring, Tennessee’s typical hot and humid summertime weather is here. The sudden shift is helping the state’s crops make up for lost time, which is especially beneficial to the farmers who grow much anticipated local berries, peaches, plums, apples and pears.

Tennessee’s berry crops, formerly in slow motion, have responded to ideal summer conditions by maturing at top speed, according to TDA’s agritourism and farmers market coordinator, Pamela Bartholomew.

“Fruit crops have a shorter season than many popular vegetables, like squashes or corn that can be found for four or five months straight,” Bartholomew said. “Most berry crops have no more than two months. That makes customers much more aware of the time of year they’re available, and when crops ripen really early or lag far behind, the crops and the customers can miss each other.”

Tennessee Dairy Promotion Committee to Meet July 2

Monday, June 17, 2013 | 01:46 pm

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Dairy Promotion Committee will meet by conference call July 2 at 7:00 p.m. CST. The meeting is open to the public and individuals may listen to the proceedings at the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Regulatory Services offices, Nashville. Access to the conference call will be available in the Porter Building conference room at Ellington Agricultural Center, located at 403 Hogan Road. 

The first item of business for the committee will be to determine a necessity for an electronic meeting in compliance with state law. The commission will meet briefly to approve minutes from the previous meeting and approve budgetary expenditures for dairy product promotion advertisements to be purchased prior to the fall season.

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.

Farmers Markets Popular Even in Rural Areas

Wednesday, June 12, 2013 | 10:09 am

NASHVILLE – Farmers markets: they’re not just for cities, anymore.

Tennessee’s farmers markets are popping up everywhere—even in the heart of Tennessee farm lands. You’d think that in areas where many in the community still farm and grow gardens, the farmers market concept wouldn’t get much traction, but in fact, it’s in small towns and rural communities that most new farmers markets are showing up.

There was a time not so long ago that farmers markets were touted mostly as a way to get fresh, local produce into areas where produce wasn’t grown. Farmers trucked the literal fruits of their labors into more densely populated areas to give town dwellers a chance to meet the growers and know as much as possible about where their food was grown. Those who didn’t have ideal options for buying fresh foods within their neighborhoods could get to the farmers market and take home premium produce for the week.

Farmers Markets Popular Even in Rural Areas

Monday, June 10, 2013 | 02:46 pm

Pick Tennessee Products Media Days Planned at Markets Across State

NASHVILLE – Tennessee’s farmers markets are popping up everywhere—even in the heart of Tennessee farm lands. You’d think that in areas where many in the community still farm and grow gardens, the farmers market concept wouldn’t get much traction, but in fact, it’s in small towns and rural communities that most new farmers markets are showing up.

Pick Tennessee Products, the state campaign to help people find local food and other farm direct products, plans to host several media day events at farmers markets in rural communities across Tennessee this summer. Visitors who come out to a farmers market media day can also take home free recipe cards and have the chance to win a basket of artisan and other popular foods from Tennessee. 

Fact is, it’s at least as hard for the grocery stores in smaller towns to get access to fresh, local produce. Many smaller chain stores are locked into contracts with food distributors bringing in produce from far-off locations. Local, independently owned stores sometimes can’t purchase enough produce at one time to get a competitive price for their customers.

Late, Great Blackberry Season Worth the Wait

Monday, June 10, 2013 | 11:03 am

NASHVILLE – If  “blackberry winter” is a chilly spell in April, then the blackberry winter of 2013 lasted all April long. Tennessee’s wet, cool spring certainly gave blackberries plenty of water and time to grow.  

Fortunately, summer’s sun and heat showed up just in time to bring out the sweetness in this year’s crop, and the state’s blackberry growers anticipate a banner year. Some Tennessee berry growers will just have to wait a little longer than others, though, depending on where they live.

West Tennessee crops generally beat East Tennessee to harvest by as much as two to three weeks in any year, so the series of cold snaps that served as spring in East Tennessee this year stalled the crop even further.

Pick TN Products Website Offers Tennessee Equine Trails Virtual Map

Friday, June 07, 2013 | 09:41 am

NASHVILLE -- Nearly two hundred tiny, green, live horses are currently crossing the state of Tennessee.  A map of the state of Tennessee, that is.

The Pick Tennessee Products website,, is now host to a “live” equine resources map that links visitors directly to 196 different equine hot spots from one end of the state to the other.

“This interactive map is taking our Tennessee trail guide to a whole new level,” state equine marketing specialist Wendy Sneed said. “Finding a place to ride is a lot easier now, whether you’re searching around your own county or are visiting another part of the state. Travelers from out of state driving through for shows or other trails can now just click through the map to see if there are facilities near them. That’s a big help if they need to stable somewhere for the night, or would like to do some riding along the way.”

Tennessee Viticulture Advisory Board to Meet

Friday, May 31, 2013 | 03:22 pm

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Viticulture Advisory Board will meet June 11 at 10 a.m. CST at DelMonaco Winery, 600 Lance Dr., Baxter, Tenn. The agenda includes the condition of the 2013 grape and fruit crops, the growth of farm wine sales and local and state zoning issues.

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