TasteBuds Tour Teaches Chattanooga Farm-to-Table

We were pleased to sponsor the 2nd Annual TasteBuds Farm Tour along with Lupi's and Community Pie. We really think it's important for people, especially kids, to learn more about how and where our food is grown locally. Farm-to-table matters because fresh food tastes better and is better for you.

On some of the farms, the kids got to see cows, goats, rabbits, and bees up close, doing their part to sustain the food supply. Farmers offered up samples of their products and encouraged folks to bring coolers so they could take home artisanal honey, organic produce and meat, ornamental wildflowers, herbs, fruits, and more. There was something for everyone, from vegetarians to wine connoisseurs. Some picked a bouquet of flowers and sampled chestnuts.

The farms taking part were Appalachian Bee in Ocoee, Brady's Farm Direct Meat in Dayton, CoLyCo Farm in Chickamauga, Crabtree Farms in Chattanooga, Dazi Acres in Pikeville, Erma's Bees in Chattanooga, Farms of Avalon Rabbitry in Georgetown, Gifford Farms in Dunlap, The Healthy Kitchen in Dunlap, Lamon Farm in Cleveland, Lavender 'N' Rust Herb Farm in Rock Springs, Ga., Merryfield's Farm in Whitwell, Morris Vineyard and Winery in Charleston, Tenn., The Organic Man in Menlo, Ga., Pickett's Trout Ranch in Whitwell, Red Apple Barn in Ellijay, Ga., Red Clay Farm in Cleveland, Tant Hill Farm in LaFayette, Ga., Wheeler's Orchard & Vineyard in Dunlap, and Wildwood Harvest in Wildwood, Ga.

Several of the farmers chatted about sustainable growing methods and the challenges of keeping their family farms profitable within our country's ag system. They educated folks about soil management, pollination, and the importance of local growers to restaurants, food banks, grocery stores, corporate cafeterias, and school lunchrooms. Without their hard work, we'd be in a real pickle... without pickles!

What you find on these farms varies by the season as they work year-round to grow what we eat. Now that it's officially fall, they're working on their kale, lettuce, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, cabbage, carrots, broccoli, turnip greens, field peas, and more. Several of the farms work together to make it happen.

People on the tour were surprised to learn just how many varieties of their favorite items are produced on farms, as well as the techniques farmers use to efficiently grow and collect different products so they can affordably end up in the grocery store, at the farmer's market or on your plate here at Public House.

The TasteBuds in the name of the farm tour refers to the local food guide that's published twice a year and is considered the definitive guide to eating local in Chattanooga. It is available here at Public House and highlights the restaurants, food artisans, and farmers markets that source local ingredients. It's a quick reference for downtown eaters. Download a PDF version at http://growchattanooga.org/docs/Tastebuds_FALL2014_FINAL_lowres.pdf

We hope everyone who took the tour enjoyed it and learned something about local farms and the farm-to-table philosophy that Public House brings to Chattanooga dining.

For more information, visit http://growchattanooga.org/foodguide