The Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s “Pick Tennessee” mobile app now offers followers an easy way to feed their love of local foods. Users can search for restaurants committed to serving ingredients sourced from the area, and access GPS mapping to the establishments.
This latest mobile app option is a result of the new Pick Tennessee Farm and Restaurant Alliance. Buyers for restaurants often find it difficult to increase local food options on menus. The Farm and Restaurant Alliance is connecting chefs with farmers, increasing choices for customers who want to know that what went into their meal came from nearby. Meeting that demand will also build farm incomes and support the state’s flourishing local foods movement.
Tennessee chefs and restauranteurs who pioneered the state’s prominence in authentic regional cuisine are enthusiastic proponents. Chef Tandy Wilson of Nashville’s City House used produce from one of his favorite Middle Tennessee suppliers, Delvin Farms, to cook for about 150 guests at a Pick Tennessee farm-to-table in dinner in 2014. Wilson was recently named the 2016 James Beard Best Chef in the Southeast. National publication Travel + Leisure Magazine has recognized 212 Market Restaurant in Chattanooga as the best farm-to-table restaurant in Tennessee for 2016. The restaurant’s chef, Susan Moses, was on the advisory board to form the alliance.
During development of the alliance, farmer-to-chef workshops were held in several cities across the state. Area farmers and food service professionals came together to meet, hear about each sector’s issues and challenges, and learn to do successful business together. Chefs and farmers who participated took educational materials and workbooks back to kitchens and farms.
Farmers and chefs can go to www.PickTnProducts.org and click on “About Us” to apply for membership in the alliance. For a list of member restaurants, download the Pick Tennessee mobile app or visit www.PickTnProducts.org.