Pick Tennessee alliance brings farmers, chefs together

Staff Reports • Updated Jul 6, 2016 at 7:00 PM

NASHVILLE – One wears work-worn boots and talks about inputs, hoop houses, conditions and seasons. 

The other wears clogs and speaks of table numbers, cooler size, versatility and price points. Both are particular, passionate and proud of what they do, and both talk incessantly about the same thing – the food they care about.  

 Farmers who grow it and chefs who prepare it have a lot in common. But there is often a problem of proximity. No one can fall in love with someone they never meet. And in the food and farming worlds, cultural and language barriers may exist. Even the math is tricky. If a farmer has three bushels of green beans, it can be tough to know if that will feed 300 hungry diners.

Enter Pick Tennessee, matchmaker to Tennessee’s food growers and food eaters for 30 years. The Pick Tennessee Farm and Restaurant Alliance recently launched to connect chefs and farmers and increase opportunities for customers who desire local, artisan-quality ingredients when eating out.

The idea was planted last year at workshops held across Tennessee. Area farmers and food service experts met, discussed their needs and challenges, made professional connections and then took educational materials back to kitchens and farms. 

Using the free Pick Tennessee mobile app, consumers can now easily locate nearby restaurants committed to serving locally-sourced foods. The mobile app continues to offer the popular features people already know and enjoy, including listings of local farms, farmers markets, products and activities, along with the mapping capability to get there. 

Lonely farmers and chefs still seeking a local connection can go to picktnproducts.org and click on “About Us” to find an application. Interested eaters should check out the restaurants near them with the Pick Tennessee mobile app and follow Pick Tennessee on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

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