Summer Heat Jumpstarts Tennessee’s Growing Season

Thursday, June 22, 2017 | 3:34pm

NASHVILLE-- Tennessee’s wet and muddy spring quickly gave way to a hot and sunny summer. For the state’s farmers and for the customers who wait anxiously for seasonal you-pick farms and farmers markets to open, the race is on to fill buckets, market booths, pantries and home freezers with local produce.

Fruits in particular have relatively brief growing seasons, and the recent turn in the weather caused blueberry and blackberry crops to ripen rapidly. Early peaches are available at some Tennessee orchards. Warm temperatures and sunshine are necessary for fruits to develop sweetness and finish maturation, so farm and farmers market visitors are experiencing an unexpected abundance of berries. A regular sprinkling of pop-up storms kept plants plump, even in the sweltering heat.

Depending on varieties and location, blueberry harvests stretch from June through most of the month of August. Peach season extends from mid-June through August and blackberry harvest will be in full swing from the latter part of June through July.

Garden produce has also picked up speed, and early summer favorites like summer squash, zucchinis, green beans and cucumbers have abruptly hit farmers markets with color and variety.

To make the most of this summer sweetness, consumers can use the Pick Tennessee mobile app, or visit the Pick Tennessee website at www.PickTnProducts.org to find farms and markets nearby. 

Pick Tennessee Products is the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s program to connect farmers to consumers, listing directories of farms, farmers markets and seasonal recipes. To learn more about Tennessee’s farm related activities, artisan and farm direct products, follow Pick Tennessee on social media.