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Shop for Local Artisan Foods on the Web

Tuesday, November 07, 2006 | 06:00pm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – “This year, stay in the house, off the roads, over the top and under budget for your holiday shopping—just go online to find local, artisan foods at picktnproducts.org.”

“Shopping for a gift that will please can take a lot of fun out of the holidays—and a lot of cash out of your pocket, especially when you tally up the cost of fuel spent driving from store to store and the value of your own time,” says Linda Shelton, marketing specialist with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. “The only thing worse than spending a day shopping when you could have been home by the fire is going to all that effort and still coming home with a gift you don’t really feel good about giving.”

“At the Pick Tennessee Products Web site, visitors can go straight from the homepage to our ‘Taste of Tennessee’ online store and access all sorts of farm-direct, traditional and gourmet foods that are not only easy to find but easy to send, as well,” says Shelton. “All the items listed within the store do ‘e-commerce’—that means you can order and send the foods all at the same time online with your credit card.”

The “Taste of Tennessee” online store is a feature of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Pick Tennessee Products Web site. Pick Tennessee Products is the statewide campaign developed by the department to help consumers find, identify and choose food products from Tennessee.

“When you see an item you want to consider, just ‘click’ on it and you’ll be immediately linked to that product’s own Web site, where you can order, pay for and then send what you buy.”

“These local products can be shipped just about anywhere, and an aged country ham, a jar of sorghum syrup or a block of buttermilk cheese may seem exotic to someone who lives another part of the country,” says the specialist. “Sending a taste of your home and local culture for friends and family to enjoy or share at a holiday gathering is a win-win situation.”

The online store features a surprising variety of gourmet and specialty products in addition to Tennessee’s traditional farm fare, according to Shelton. “Tennessee produces international award-winning caviar, handmade fine chocolates, savory cheesecakes, all sorts of really unique, high quality sauces and jellies.”

“You could even send someone a naturally raised fresh turkey for a holiday meal, or just about any other type of meat, straight from the farm—even a Christmas goose. “

“A new feature of the online store, just in time for the holidays, is a whole section devoted to gift baskets with a Tennessee theme,” says Shelton. “Just ‘click’ on the gift basket picture to go directly to Tennessee gift basket companies. The baskets are a great choice not just for family and friends, but as a token of appreciation to business associates, as well.”

Not all the farmers and other producers on the Pick Tennessee Products Web site conduct e-commerce, says Shelton, but those producers are still listed elsewhere on the main Web site and can be contacted by phone.

“Gifts of food are one-size-fits all,” says Shelton, “and are guaranteed to be a welcome addition to holiday tables.”

“Of course, it’s the thought that counts—but if you choose local artisan foods, the gift will count, too!”

To access the online store, visit www.picktnproducts.org and click on the “Taste of Tennessee” To find other Tennessee farm food products, click on “Food and Beverages” and then click on any food category button.

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