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Farms and Markets Fill Up With Fresh, Local Fare - Now What?

Friday, May 16, 2014 | 05:25am

NASHVILLE - Tennessee’s growing season is here. It starts with hanging pots of flowers, baskets of turnip greens and flats of tomato plants, and it ends with bushels of sweet potatoes, apples and mountains of pumpkins. Soon, farms and farmers markets across the state will be filled with fresh, beautiful fruits and vegetables. All you have to do is go and get it—but once you have it, then what? 

The idea of buying local is popular, but many shoppers have never thought beyond pounds and ounces when purchasing produce. Most farm-direct fresh products are still presented the way they were a hundred years ago, measured in amounts like bushels and pecks, which no longer have meaning for many consumers. Further, a bushel of apples is heavier than a bushel of green beans, which weighs less than a bushel of potatoes, and so forth.

To help shoppers use farm-direct produce, a farm measures conversion chart is available online at www.picktnproducts.org. From the home page, choose “Farmers Markets” to find links to the farm measures conversion chart plus tips for choosing produce and a Tennessee growing seasons chart. The measures chart goes all the way from bushels down to a “pinch,” starting with an approximate weight for a bushel of a particular fruit or vegetable.

Using the farm-to-kitchen measures chart can help customers plan how much of an item to purchase, as well as what kitchen supplies need to be waiting at home, for recipes and food preservation techniques like canning, freezing and drying.

Pick Tennessee Products helps consumers identify and choose farm-direct, artisan and other locally made foods. The site features lists of farms, farmers markets, seasonal recipes, and seasonal on-farm activities. A new Pick Tennessee mobile app is also available which provides a link back to the website’s statewide directories. The free app is downloadable from both Apple’s App Store and from Google Play for Android devices. The mobile app allows users to search by item, like “tomatoes,” by region of the state, or season. The app then provides directions to the chosen location through direct GPS mapping.

Follow Pick Tennessee Products on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 

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