Welcome to the 2018 Local Table Annual Resource Guide!
A s we prepare to go to the printers, spring has finally arrived! The world may seem a bit chaotic at the moment, but the arrival of spring turns the world into a shimmering, shiny diamond. Bulbs have come back to life, gardens are getting planted, spring sounds of frogs, crickets and birds bring the outdoors alive. The adrenaline rush is a physical thing—you can see it in your fellow world travelers and the animals. Everyone feels better with some sunshine on their shoulders.
Local Table is all about connecting you to the farming and artisan producer world around you in Middle Tennessee. It shouldn’t be such a big deal to have access to fresh and locally grown produce and meats, but it seems like it’s become a luxury. And, it shouldn’t be. We should all have equal access to fresh and healthy food.
Local Table tries to be part of the solution to make it easier for you to have access to the best in our local food supply. It may seem obvious that buying local supports and strengthens our local community in so many ways. It takes an extra effort to support local—you either make your local farmers’ market a part of your weekly routine, join a CSA, or eat at restaurants who support local producers. We applaud you for taking the extra step and being a part of Middle Tennessee’s food shed.
This year’s issue features women chefs going the extra mile, farm vacations, hometown diners worth the drive, a look at some of our new young farmers, pantry staples, preserving tomatoes and so much more!
Stay healthy and eat local!
Cover illustrator Amanda Brannon grew up in rural north Alabama, on a mountaintop 40-acre homestead. When she wasn’t working at her art table, she spent much of her time in nature. A graduate of the Art Institute of Atlanta, Amanda spent the first part of her career working in the corporate world of advertising and design in Atlanta, and then in Alaska. By 2008, after surviving breast cancer, she realized that life is too short to not be doing what she really loves to do, which is expressing her creativity in a personal way. So she began focusing her efforts on creating and sharing her artwork through galleries and national product lines. She hopes viewers will enjoy her art with a renewed sense of curiosity and joy. She’s also the author of one of Alaska’s bestselling cookbooks, Every Which Way with Rhubarb, a 168-page rhubarb cookbook.
After living in Alaska for more than 20 years, she and her husband moved back to the South to return to their roots and be closer to family. “We love the natural beauty of Tennessee,” says Amanda. “The birds inspire me here. There are a greater variety of birds, both migratory and non-migratory, than in Alaska. And I love that I get to admire the sandhill cranes year-round. While I miss some of the birds I saw regularly in Alaska, such as the Steller’s jays and the Pacific Northwest ravens, I’m really enjoying getting to know the Tennessee birds and the ebb and flow of their activity—the indigo buntings, warblers, finches, woodpeckers, wild turkeys and even the non-native European starlings. In fact, I am rehabilitating a baby starling now!
“I didn’t realize I was a ‘bird artist’ until this one time I was doing a show in Anchorage, Alaska. A Native Alaskan elder woman walked into my booth and took a look around. She said wryly, in her monotone accent, ‘You must like birds.’ ‘You know, you’re right. I do like birds!’ We both had a good laugh. Birds were everywhere in my artwork and I hadn’t really considered it. That was a defining moment for me as an artist.”