A farmtastic tour

Last week Nashville Farmers’ Market staff members took advantage of an opportunity to tour Georgia and Florida farms and agritourist operations. The trek, dubbed the Fresh Air and Sunshine Bus Tour, was organized by the Tennessee Agritourism Association with help from a United States Department of Agriculture grant. Some 50 farmers from Tennessee and other states met for this chance to network and see new ideas in action.

Our group visited orchards, berry farms, a U-pick sunflower operation, the Florida Strawberry Festival, a wedding barn, and a Christmas tree farm. We even took the “Behind the Seeds” tour at Epcot’s research facility. Along the way we listened to farmers talk about their successes and failures, the finer points of their retail operations, publicity, crowd control, and how they deal with weather, pests and diseases. But most of all they conveyed a passion for cultivating farm-fresh produce and coming up with innovative ways to share a little slice of farm life with the rest of us.

As you visit the Market over the next few months, keep your eyes open for a few improvements inspired by what we saw and heard.

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David Gonnerman