Alright, here's a quick quiz for you. What is the number one industry in Tennessee?
If you said agriculture you would be right, and now what's number two?
If you said tourism you're right again; if you combine the two, you've satisfied the public's need to know where their food comes from and who grew it.
Phil Ottinger proudly shows off the fruits of his labor, literally, as he tours his family farm.
His family has returned to farm to create Buffalo Trail Orchard. Apples and berries are getting ripe for the picking and you can do just that -- come on out and pick your own. "When they come out and pick it straight off the vine and the tree, they don't have to worry, 'did that come from California or Mexico'. So they're seeing exactly where this food comes from," Ottinger says.
And exactly who grew it and how. It's more than a trend that people want to know where their food comes from; it's fresher, healthier and just plain fun to get out and meet our local farmers. "People are now wanting to know who grew their food. The best way to do that is to come out to a local farm and to meet the farmer who actually grows and produces your food," Pamela Bartholomew with the Tennessee Agriculture Department said.
"We see a lot of young people coming out and my generation is getting involved. So it shows me that my generation is interested and that they are prepared to learn and not just believe that their food comes from the grocery store and that it's just there. It's actually grown by people like us," Phil's daughter Grace Ottinger says.
"Here in Tennessee we have about 83,000 farms and those are family farms across the state from West Tennessee to here in East Tennessee. There are tons of family farmers," Bartholomew adds.
The agriculture department can help you find that local farmer through a web site, Pick Tennessee Products. To link to the site click here.
For more information about Buffalo Trail Orchard go to buffalotrailorchard.com.