KNOXVILLE (WATE) - There's been a big push over the last year to buy local and eat farm-to-table foods. But did you know Tennessee has been supporting and promoting this practice for a quarter century?
"It started as a supermarket campaign to promote grocery store products made in Tennessee," Algood said, "and as the worldwide web came into being, it expanded into all things agriculture."
The Dandridge Farmers Market is just one of many things promoted on the Pick Tennessee website.
Algood says stopping in Dandridge just makes sense.
"This is one of the top 10 farmers markets in the state," she said. "We wanted to come and help promote those who are really working to promote local farmers."
The downtown market was bustling the night 6 News visited. We found happy small business owners reaping the benefits from the free program from the state.
"Oh, it has been tremendously important," said farmer Jennifer Gray-Ernest. "They do such a good job advertising for us farmers, getting the word out, just being there and having a backbone of support because when you are on the farm, you don't have a lot of time to merchandise. So that's helped us out a lot through advertising and support."
Gray-Ernest is a fourth generation farmer. Her family has had Gray Farms for more than 65 years. They've sold at the farmer's market for the past two-and-a-half years.
"It is really important for us to be part of community as well as provide a fresh local product to people. Everybody needs fresh produce," Gray-Ernest said.
Other area vendors also exemplify the diversity of the Pick Tennessee Products program. It's not just about fruits and veggies. The website promotes more than 1,500 products.
Kelly Allen Thomas, of Kelly's Pasta, says the idea helps them all achieve a common goal.
"We are trying to keep it local, keep transportation down, keep it green, all of those wonderful things we keep hearing about all the time and it's all right here. And I think it's fabulous," Thomas said.
The owners of Savvy Sweets, who specialize in cupcake pops, agree. They say the Dandridge market and its exposure on the state's website is keeping them very busy.
"It builds a great client base for us in local area," said co-owner Amber Campbell.
Those behind Pick Tennessee Products say this push won't go away anytime soon.
"We only see this local movement expanding," Algood said, "It is not waning in the least, and we see that this will continue to grow now that we have tickled the taste buds with the best."