Bountiful Summertime!

What a year it has been so far! There was so much happening around me that I even contemplated not planting my veggie garden this year. It just seemed like a project to big for me to handle. In thinking about what I should do, I realized gardening was exactly what I needed. The miracle of seeds sprouting and eventually bearing beans or squash or an incredible tomato was too much to let go. I knew I would regret a decision not to plant. So, at this very moment there are trays of tomato plants, peppers and a box full of seeds waiting to get to the garden!

Not everyone has the choice to grow a garden and luckily we are blessed in Middle Tennessee with many dedicated and passionate farmers to supply us with the freshest and healthiest food possible. By the time this issue hits the streets, all of the neighborhood farmersâ€TM markets will be in full swing and the bounty of our area will be quite visible. It truly is amazing how quickly we can go from a few choices of greens and brassicas to an overload of colors, textures and tastes.

This issue we feature farmer Tana Comer of Eatonâ€TMs Creek Organics; Tana is living a life she has created for herself and now teaches others the same path. These are the people we need to make us a truly sustainable food community—people who are teaching, mentoring and planning for the future. Our local hero this time around is Farm One, a group dedicated to teaching and educating kids about food and farming.

Our local food community has blossomed over the past 10 years—and not only with a growing number of farmers and producers, but with artisan food producers, too. More and more of our regionâ€TMs eateries are sourcing locally to give customers healthy meals with the freshest ingredients possible. Itâ€TMs not easy; itâ€TMs a commitment. This summer we look at some of our local food trucks that are walking the walk.

Then thereâ€TMs the passion of people like restaurateur Big Al and salsa maker Ric Ousley. We are so lucky to have these folks amongst us. Tennessee is the â€~itâ€TM travel destination at the moment because of folks like them—unique individuals doing their own thing!

We also take another look at some upcoming unique local shopping and day-trip destinations in our Makerâ€TMs Mart special—the amount and quality of folks creating, crafting, baking and growing is truly fabulous. Thereâ€TMs no reason to head to the mall when you can spend the day in a beautiful rural setting surrounded by handmade, up-cycled and vintage goods, homemade food and live music!

Middle Tennesseans have definitely created a bounty for ourselves. Our local food scene continues to thrive and expand and I canâ€TMt wait to see what the next seeds will bring to our community.

Bountiful blessings,