The number of local farm-to-table and agritourism businesses is growing in Maury County.
Local honey just tastes sweeter, and locally produced meats, fruits, vegetables, and even wine are fresher and more flavorful than products that spend days on trucks being transported from one location to another. That’s the conclusion of many people in Maury County, who are enthusiastically supporting the growing number of local farm-to-table and agritourism businesses.
Thanks to local businesses like Amber Falls Winery & Cellars, Tallgrass Meat Co., Farmstead Market and a list of others, you don’t have to live on a farm to enjoy the farm-fresh goods produced in the county.
At Amber Falls, local residents and tourists alike can enjoy a glass of wine, spend the night in a cozy cottage, take a walk along a vineyard with 5,000 vines or listen to an outdoor concert. “Agritourism has grown in a time when other businesses have suffered.
Agritourism has become a real factor in the economy of Tennessee,” says Tim Zaunbrecher, who owns the winery with his wife, Judy.
Amber Falls grows three varieties of red grapes and two white, from which it produces six different wines sold in stores throughout the Southeast.
Tastings are offered at the winery, where hundreds and even thousands of guests show up for special events, including the Music on the Ridge concert series, Cajunfest and Gumbo Sunday. A rental cottage is available for overnight guests.
Straight From the Farm
“It’s not about us. It’s about supporting them and having a place for the community to buy products that go straight from farm to table,” says Jennifer Burns, whose brother, James Evans, owns the market.
The farm-to-table movement supports local jobs and gives small producers an opportunity to create value from the land. Everyone purchasing their products benefits, too.
“You know where your products are coming from. They are being sustainable in how they treat their animals and not using fertilizers that could hurt the environment,” Burns says. “The products may not be stamped organic, but those farmers are using natural methods.”
Athena’s Harvest, a small, familyrun farm in the Fly community, offers subscriptions to its CSA – Community Supported Agriculture program. Participating in their CSA gives you a share of everything grown on the farm.
Former Peace Corps volunteers Jesse and Athena Fleisher grow their produce using organic best practices. They also sell their produce at weekly farmers markets and to restaurants via the Nashville Grown food hub.
Southern Ridge Farm has its own take on a CSA with its meat-share program. Customers can choose their own cuts of beef, pork and chicken raised naturally on the 225-acre farm.
Or how about boat-to-fork? The farm offers sustainably caught wild Alaskan salmon, rainbow trout and Alabama Gulf shrimp. You can also find everything at the farm store or enjoy dinner and drinks at the restaurant at this multigenerational family farm.
Cinnamon Rolls & Bacon
If you’ve ever wondered what cinnamon rolls and bacon would taste like together, you should pay a visit to Tallgrass Meat Co. in Columbia, as one of their seasonal products is cinnamon roll-flavored bacon. This butchery and marketplace also offers treats like old world-style pepperoni, over 20 flavors of brats, and locally sourced and conventional meats.
You’ll also find honey, greens and dairy items from local producers, according to Casey Weber, who owns and operates the business with head butcher Norman Bockover as well as Patrick Robertson, Elisabeth Jones and Bonnie Smith.
“Our vision is to be a farmers market. We’re not there yet but are on the way,” Weber says.
He holds a Ph.D. and worked for a large corporation as a microbiologist. Running Tallgrass Meat is a new chapter in his career, but it brings Weber back to his roots. His family operated a small meat shop in Kansas. Bockover also brings years of experience in meat crafting.
“You find joy in what you do,” Weber says. “The dream for us is to do what we want to do.”