Here's a Book to Keep in Your Glove Compartment: Farm Fresh Tennessee

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Nicki Wood wrote a really nice review last year of Paul and Angela Knipple's first book, The World in a Skillet. After sharing the stories of first-generation immigrants from across the South who have contributed their respective culinary heritages to our restaurant tables, the Knipples hit the road again to research their latest effort, Farm Fresh Tennessee.

When they saw a copy of Farm Fresh North Carolina, the Memphians knew that our state was ripe (heh) for the same sort of survey of local farmers markets, U-Picks, wineries, distilleries and food festivals. The result is a very useful 236-page guide to agricultural tourism in the Volunteer State. The book is divided into the three Grand Divisions of Tennessee: West, Middle and East. (Middle School Trivia: those three creatively named regions are represented by the three stars on the state flag. And the blue stripe is rumored to stand for the Mississippi River, but it's on the wrong end, so who knows?)

Within each division, the Knipples did a lot of Internet research and then traveled to document scores of farms, farm stands and markets, Christmas tree farms, U-Pick markets, country stores and alcohol manufacturers. They also share a calendar of major special events and festivals and a few recipes featuring regional chefs who emphasize farm-to-table concepts.

Some surprising finds that they discovered from the road include cranberry bogs in Northeast Tennessee and the freshwater pearl museum whose billboard you pass crossing the Tennessee River on the way to Memphis. The authors also include interesting sidebars about particular farms and products as well as profiles of some of the personalities who love to share stories of their agricultural pursuits.

Contact info is included for each attraction, including website, Twitter and Facebook addresses where available. So when you plan your next road trip, give yourself a little extra time to add a foodie component to your travels and consider carrying a copy of Farm Fresh Tennessee along with you as a guide.

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