Kentucky, Tennessee producers benefit from local boom

07/03/2013 11:17:00 AM
Andy Nelson

Locally grown continues to be one of the dominant industry trends in Kentucky and Tennessee, grower-shippers and wholesalers say.

Even as the trend continues, so do discussions about exactly what “local” means, said Kenny Pendergrass, vice president of purchasing at Dixie Produce, Inc., Chattanooga, Tenn.

“There are a lot of different ideas,” Pendergrass said.

Dixie Produce has its own rough definition: anything within a 100-mile radius of Chattanooga.

But Pendergrass is more than happy to change that if necessary.

“Some of our customers allow us to go 200 or 300 miles out,” he said. “Some consider south Georgia to be local.”

Whatever the definition, the trend is undeniable.

“We get a lot of demand for local from our customers,” Pendergrass said.

At the beginning of summer, squash, zucchini and blackberries were some of the locally grown items Dixie Produce was sourcing for its retail customers.

By mid-July, the company expects to be into or near the heart of its local season, Pendergrass said.



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