Monday, May 2, 2011

Locavores – Good Eating in East Tennessee!

These days there’s a lot of conversation about focusing on locating and eating foods grown locally… One of the many positives about living in East Tennessee is the plethora of farm stands and local farmers markets.  When you add in the long growing season, we have abundant opportunity to buy and consume ‘local foods’.   

A couple of days ago, Laurie and I took a drive in the country… Our goal was to pick up some nice fresh produce along with a couple of top notch items for the carnivore in us. 

Our first stop was at the Delano Community Farm Market at the northern edge of Polk County Tennessee.  This market is the outlet for a settlement of Old Order Mennonites.  As you can see, we did pretty well… Beautiful radishes, (so much better than the store bought variety!), cucumbers, asparagus, terrific strawberries, 2 types of lettuce, peach preserves and home baked bread.  Nature’s bounty for sure!! 

The Delano Community Farm Market is found at 283 Needle Eye Lane in Delano Tennessee. Needle Eye Lane is located just off of US Highway 411, just north of the Hiwassee River Bridge on Delano Road.  They don’t have a phone, (or electricity), and they certainly don’t have a website.  They do publish a simple brochure that lists the 37 produce items that they grow, showing which items are available in what months.  FYI…Women are asked to dress modestly…no bikini tops or bare shoulders.

To fulfill our carnivore needs, we stopped at Benton’s Smoky Mountain Hams store at 2603 US Highway 411, just a bit north of Madisonville Tennessee.  We picked up 2 lbs of Benton’s smoked bacon, (the best!!), and then we had the butcher cut a couple of rib eye steaks for us.  These prime rib eye steaks only cost $7.99 per pound!  Try equaling that price in a supermarket!!

Benton’s is famous for their hams, bacon and prosciutto.  However, they also sell a variety of beef and pork products, to include great hot dogs, steaks, ground beef and eggs. 

We bake Benton’s bacon on a raised metal racks on a lined cookie sheet in the oven at 400 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.   Baking doesn’t create as much of a mess as frying does and the grease drips off into the pan.  This time we also experimented by peppering the bacon before baking it.  It didn’t have much of an impact on Benton’s distinctive flavor…but it did make for a prettier photo!

Benton’s Smoky Mountain Hams can be found on-line at  Benton’s products are sold to hundreds of the finest restaurants across the USA.  Their phone number is 423-442-5003.  When you visit Benton’s, it wouldn’t be unusual to run into Allan Benton…a true southern gentleman.  


  1. You've given me the fever to go out searching for Farmers Markets around here. Benton's Meat Market is definitely on my "To Do" list!

  2. That's a good haul. The produce looks to be perfect