You probably know Tammy Puryear from the Lookout Mountain Club. She’s worked as its catering director since 2003, making sure every wedding, family reunion, anniversary, rehearsal dinner and important gathering goes off without a hitch. Under her experienced and watchful eye, the food is always delicious, the tables are set just so and the event is sure to be fun, flawless and fabulous.
But did you know she’s a farmer as well? She lives on four acres, and one of them is devoted to growing things like kale, tomatoes, cucumbers, beets and chard. She sells her organic produce to a few upscale restaurants, but also sells it to folks who want the benefit of organic, fresh-picked, minutes-from-the-farm produce but don’t have the wherewithal to grow it themselves.
Truly, I’ve never seen vegetables of the quality Tammy grows in any grocery store – no matter how upscale. Take her kale for example. Kale is not the kind of food I like to pop in my mouth. I have to season it with olive oil and vinegar and honey and chili powder and more honey and add just a tad more of all of the aforementioned. But when Tammy held the bag of kale out for me to see, I actually grabbed a leaf of the thick green ruffled vegetable and yes, I popped it in my mouth. And I didn’t spit it out.
Later, I made a big kale salad with cranberries and almonds and blue cheese and tossed it with a little olive oil, red wine vinegar and honey. But truthfully, it didn’t need as much as I used.
I’ll get cucumbers, beets and baby tomatoes this week from Tammy, and hope I can get whatever she’s picking fresh from the field the week after that. She clearly knows what she’s doing, and she’s committed to farming organically. She buys her seed from a small store in McMinnville that only sells organic seed. And she learned everything she needs to know from her father, UC Puryer, who farms Sequatchie Valley in a place called Coppinger Cove. Proud as punch of her efforts and success, he is quick to share his farming tips with her.
Tammy also is a beekeeper, and currently has four hives. And, yes, she is willing to sell the honey. If you’d like to treat yourself to some fresh veggies that are truly tended with love and care, call Tammy at (423) 432-0214.