Discover Grainger County 2019

Page 1

An artistic gem nestled in “God’s Country” w Ken Coffey

Grainger County's Historian

w Heart 2 Hand

Feeding families and children in Grainger County

Sweet & Sassy Sisters Boutique w Jake Sawyer w

A Young Entrepreneur of Grainger County


Cameron Farms

receive Wayne Scott Memorial Grower of the Year Award

27th Annual Grainger County Tomato Festival


Joppa Mountain Pottery


Grainger County Tennessee

VOLUME 5 — 2019

2 Discover Grainger County • 2019

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Discover Grainger County is published by Hawkins County Publishers, Inc. P.O. Box 100 | Rogersville, TN 37857 423-272-7422


Tommy Campbell Editor & Publisher


Discover Grainger County Contributor

Rita Dykes Discover Grainger County Contributor

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Freda Turbyfill Creative Services/Production Advertising rates and information available upon request. Story suggestions, inquiries should be made to


Grainger County Tennessee


8 Heart 2 Hand 14 w Ken Coffey

Grainger County's Historian


Feeding families and children in Grainger County

20 Pottery

w Joppa Mountain

An artistic gem nestled in “God’s Country”

32 Sisters Boutique Jake Sawyer 38 Cameron Farms 44 w Sweet & Sassy


A Young Entrepreneur of Grainger County


receive Wayne Scott Memorial Grower of the Year Award

46 Tomato Festival

w Grainger County

Now in it 27th Year!

Additional copies of Discover Grainger County 2019 may be picked up at the Review office and are available at no cost. We will gladly mail at a cost of $4 per copy to cover postage and handling. Copyright: 2019, Discover Grainger County 2019, Hawkins County Publishers, Inc. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission of the newspaper’s management. Reproduction of advertising and design work is strictly prohibited due to the use of licensed art services and agency agreements.

on the cover

McDonald Crosby of Joppa Mountain Pottery at the potter’s wheel. Photo courtesy of Joppa Mountain Pottery.



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Rutledge Presbyterian Church Photo by Randy Ball

8 Discover Grainger County • 2019

Ken Coffey: Grainger County’s Historian

Discover Grainger County • 2019 9

“It’s not about Grainger County, not about Tennessee, but how this area shaped the country.” — Ken Coffey


en Coffey is a man of many talents. He has used these talents to produce an amazing list of accomplishments that benefit all of Grainger County.

Ken was born in into a large Grainger family, having two brothers and five sisters, and has spent his entire life here. He taught at Bean Station Elementary School for 36 years, teaching history and science. He also coached football and basketball. Over the years, he served on the board in naming Veterans Overlook atop Clinch Mountain, developed the Grainger Co. Sports Hall-of-Fame, Grainger Co. Education Archives, and the Grainger Co. History Museum. He has served on the Knox Heritage Board, Grainger Co. Chamber of Commerce and on the board of Lakeway Area Civil War Preservation Trust. Recently he and former Mayor Terry Wolfe established a history museum in Bean Station. He regularly contributes historical articles to Grainger Today, and has contributed to past issues of The Rogersville Review’s annual magazine, “Discover Grainger County”. Ken has written two books on Grainger Co. history and contributed to the award winning PBS film “The Valley of Independence”. Just like the county that he proudly calls home, Ken Coffey himself has a rich history.

Teaching Career

Ken became interested in teaching while coaching little league football and basketball. “I just enjoyed working with young people,” he said.

He completed his education at Hiwassee College, ETSU and Union College. Ken began teaching at Bean Station Elementary School in 1968-69. He taught science and history, and coached football and basketball. He was a beloved teacher at the school for 36 years. Ken’s interest in local history came late in his teaching career. He shared a story about going fishing with some friends, one who had brought his father along. Ken said the older man, “told us how many famous people from history had walked the path we were taking to the river”. Ken remembers the incident, but wasn’t too impressed with reference to the area’s history. “I was more interested in catching crappie than history,” he smiled.

The Defining Moment

Ken’s interest in history changed because of one project he became involved with. “A group of us were going to Greeneville to play golf, passing through Mosheim we noticed an American flag on a hill,” he said. “One of the guys said wouldn’t it be great to put a flag atop Clinch Mountain?” This was the beginning of the project to create the Veterans Overlook. They approached the state about placing a historic marker at the overlook. “The people with the state said they were about five years behind, so we asked if we could fund the marker and place it ourselves,” he said. “They said we could, but to be careful and document what we put on the marker.” Seawall Studio, in Ohio, made most of the historic markers in the United States. When the group approached them to make the marker they designed for the Veterans Overlook, the company representative told them they had never made a marker with so many famous names. Ken said he then realized, “Grainger County has a very special history ... we’ve got something here.” He knew then that the history of Grainger County would get a lot of attention if someone put it out there.

Writing Career

After the Veterans Overlook marker project, Ken began to explore the history of Grainger County. He began gathering information and putting together stories of about the early days of the county and Civil War history of the area.

Continued on page 10

10 Discover Grainger County • 2019

Ken Coffey and Jim Claborn From page 9

He approached Jim Zachary, who at Grainger Today at that time, about publishing a few of his history stories. They were an instant hit over the years more than 250 of Ken’s stories have been published. Ken became more involved as the local historian after his retirement from teaching. “It takes a lot of time to research and write the history stories,” he said. There wasn’t much of Grainger County’s history in print before Ken came along. Most of what was available were genealogies. With help from Grainger Today’s Robert Turner and Tracy Wolfe, Ken organized his newspaper articles into his first book, “The Wilderness Road, The First Family and Other Stories That need to be Told”, in 2013. A second book, “Grainger Co. History … Stories That Need to be Told”, followed in 2018. A special edition of Ken’s Civil War material was published by Grainger Today, “Civil War Heritage, East Tennessee Campaign”. It would win a special award from the East Tennessee History Museum. Ken credits his friend Jim Claborn with encouraging him to pursue writing his books on Grainger Co. history.

Historical Film

In 2011, Ken had a part in the Grainger Co. Historic Society’s film, “Valley of Independence, A History of Grainger Co., Tennessee”. Linda Sommers raised the funds for the film, which won a prestigious Telly Award. This award recognizes outstanding local, regional and cable TV video and film productions.

Other Interests

Ken spends a lot of his time on history, but manages to enjoy some other pursuits. In addition to fishing and golf, one hobby he has enjoyed

Continued on page 11

East Tennessee Historical Society honors Grainger County initiatives KNOXVILLE – The East Tennessee Historical Society’s annual Awards of Excellence were presented at the organization’s Annual Meeting on May 14, 2019, at the Foundry on the World’s Fair Site in Knoxville. Since 1982, the Society has annually recognized individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the preservation, promotion, programming, and interpretation of the region’s history. Two Grainger County initiatives were among the 44 awards presented. • The Grainger County Historic Society was awarded a Community History Award for their “Haints and History Night.” Now in its third year, “Haints and History Night” continues to draw large crowds for entertaining and informative walking tours. The event includes visits to such locations as the Olde Jail, the Nance House, and a replica of Andrew Johnson’s tailor shop. Funds raised help purchase supplemental history textbooks for Grainger County students. • Ken Coffey was the recipient of an Award of Distinction for his book Grainger County History — Stories That Need to Be Told, which details the history of Grainger County from the time of the Cumberland Gap and the Wilderness Road to today. Presented in short snippets, the stories are easily accessible to all readers.

About the East Tennessee Historical Society

Established in 1834, the East Tennessee Historical Society has 2,000 members across the United States. The Society sponsors the Museum of East Tennessee History, From page 10

is creating collages, mostly for sports figures he admires. He has gotten to meet many sports heroes and present them with the collages he created. A passionate Cincinnati Reds fan, he has met Johnny Bench (his favorite player) and Pete Rose. Among others who have Ken’s collages are Robin Yount, John Ward, Ray Mears, Archie and Peyton Manning, Heath Shuler and Grainger Co. native Phil Garner. Ken has a collection of photos made with players when he gave them their collages.

A Passion for History

Ken has had a long career as a teacher and coach, and his career as a revered historian shows no signs of slowing down, and said he loves to share stories of Grainger County. His favorite Civil War story is about Union General O.M. Poe’s involvement in the battle of Bean Station.

Discover Grainger County • 2019 11

Ken Coffey is shown with his award which was presented by Cherel Henderson, Director of the East Tennessee Historical Society.

East Tennessee National History Day, and the family heritage programs “First Families of Tennessee” and “Civil War Families of Tennessee.” Its active publications program includes the biannual genealogy magazine Tennessee Ancestors; the annual Journal of East Tennessee History; and Newsline, as well as other books pertaining to the region’s history. For more information on ETHS, exhibitions, or programs, call 865-215-8824 or visit the website at www. “In a two or three hour period, events happened in Grainger County that had a major effect in the war,” he said. His favorite non-Civil War history subjects are The Wilderness Road, Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett. Although he is the most prominent authority on Grainger County history, his love of sharing the history is still evident. Of America’s first 19 presidents, he related a dozen had direct ties to this area. “The historic crossroads at Bean Station may be the only spot in the country where Boone and Crockett both spent some time,” he said. “It’s not about Grainger County, not about Tennessee, but how this area shaped the country.” By Randy Ball

12 Discover Grainger County • 2019

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HEART 2 HAND Feeding families and children in Grainger County


Discover Grainger County • 2019 15 Food boxes waiting to be distributed.


ristin Blankenship began her amazing adventure nearly a decade ago to fulfill her dream of giving back to the community where she was raised and continues to call home. She contacted many people in the area to see what the greatest need was for their community. When she spoke to Tim Collins, the principal of Rutledge Elementary and the pastor at Adriel Baptist Church, he told her that the greatest need that he had seen was to feed children in the summer months. He said that some children just didn’t really have anything to eat when school wasn’t in session, and as a result, several children would come to Bible School just to eat. Kristin, her mother Sherry, and sister-in-law Amy founded the non-profit organization, Heart 2 Hand in 2010. Kristin’s father Michael, brother Jordan, and husband Chris have been an instrumental part of making the amazing organization complete its mission to ensure that every child in Grainger County has food when school is not in session. “Our family is extremely involved in Heart 2 Hand, and they are always willing to lend a hand or a dollar to help us reach our goal,” Kristin said. In the beginning, the team provided needed food for the children that attended Rutledge Elementary School. However, every following year they have provided food to all of the children in Grainger County involved in the Second Harvest Food Bank’s backpack program. Today, Heart 2 Hand provides food to more than 100 families and 300 children. Second Harvest Food Bank provides the children with a backpack of food on the weekends during the school

Today, Heart 2 Hand provides food to more than 100 families and 300 children. year, so Heart 2 Hand steps in and picks up during the other times they are out of school. Along with the summer program, Heart 2 Hand provides enough food for three meals each day during Christmas break. If schools are closed for weather conditions, they also make themselves available to provide families with food. All the families have to do is contact them, and they will receive meals. Anytime any of these folks need food throughout the year, Heart 2 Hands is there to help. The organization relies on the community for donations and their participation in fundraisers. In autumn, they place food donation boxes at local businesses and ask members of the community to drop off non-perishable food. They have various fund-raisers throughout the year, such as yard sales, raffles, and silent auctions. This year they will be conducting a silent auction on July 27th at the Tomato Festival and on their Facebook page for folks that don’t make it to the festival. Heart 2 Hand founders want to thank the Grainger County Cattlemen’s Association for donating the past two years to the winter break food program. Many families Continued on page 17

16 Discover Grainger County • 2019

Above, left to right are Anthony Carver, Amy Blankenship, Kristin Blankenship and James Acuff, president of the Grainger Co Cattlemen’s Association.

Pictured at left, top row, Drew Howerton, Chris Howerton; second row from top, Mike Moyers, Mike Blankenship; third row from top, Amy Blankenship, Sherry Blankenship’ front row, Ali Howerton, Resha Moyers, and Kristin Blankenship.

Ali Howerton unloading the truck in preparation for last year’s Christmas season.

Discover Grainger County • 2019 17

From page 15

were given 2lbs of meat due to the association’s generous donations. They also want to thank all of the businesses that let them leave donation boxes, donate to their silent auctions, and provide any type of support. Kristin and Amy want to express a heartfelt “thank you” to volunteers and to all who donate to this important cause. Heart 2 Hand is always looking for volunteers. If you would like to join their great team, call Kristin at 865.712.4606 or Amy at 606-302-0759. Donations may be mailed to 6152 Lakeshore Drive, Bean Station, TN 37708, or you can call Kristin or Amy to make arrangements for pickup. Follow their Facebook page for fundraisers and ways you can help the families and children of Grainger County. By Rita Dykes

Discover Grainger County Contributor

In the Fall Food donation boxes are set up at the following locations: IN BEAN STATION: Holt’s IGA Lakeshore BP Dena’s Little Shop of Style IN RUTLEDGE: Tangles Hair Salon Cox & Wright Doyle’s Auto Parts

IN BLAINE: Okie Pharmacy IN MORRISTOWN: Redbuds Deli Subway (in Wal-Mart on the east end of town)

Ali and Drew Howerton Fundraising at the 2018 Grainger County Tomato Festival.

Visit the Heart 2 Hand tent at the 2019 Grainger County Tomato Festival. This year they will be conducting a silent auction on July 27th at the festival and on their Facebook page for folks that don’t make it to the festival.


@Heart 2 Hand

18 Discover Grainger County • 2019

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20 Discover Grainger County • 2019

Photos courtesy Joppa Mountain Pottery

ntain Pottery

Discover Grainger County • 2019 21

22 Discover Grainger County • 2019


Discover Grainger County • 2019 23

An artistic gem nestled in “God’s Country” In 1995, McDonald and Ann Crosby left Macon, GA and headed to the Joppa community in the mountains of Rutledge to raise their four-year-old daughter Stormy. Ann said that she wanted a wholesome place for her to grow up, so they moved to the property that McDonald had purchased in the 70’s when he was attending the University of Tennessee. This mountain property soon became home to the pair’s artistic talents in the sculpted form of pottery. The couple has an in-depth heritage in the arts. McDonald graduated from UT with a degree in art that lead him to a career as a museum specialist. He worked surrounded with some of the world’s most delicate artifacts. Ann gained a vast knowledge of the arts while she was an owner/operator of a ceramic shop that housed more than 4,000 art pieces. McDonald and Ann were destined to share their artwork together. At ages 42 and 43 and with

the help of McDonald’s mother, Hannah Greene, they opened Joppa Mountain Pottery in what they consider to be God’s Country. The name they choose for their pottery business seemed fitting because their daughter was starting kindergarten at Joppa Elementary School, and when they look out of their studio, they are above the school. The name stuck. In 2007, they received a proclamation from the Tennessee Senate stating that Joppa Mountain Road was named after them to honor them. The pair, with over 50 years combined experience, has been featured many times on television, including but not limited to: HGTV, Tennessee Crossroads, Style, and several other television stations nationwide. They’ve also been featured in Country Marketplace Magazine. Continued on page 24

24 Discover Grainger County • 2019

Ann creating beautiful designs.

inspired by the Japanese. Unique yet functional, each piece of pottery is one-ofJoppa Mountain Pottery has grown into a reputable a-kind; no two pieces are exactly alike. Joppa Mountain business with connections all over the globe. Many Pottery’s stoneware pieces, such as mugs, bowls, plates and collectors and galleries possess their award-winning platters, are microwave and dishwasher safe making them creations, including The Queen of England’s Councilor. even more desirable to collect. McDonald and Ann pride themselves in their creative McDonald and Ann have had an array of visitors hand-made pottery pieces created ranging from community members, school children, former from combinations of dirt UT and NFL quarterback Heath Shuler, astronaut Ginger from all over the world. Hatcher Barns, and Tom Pryor from the Black Lillie’s to They utilize Chung people from all over the world. Ann said that each and reds, cobalt blues, every visitor or customer is very special to her and her and earth tone husband. browns for The Crosbys have made an impact on many lives. their stoneware Customer and friend, Janice Stelzman, said, “Ann and glazes and McDonald of Joppa Mountain Pottery are hidden treasures nickel, copper, here in Grainger County. Their talent for making unique, and iron metals beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces of pottery is only one of in their Raku their special gifts. Their other gift, so evident when one process. Raku firing meets them, is friendship and love. At the first visit to Joppa is one of the most Mountain Pottery, you become family. Each subsequent natural techniques in pottery visit is a family reunion. As beautiful as my pottery pieces and is a type of low-firing process are, and they are spectacular, everyday they remind me of From page 23

Discover Grainger County • 2019 25

Group from Toppa Joppa with McDonald.

my dear friends Ann and McDonald of Joppa Mountain Pottery.” Another patron, Barbara Smith, described the Crosby’s work as wonderful and artistic. She said, “Ann and McDonald Crosby are potters in the truest sense. Their work is one of love, beauty, and creativity. Their pottery is perfect for birthday, anniversary, and wedding gifts. I especially like Raku pieces, they put a sparkle in our home.” When Kaitlyn Richter met the couple in early 2016, she had no idea what a huge role they would play in her life’s story. She said, “When you step foot on the grounds of Joppa Mountain Pottery, you are home. The hospitality and love the Crosby’s show is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Their creativity is on display the minute you pull in, and it won’t take long to feel like they’re family. I’m grateful not only for times I’ve gotten to spend at their studio, but also for the genuine friendship they’ve offered to me. Pottery is the vessel Ann and McDonald use to give the world what it needs most: LOVE!” Millie Crawford from California first discovered the unique artisans’ pieces of Joppa Mountain Pottery more than 10 years ago in Knoxville. The next time she came to visit family, she made a special trip to the mountains of

Rutledge to visit Ann and McDonald in person. Speaking of her first trip to their shop Millie said, “One would have thought we were long lost cousins or sisters even! They treated us to a tour of the pottery works, and we bought an armload of gifts to take back home. Since then, I have regularly ordered seasonal items from JMP for gifts and to decorate my home.” Petra Wagner also reminisces about her first visit to the pottery shop where she met the Crosbys for the first time. She has collected several pieces of their art throughout the years. She said, “The Joppa people, Ann and McDonald, are such lovely people and very creative with all the things they produce.” Judy Flair told Discover Grainger County that she has watched their pottery evolve from very rustic to very Continued on page 29

26 Discover Grainger County • 2019

McDonald teaching his trade.

Discover Grainger County • 2019 27

McDonald turning a piece of clay into art.

28 Discover Grainger County • 2019

1479 Joppa Mountain Road | Rutledge, Tennessee 37861 | 865.230.0471 Order online | @joppamountainpottery

Discover Grainger County • 2019 29

From page 25

Glenmary Home missionary group called Toppa Joppa. The polished over the course of the 15 years she has known the group repairs senior’s homes and helps out anyone in need Crosbys. “ I loved getting instructions from McDonald on in Appalachia. the wheel while creating a couple of pottery pieces. I love Ann said that the community has supported them from them and their pottery dearly!” day one. Even when a fire broke The mom and pop business has a out and began it’s way down the part-time apprentice, Marissa Gann, mountain toward their property, and contracts with Danielle O’Connell their dear friend, Doug Berryhill, in Kansas City to manage and design showed up at 7 am to help move the website and to handle the orders their important possessions off on Etsy. The couple’s sons, Shane and of the mountain for safekeeping. Jamey, have also played important The Crosbys thank God, their parts in the business. Shane sculpted community, friends, customers, — Ann Crosby — and did Raku for years, and Jamey and family for having their backs mixed and applied glaze. and making them the success they Ann and McDonald stay true to their motto, “clay your are today! “Our goal is to make God, our families, and our way,” by offering classes for beginners to advanced potters. customers proud of us,” Ann concluded. Classes range from 1 day to 6 weeks and include children Take a trip to 1479 Joppa Mountain Road in Rutledge, classes and date-night couple classes. There isn’t much that TN to bask in the beauty of God’s creations on your way the couple doesn’t offer when it comes to pottery and warm to visit Ann and McDonald’s awe-inspiring pieces of art at welcomes. Joppa Mountain Pottery. They also give back to their community by representing Tennessee anywhere they travel, donating items for silent By Rita Dykes auctions and community events, and giving discounts Discover Grainger County Contributor to life-long customers. The Crosbys also work with a

“Our goal is to make God, our families, and our customers proud of us.”

30 Discover Grainger County • 2019

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Discover Grainger County • 2019 31

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Morgan Farms Jeremy L Gordon, Agent 7767 Rutledge Pike Rutledge, TN 37861 Bus: 865-828-4663 State Farm, Bloomington, IL 1211999

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3410 Rocky Branch Rd. Rutledge, Tennessee 37861 Mon. — Fri.: 8am - 6pm • Closed on Sunday

TTomatoes t Green Beans Peppers Cucumbers Cantaloupe Watermelon Potatoes and More!

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Photo by Kristen Barlowe

32 Discover Grainger County • 2019

Photo by Sharon Thames


Discover Grainger County • 2019 33

Sweet & Sassy Sisters Boutique

Photo by Jason Stoltzfus


other and daughter duo, Natasha Campbell and Lisa Mathis set out on their quest to create a stable work schedule to escape from the hectic, unpredictable life they were living. Natasha was employed by the City of Kingsport as a 911 dispatcher where she worked rotating shifts and Lisa also worked a crazy schedule helping manage a nearby Hobby Lobby store. Natasha’s husband also worked in the public safety sector so they both had hectic schedules that made it difficult to raise their two small children. Lisa was also looking forward to spending more time with family especially her granddaughters. After much debate and considerable thought, Natasha and Lisa opened their first traveling boutique in September

2015. The boutique’s name, Sweet and Sassy Sisters Boutique (SASS) was named after Natasha’s two daughters, Raelyn and Maelie. Natasha said, “Raelyn had just turned 3 and had just started in the sassy stage. Maelie was in the sweet learning stages.” In just seven short months, the duo opened their first brick and mortar location in White Pine. Shortly, a location became available in their hometown of Bean Station so they packed up their shop and headed home. Soon after SASS moved to Bean Station in September 2016, both Natasha and Lisa were able to quit their jobs and run the shop and mobile unit together. Continued on page 35

34 Discover Grainger County • 2019

Blake Lamb, Tara West, Kennedy Wallen and Natasha Campbell Photo by Sharon Thames

Samantha Sexton Photo by Natasha Campbell

Kennedy Wallen and Whitney Fleenor Photo by Sharon Thames

Discover Grainger County • 2019 35 From page 33

Natasha Campbell and customer Marcie Begley. — Photo by Sharon Thames

Tara West, Lisa’s other daughter, also helps out in the boutique when she is needed and has the time available from her teaching career. Misty Coffee, a special friend of the family also plays an important role in the business. Recently, Lisa had to be out of the boutique for an extended amount of time to care for her mother, so Misty jumped right in and helped hold the business together. The boutique is full of gorgeous designs to dress women from sizes small to 3XL. The trendy clothing is sure to fulfill the modern, sassy, and unique woman’s desire for a new wardrobe. From flattering patterns, to toned-down solid colored shirts, dresses, pants, jumpsuits, and a large variety of clothing there is no reason to leave empty handed. You can get a full outfit all of the way down to shoes, jewelry, and handbags. The duo doesn’t stop there; they also offer instore monogramming and custom t-shirt and clothing embellishment for individuals. For bulk orders, they offer custom contract embroidery and embellishment for clothing, headwear, corporate wear, sportswear, and uniforms. As if the clothing world isn’t enough to keep them busy, they custom design awards such as plaques and sport medals. Due to the fast-growing pace, Natasha and Lisa are already in the planning stages for an expansion to Continued on page 37

Sweet and Sassy are Natasha’s daughters Maelie (Sweet) and Raelyn (Sassy) Photo by Sharon Thames

Jagger and Tennyson Fleenor wearing embroidered designs by Sweet and Sassy Sister’s. — Photo by Whitney Fleenor

36 Discover Grainger County • 2019 gave me credit for some of my experience in my field and offered classes





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Henry’s Carpet Service

Discover Grainger County • 2019 37

Sweet and Sassy Sisters Boutique is located at 372 Highway 25E, Bean Station and also has a mobile boutique . — Photos by Natasha Campbell From page 35

supported them, and to their customers. Natasha said, “This their boutique in 2020. business adventure would not be possible without all of your When asked if any notable people have visited the support!” boutique Natasha replied, “We are not aware of any famous people per say, but all of our customers are notable. By Rita Dykes Without them, our business would not be possible. People Discover Grainger County Contributor are not referred to as customers at Sweet and Sassy Sisters Boutique, but rather as our SASS family. We attempt to provide customer service and a friendly, family atmosphere like nowhere else. We get to know most of our SASS family I absolutely love Natasha at Sweet on a first name basis. We even have some ladies that just and Sassy ! The home town feeling is stop in to chat with us for a few minutes before going on awesome! They offer a wide variety of all about their daily business.” sizes and styles from young to older. They Here’s what longtime customer, Rachael Gulley had to are always willing to help you put outfits say about SASS, “I have shopped at this boutique since it together and be a helping hand. I myself work with the public so it’s a must that opened. My closet holds more clothes from SASS than any I always try my best to dress nice and I other store. The clothes are awesome; they don’t shrink and always get the nicest compliments when don’t have to be ironed, so this fits my lifestyle perfectly. I wear something from Sweet and Sassy I would recommend anyone to shop there. I have taken Sisters! all of my family and friends there to shop also. Prices are — Amanda Bean reasonable and they have lots of great sales. As far as the employees, they always recommend and help me with what I love SASS! The clothes are very well ever I’m in need of. When I last counted, I had over 70 made and always a great price. Friendly outfits/dresses from SASS! Best part is they will hold items service very helpful but never pushy. A for you to pick up at your convenience! I highly recommend great family that always remembers you SASS!” when you come in to shop. I tell everyone Natasha and Lisa would like to first thank God for the about it. I have even got people from success of their business. Secondly, they want to give a very Nashville buying there. Everyone should special thanks to their husbands, Lynn Campbell and Jason try it at least once. — Lois Overbay Mathis, all of their friends and family that have help and

I❤ 372 Highway 25E, Bean Station, TN 37708 | 865.935.0477 Facebook VIP Page | (Inside scoop on sales, events, and new arrivals. Females only permitted to join.) Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 10am - 6pm Wednesday and Saturday: 10am - 5pm | Closed Sunday

38 Discover Grainger County • 2019

Red Barn Produce 2999 Highway 11W S | Rutledge TN 37861 | 865.767.2222 Hours: Monday-Saturday: 8 am - 6 pm Follow Red Barn Produce on Facebook for products, sales, and give-a-ways.

Jake proudly displaying his home grown tomatoes.

Discover Grainger County • 2019 39

Jake Sawyer A Young Entrepreneur of Grainger County:


Owner/Operator of Red Barn Produce

s summertime brings the most delicious fruits and vegetables to our tables, 21-year-old Jake Sawyer is hard at work providing Grainger County and surrounding areas with an abundant and fresh

supply. It all began in 1998 when Jake’s grandfather, Keith Horner, bought a farm and moved his family to Grainger County. A couple of years later, Mr. Horner leased out his farm and red barn to the Ritter family. The Ritters began growing tomatoes and opened a produce stand. After 15 years in business, the Ritters decided to retire so, Mr. Horner bought the business from them.

At the very young age of 12, Jake started his first job working for the Ritters stocking shelves, cleaning, and helping people to their cars. When Jake was old enough to drive, he started his own lawn care business and worked at Food City in the produce department. When he was a senior in high school, the 18-year-old took over the farm and produce business. Today, Jake is the owner and operator of Red Barn Produce. He is married to his beautiful wife, Lara, enjoys sharing his faith at local and foreign mission projects, and has fun going to the beach and on road trips. Continued on page 40

40 Discover Grainger County • 2019 From page 39

With the help of one employee, Roger James, Jake and his grandfather opened Red Barn Produce on March 1, 2016. Sadly, a short time after opening, his grandfather became ill, so Jake took the bull by the horns and made Red Barn Produce the success it is today. Jake attributes his success to the support of his family, especially his grandparents for providing the farm. Speaking fondly of his grandfather, Jake said, “He helped me start the business and taught me about farming, business, and how to treat people right.” Jake seeks to continue to make his grandfather proud.

“He (my grandfather) helped me start the business and taught me about farming, business, and how to treat people right.” Jake Sawyer Red Barn Produce now employees three fulltime and four seasonal employees to fulfill its mission of providing quality, farm-fresh produce to the community. Patrons also travel from other areas to purchase the fresh produce and Amish goods. Jake is always looking for innovative ways to expand, increase customer base, and implement better ways to serve the community. The 60-acre farm provides a bountiful harvest of famous Grainger County tomatoes, strawberries, green beans, squash, cucumbers, corn and more. “You can literally look out of the back door of Red Barn Produce and see the tomatoes growing in the field,” Jake said. He not only sells his own produce, but he also engages with other local farmers to sell a vast variety of fruits and vegetables. They sell flowers, jellies, jams, Amish canned goods, meats, cheeses, candy, and more Jake and Red Barn Produce give back to the community by hosting events to raise money for non-profit organizations, donating produce and products to those in need, and financially supporting local school clubs, teams, and local church groups. Since Jake has taken over the business, several highprofile people have stopped by Red Barn Produce for a visit. Among them were Governor Bill Haslam, former Commissioner of Agriculture Jai Templeton, Farm Bureau President Jeff Aiken, and Congressman Tim Burchett. Although it was great to have those folks visit, Jake said, “We have awesome, loyal customers. We couldn’t do it without them!” By Rita Dykes

Jake Sawyer and Congressman Tim Burchet.

Jake Sawyer, Gearlene Horner (Granny), and Govenor Bill

Discover Grainger County Contributor Haslam.

Discover Grainger County • 2019 41

Hard working employees produce the beautiful crop at Red Barn Produce.

What people have to say: “Great produce!” “I really like this place.” “Went for the first time yesterday. Loved it. Wish I had more time to spend there. A new destination point!!” “We went here and it’s a great place. Lots of good veggies and beautiful plants! Lots of good candies and other products!”

“I just love riding down to your place for produce and the other goodies that you have at the Red Barn Produce.” “Love this place! They have the best fresh fruit and vegetables! The owners Jake and Lara are the friendliest people you could ever meet!” “Best strawberries around!!”

42 Discover Grainger County • 2019

SURGOINSVILLE E 10 MILER Satu Satu Sa turday rd day y, M Ma arc arc rch h 9, 9, 8::0 00AAM M Surg Su goi oins nsvill vill vi lle Miid lle dd dle e Sch cho ho oo ol SF FTC T Lon ong g Di D st stance e Serie erries ie es SFTC SF FTC Kin ng & Qu Q ee en Comp Co C omp petit etitio et tion io on

LAUREL RUN N ASCENT Saturday, April 13, 8:00AM 11 mile traiil race Laurel Run Park – Church Hill

SFTC Long Distan Distance nce Series SFTC Trail Series Competition SFTC King & Queen Competition RRCA TN State Cross Country Championship


Saturday, May 11, 8:00AM Amis Mill Eatery – Rogersville SFTC King & Queen Competition RRCA TN State 10K Championship


Tuesday, July 16, 6:30PM 7 mile trail race Bays Mountain Park – Kingsport Kingsport Fun Fest Event SFTC Trail Series Competition SFTC King g & Queen Competition p

BAYS MOUNTAIN TRAIL RACE C S tu Sa turd urd rday ay, Se ay, Sep pttem mbe ber 14 4, 8: 8:0 00 0AM AM 15 mile trail race Bays Ba ys Mountain P Pa ark rk – Kings in ngs gsp po ortt SFTC SF TC Lon ong g Di Disssttan ance e Serrie iess SFTC Tra SFTC railil Ser erie ies ie e Co Com mp pet etit ittion ion SFTC SF TC Kin ing g & Qu Quee en Co C mp mpetition

PHIPPS BEND RIVER RUN Saturday, Octobe er 12, 8:00AM 10 mile trail race Phipps Bend – Surgoinsville SFTC Long Distance Series SFTC Trail Series Competition SFTC King & Queen Competition


2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017

SFTC Shirt of the Year Awards: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017

For information, contact…

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Discover Grainger County • 2019 43


A part of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod Currently conducting Worship and Bible Study on Sundays at 4:00 p.m. at St. Henry Church, Rogersville

For more information 272-4834 or 272-3767

GraingerTennessee County


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1050 Main St. • Bean Station,TN



Need extra copies of Discover Grainger County 2019?

Additional copies may be picked up at The Rogersville Review office at 316 E. Main Street, Rogersville, TN and are available at no cost. We will gladly mail at a cost of $4 per copy to cover the cost of postage and handling.

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44 Discover Grainger County • 2019

Steven C. Smith, Food City President/CEO and Bucky Slagle, Food City Director of Produce Operations pictured with the Cameron Family during the presentation.

Cameron Farms receive Wayne Scott Memorial Grower of the Year Award ABINGDON, Virginia -- Food City is well-known for their locally grown produce initiative. Through a partnership with local farmers, the retail supermarket chain offers their customers fresh-from-the-field fruits and vegetables during local growing seasons. Many items are delivered directly from the farm to the store the same day they are picked. What began over ten years ago with a small number of items, supplied by a handful of area farmers has now grown into a multi-million dollar operation. Today, Food City purchases an average of over $5 million annually in fresh produce from local growers. “We pride ourselves in selecting the best possible products for our customers,” said Steven C. Smith, Food City president and chief executive officer. “Our local farms are known for producing some of the finest products in the country. Buying locally is the logical choice. It provides our customers with the freshest produce possible, while lending additional support to our local economies. In many

instances, our locally grown produce arrives at the store the same day it was picked. It simply doesn’t get any fresher than that”. In 2007, Food City created the Wayne Scott Memorial Grower of the Year Award. The award is named in honor of Unicoi County farmer Wayne Scott, one of the first to partner with the retail supermarket chain. Wayne Scott’s leadership, passion for the business and dedication to delivering the “best produce possible” are just a few of the reasons for his tremendous success. The award recognizes one outstanding grower each year. “Scott Farms was among the first to partner with our company and Scott’s Strawberries continue to be one of our most sought-after products,” says Smith. “Wayne Scott was one of the finest, most honorable men I have ever had the privilege of doing business with. We thought it befitting to honor his memory and dedication to the agricultural Continued on page 45

Discover Grainger County • 2019 45

From page 44

industry with this annual award”. Mike Cameron, of Grainger County’s Cameron Farms, was named in March as the 2019 winner. Cameron is a third-generation farmer, who began more than 50 years ago on his family farm. At that time, tobacco was their main crop, although produce served as a cash crop as well. As a child, Cameron worked alongside his father, who taught him the values of farming and hard work. During his teen years, he worked the fields and transported tomatoes to a local produce market in Knoxville. As an adult, he followed in his father’s footsteps, choosing a career in law enforcement, continuing to grow tomatoes part time for sale at local stores. In 2004, he retired from the Tennessee Highway Patrol, growing tomatoes and other vegetables full-time. In 2014, he joined Food City’s ‘locally grown partnership’, serving select locations in Hamblen, Cocke, Jefferson, Grainger, Claiborne, Knox, Union and Sevier counties and enabling the expansion of his vegetable crops. Cameron’s direct delivery of locally grown produce ensures farm to table quality freshness for Food City customers. He is proud to grow Grainger County tomatoes and vegetables, as well as Roma tomatoes, yellow tomatoes, zucchini and yellow squash, green bell peppers, green beans and pickling cucumbers.

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1018 Main Street • BEAN STATION, TN • 865-993-0369 266 East Broadway Blvd. • JEFFERSON CITY • 865-471-0511 Carry-Out Available

Cameron and his wife, Karen, manage their 70-acre family farm, located in the Buffalo Community of Grainger County. They are the proud parents of four sons, one stepdaughter and six grandchildren. Food City is proud to have partnered with Cameron Farms for the past five years. Food City purchases produce from a number of local farms, including those in Grainger, Blount, Hawkins, Unicoi, Jefferson and Sullivan counties in Tennessee; Scott and Carroll counties and through Appalachian Harvest co-op for locally grown organics from the growers in Scott County, Virginia. “We enjoy a great partnership with a variety of local farms,” comments Bucky Slagle, director of produce operations for Food City. “And we are proud to be the exclusive retail outlet for a number of them and of course our customers love the added convenience,” says Slagle. Food City purchases a wide variety of items from local growers, including tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, cabbage, half runner beans, okra, peppers, squash, gourds, pumpkins, cantaloupes, watermelons, blackberries, strawberries, pears, raspberries, select organic produce and more. Headquartered in Abingdon, Virginia, K-VA-T Food Stores (Food City’s parent company) operates 131 retail outlets throughout southeast Kentucky, southwest Virginia, east Tennessee, Chattanooga and north Georgia, including a store in Blaine.

142 Webster Drive • Blaine, TN 37708


46 Discover Grainger County • 2019

Local Craftsmen, Artists, Authors & Musicians Living History • Music • Dance Food Vendors • Children’s Area and Tomato Wars!

Photos by Tracey Wolfe, Editor Grainger Today

Discover Grainger County • 2019 47

Grainger County Now in its 27th Year! Tomato Festival


olks in Grainger County are eagerly awaiting the 27th Annual Tomato Festival. The three-day festival continues to hold true to its mission by promoting Grainger County farmers and their agricultural products (specifically Grainger County tomatoes!) while also promoting many local artists, authors, and area craftsmen. Friday 26th: Festival begins with Food, Entertainment Located at Rutledge Middle and Elementary schools, festivities begin at noon on Friday, July 26 and wind down at 5 p.m. Sunday evening. The festival will include many prepared foods, fresh vegetables and fruits, art and craft vendors, musical performances, dancers, beauty pageant winners, art show including a living history display, regional authors, antique agriculture equipment with demonstrations, and of course, tomatoes, and the infamous Tomato Wars! Art Show and Living History Be sure to take a look around for the art show and living history section where you will find people dressed in clothing depicting the Revolutionary War era. Craftsmen in this section will be demonstrating their trades in areas such as wood, iron, quilting, corn shuck doll making, grain grinding, and leather workmanship. Also stop by the farmers’ section to experience an abundant supply of Grainer County farming history including antique machinery and demonstrations. Special Guest: Arthur Bohanan One of the special guests at the festival this year is Arthur Bohanan. Arthur will be presenting a talk and demonstration on graveyard forensics twice during the festival. He has developed a product to find unmarked graves and identify the remains as male, female, adult or child. He has assisted numerous disasters area officials to identify victims. He has recently discovered many Civil War era graves that have remained unmarked for a century and a half. These graves are now being properly marked. Entertainers Many performers are lined up for the Grainger Opry in the Rutledge Middle School Gymnasium beginning at 6:30 p.m. Friday evening. The Opry will include mix of comedy with country, gospel, and bluegrass music featuring local Grainger County talent. Door prizes and audience participation are additional highlights of an evening at the Opry.

Saturday 27th: Music and Dance Entertainment — Gospel, Bluegrass Concerts ... and Tomato Wars! Saturday morning booths will re-open and stages throughout the festival will be filled with musical and dancing entertainment. If a war and tomatoes seem like a fun combo, join the Tomato Wars at 10 a.m. Early that afternoon, at 2 p.m., Rutledge Middle School will be host to a gospel concert featuring the Tribute Quartet, sponsored by Grainger County Parks and Recreation Department. Accomplished, country music singer/songwriter/ guitarist, Frankie Ballard is this year’s featured entertainment hosted by Tennessee Homegrown Tomatoes and brought to the Tomato Festival in conjunction with the Summer Concert Series. Opening for Frankie is the 19-year-old singer/songwriter sensation, Maggie Baugh. The concert will be held on Saturday night, July 27 at 7 p.m. Admission is free, so get there early, and grab a great seat. Sunday 29th: Church Service, Entertainment, Food and Tomato Wars! Sunday the 28th will round out the festivities with a church service on the main stage at 9:30 a.m. followed by more entertainment, food, and vendors beginning at 12:01 pm. Don’t forget to see who wins the tomato war finale at 2 p.m. Then round out your day with a stroll along the venue and grab some of those Grainger County tomatoes, fruits, and veggies to take home with you! Register Online to Particiapte in Tomato Wars! If you want to join in on the Tomato Wars, go online to get your application, and prepare for battle. Remember that all proceeds from the Wars go to an amazing cause ... God’s Planet for Haiti.

Bring the whole family out for a good time, learn about your heritage, and give back to your community and beyond!

g! n i k r a e P Admission! e r F r ee F

grainger county tomato festival

48 Discover Grainger County • 2019

Friday, July 26

Saturday, July 27


Grainger County Opry July 26 • 6:30pm

Rutledge Middle School • Hwy. 11W, Rutledge, TN

In conjunction with the Grainger County Tomato Festival


Randy Holt Phillip Ellis Ambria Collins Christin Greenlee Gospel Strings Cooter Daniel Tommy White Cliff & Betty Justice

Photo by Tracey Wolfe, Editor Grainger Today

Prepare to get juiced!

Tomato W s r a W o t a Tom

Darla Daniel Madeline Hurst Alexis Patterson Steadfast Grass Jodie Roach Mark Livesay

* Performers are subject to change

2019 Grainger County Tomato Festival T-Shirt This year’s festival t-shirt may be purchased at Smith’s Drug Store in Rutledge, Okie’s II Pharmacy in Blaine, Grainger Today in Bean Station, and at the festival. Prices are $12 for sizes small, medium, large and extra large and $15 for sizes 2XL and 3XL.

7480 Rutledge Pike Rutledge Tn 37861 Friday 26th: Noon to 8pm Opening Ceremony: 1pm on the Main Stage Saturday 27th: 9am to 6pm Sunday 28th: Church: 9:30am | Noon to 5pm

grainger county tomato festival

Sat., July 27 at 10am Sun., July 28 at 2pm

iddle School Baseball Field Behind Rutledge M er teams • $5 per person 5 memb age appropriate teams Individuals will be placed on release Under 18, parents must sign l. tiva Fes at or Register online le at ilab ava es Rul r Wa and Application m tiva www.graingercountytomatofes

48-2384 Contact Lisa Cabbage, 865-5 ! for more information t for for God’s Planet for Haiti. God’s Plane The Tomato Wars is a fund raiser in Maryville, TN and based n izatio organ )(3) 501(c Haiti (GP4H) is a non-profit is also Tennessee in March of 2010. GP4H received a charter from the State of ization. Our mission organ rofit non-p al ation intern recognized in Haiti as an the t to the Haitian people and to meet is to bring the gospel of Jesus Chris g a bag of Haitian gettin d misse you If tion. educa gh needs of the children throu while ase it at The Red Barn in Rutledge Coffee at the festival you can purch supplies last.

Pets are Welcome

Well behaved pets are welcome at the festival, just remember it is in late July and it is very HOT! We will have watering stations and misting tents all over the festival grounds to help keep cool. We do ask that you pick up after your fur babies and deposit their gifts in the nearest garbage can.

Discover Grainger County • 2019 49

Saturday, July 27 Lots of Great Music on the Main Stage All Weekend! Saturday, July 27 at 7pm

Free Concert!

Saturday 27th

Rutledge Middle School Football Field

9:00-10:00..... Mason Dixon Boys 10:15-11:15..... TBA 11:30-12:30..... TBA 1:00-2:00..... The Valley Authority 2:30-3:30..... Django Riders 4:00-5:00..... Carvin Walls

Maggie Baugh


Sunday 28th

12:00-1:00..... Knoxville’s Own Southern Gospel Quartet 1:15-2:15..... TBA 2:30-3:30..... TBA 3:45-5:00..... Reggie Coleman

Mark Bishop


Singer / Songwriter @likemaggie

Frankie Ballard

Opening for Tribute Quartet Saturday, July 27 at 2pm Rutledge Middle School

Country Music Singer / Songwriter/ Guitarist @frankieballard

Sponsored by Tennessee Homegrown Tomatoes Brought to the Tomato Festival in conjunction with the Summer Concert Series

Tribute Quartet Saturday, July 27 at 4pm • Rutledge Middle School

NO GUNS, NO ALCOHOL, NO COOLERS, AND PLEASE USE CLEAR BAGS. We make these rules for your safety and we would appreciate it if you would help us out so we can get everyone to their seats in time to see all the show. You can have chairs and blankets. T​ hank you for your cooperation.

n! o i s s i m d A ree Parking! e e r F F

Sunday, July 28

Old Time Country Church

Sunday, July 28 • 9:30am • Main Stage Led by Richard McGinnis and Music by Rick Johnson

Music, Food, Entertainment Continues ... and more TOMATO WARS at 2pm!

50 Discover Grainger County • 2019

Kingswood Home for Children

Judge Ellis House in the Joppa Community

Grainger County Courthouse

Photos by Randy Ball

Discover Grainger County • 2019 51

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