When Centerplate Executive Chef Max Knoepfel puts together the beef short rib plate at the Music City Center in Nashville, he can tell you a story about every ingredient.

The beef comes from KLD Farm, an 82-acre property in Ashland City—about a 30-minute drive from Nashville—operated by a farmer who still participates in the Nashville Farmers Market most weekends. The vegetables? From Green Door Gourmet, a 350-acre organic farm, country store and event venue about 10 miles away.

His intima...

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