Monday, February 29, 2016

Sam Beall, whose East Tennessee restaurant was famous for its farm-to-table approach, dies at 39

Sam Beall, owner of East Tennessee's Blackberry Farm, a nationally acclaimed luxury inn and restaurant famous for its farm-to-table approach in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, died in a skiing accident on Thursday, Dana Kopp Franklin reports for Nashville Scene. Beall, 39, was married with five children. (Maryville Daily Times photo by Mark Large: Beall, right, at the Fort Craig Boys & Girls Club in September 2015)

The inn, which was opened in 1976 by Sam Beall's parents, grows its own food on the property near Walland and turns its produce into artisan items that can be found on store shelves as far away as Nashville, Franklin writes. "In 2012 Blackberry Farm hosted the inaugural installment of the James Beard Foundation's Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change. Among its most recent awards, the Barn restaurant at Blackberry Farm won the national James Beard award for Outstanding Service in 2015 and Outstanding Wine Program in 2014. In 2011, Travel + Leisure named Blackberry Farm the No. 1 Resort in the Continental U.S. and Canada."

Ed Mitchell, mayor of Blount County, told The Daily Times, "I always admired Sam’s positive attitude and his kind heart. He always seemed so even and in control of the situation around him. He was very easy to work with, very easy to talk to, and will be greatly missed by not just the people of Blackberry, but the people of Blount County. He had such a caring spirit. We are saddened to hear this news today. Our prayers are with his family." U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, who is from the county, told the Times, "Sam Beall was a caring young man and one of our state's most creative businessmen. He led a hotel company that has become known around the world for its quality."

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