Thursday, May 2, 2013

(Re)Discover Chattanooga - Market Season

I love that Chattanooga is a 'have your cake and eat it too' kind of town.  We have some of the fastest internet connections in the country, smart grid power, and I also know the people who grow my food.  I'm not sure if that puts me into some kind of stereotype category akin to hipster, but I think that's pretty sweet.

One of the cool things about Chattanooga is the local food movement.  Most people know that we have an awesome Sunday Market downtown, but they don't know that we have farmer's markets all over town, each with different hours.  Gaining Ground is a big part of the local food movement, and they keep an updated and full list of Farmers Markets on their website.  Here's a quick list of some of local markets:

Brainerd Market (Saturday mornings)
Chattanooga Market (Sunday)
Signal Market (Thursdays)
Ringgold Market (starts June 1st)
Main Street Market (Wednesdays)
Hixson (Saturday mid mornings)
Cumberland Market

There are even more local markets in Georgia, Cleveland and the surrounding area, so check out the Full Market List from Gaining Ground.

This past Saturday, I braved the rain to attend the Grand Opening of my farmer's market, the Brainerd Farmer's Market.  This wasn't really a grand opening as much as it was the first week of their extended hours, 10am - noon, rather than 10am - 11am.  It's too early in the season for a lot of veggies, but the time is right to start your garden, and there were a lot of plants.  I got red bell peppers, heirloom tomatoes, and strawberries to start my garden.  Since I am only one of the residents on my property (lets face it, the rabbits, chipmunks, racoons, geese, deer and ducks really own the place), I'm going to try strawberries in hanging baskets this year.  I think this will make it easier keep the critters away from my strawberries, and also clip the runners, so I can keep strawberry plants for next year too.

A lot of the farms at the Brainerd Market had CSA applications as well.  I think this is such a great way to support local farms, and force you to eat a little healthier while you're at it.  I was happy to find out that most farms offer full and half share options, as well as multiple pick up locations.  These options are pretty important to me since 1) I live by myself and my canning skills are less than stellar, and 2) my Saturday's can be busy during the summer, and having another option is nice.  If you've thought about joining a CSA take some time to stop by a farmers market this week and check it out.  It might be a really good fit for you.

Another cool thing about our markets is that there is more than just veggies.  We have local farms that raise cattle, chickens, and turkeys so there is a good supply of meat, eggs, cheese, and even milk.  Companies like Niedlov's & Link 41 (my favorite local business) stop at some of the markets as well, so you have local bread & sausage available too.  You'll also see items like handmade soaps, jams, baked goods, and fresh cut flowers.  The food trucks get in the scene sometimes too, so it's a really cool environment.  (And I promise they don't look at you funny if you don't bring an organic cotton reusable bag for your purchases.)

Anyway, I hope this has helped you get a better idea of the Farmer's Market scene.  Maybe I'll see you around at either the Brainerd Market, or the Sunday Market!


  1. Wonderful!
    I do try to eat more locally grown food.
    Several towns around here will soon be opening Farmer's Markets, but not on a big scale like you have there.
    I've never grown strawberries, but I almost bought plants this year. I was really tempted by a strawberry kit that included a beautiful glazed strawberry jar (with the planting holes in the sides), the plants, and the soil needed. But that was back in March when it was still freezing cold outside. Since I try to add a little to my garden each year, maybe next year it will be strawberries. Hope yours do well for you.
    I've been planting bunch beans and okra. I bought two tomato plants but haven't put them in the ground yet - I want to add lime and calcium to the soil before I set them out. If we go to Tupelo tomorrow, I'll get that and buy some more tomato plants and peppers, too.
    Happy Gardening!
    Lea's Menagerie

    1. Lea, I grew strawberries as a kid, but I haven't grown any since. I'm excited about these, even though I'm not planting enough for a full 'harvest.' I've picked up 2 heirloom tomatoes so far and one red bell pepper. I'd like to get 2 determinant tomatoes, more peppers, squash and basil. The more basil the better. I didn't have much luck last year, so I'm trying the tomatoes and basil in containers that I'll put in different places to see what does the best.

      Happy Gardening!!

  2. Our town has a ton of Farmer's markets I try to go every now and then they are great!

    Answered your question on my blog :)

  3. You've beaten me to the Brainerd Market which is sad cuz I live there...

    But actually really cool to know about HALF-shares for a CSA! I didn't know that - always wanted to do one but as a single person it made no sense for me but I'll definitely check them out now.

    1. I'm thinking about doing the Walden Farm one. Their half share program is a full basket, every other week, and will prorate whenever you decide to start. Pocket Farm does a half basket every week, and is a little cheaper. Both farms have alternate pick ups, and I think would work with you if you have travel plans and such. They also tell you up front what they're growing, so you can get an idea of what you would actually eat.


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