One of the best things about Chattanooga is the local food movement. Chattanooga is surrounded by farms. One of the biggest proponents of those farms is the Chattanooga Market. The Chattanooga Market, a farmer and craft market that is held spring through late fall, is one of the brightest jewels in the “New Chattanooga” crown.
The Chattanooga Market, held in the First Tennessee Pavilion on the south side, is a huge event each week. Vendors from Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia come to sell their homegrown and homemade wares. From vegetables to art and everything in between, there is no shortage of wonderful things to behold and purchase. Live music and food trucks make this not only a market, but a social event. Families come after church to spend the afternoon, friends bring out of town guests and many people just come to people watch and enjoy the great music. The popularity of the market lead to a Saturday version of artisans and crafters at the site of the Tennessee Aquarium in downtown, bringing local products to visitors from all over the country.
The local food component comes to play in the Sunday market. Eating local and as an added benefit, eating seasonal is made possible by the dozens of farms that come each week bringing their produce. Spring starts with asparagus and strawberries picked that morning, which are gobbled up by the bushel by customers who drive specifically to get them. You will never eat another California strawberry after you eat a handful of the tiny, sweet Tennessee berries.
As the seasons progress, the tables and booths are overflowing with produce that not only is fresh, but also is affordable. Tomatoes, squash, okra, apples and late in the year kale and onions are just a sampling of the bounty that is offered. A week’s worth of produce can easily be purchased for less than $20.
Canning fresh, often organic produce not only saves you money, but also supports the local commerce. Local eggs, beef, buffalo and more are available as well from farms that are literally right up the road and treat their animals with respect and humanity.
Local food not only tastes better because it is picked later and is in season, but it saves fuel and thereby is not only better for you, but better for the economy. The Chattanooga Market, therefore is a huge supporter of Chattanooga itself. Starting this spring season, you can get your fresh produce on Wednesday afternoons as well.