BARRY COURTER: Lisa, how do you feel about fresh produce? Would you rather eat something grown right here in our own backyard, so to speak, or do you prefer veggies grown thousands of miles away that are picked green and then gassed with ethylene to make them look ripe?
LISA DENTON: Well, Butterbean, there’s only one answer to that. Although I do not possess a green thumb, I am all too happy to poach homegrown tomatoes from family and friends who have more than they can handle in their gardens. I get strawberries every spring from Flattop Mountain, which is sort of my backyard. And I eat fried okra like it’s chocolate candy in the summer. I love it so much, I’m willing to pick it myself to get a mess (that’s farm talk for a skillet full).
BARRY: No need for name-calling. You might have guessed why I asked in the first place. The Chattanooga Market begins the 2012 season Sunday. That means fresh produce, and I’m excited.
They have a lot of things happening opening day, which happens to be Earth Day, and the first 100 people there will get a free fruit tree sapling from Freedom Tree Farms. Organizers say that because of the unseasonably warm weather, they expect to have strawberries.
What are you planning in honor of Earth Day? I know it’s one of your favorite holidays.
LISA: Well, you and I both have experience spreading fertilizer here every Monday. That’s good for the Earth, right?
BARRY: Oh, so it’s like we bake Mother Earth a cake. I like it.
LISA: The market has already opened its smaller Chattanooga River Market on Saturdays in the Tennessee Aquarium plaza. But opening day for the Southside original is expected to draw 200 vendors. That’s a lot of opportunities to eat, drink and be merry. And afterward, this little piggy will go wee, wee, wee all the way home.
BARRY: Jinkies that’s a lot of vendors. The Chattanooga Symphony & Opera’s String Quartet will be performing at 12:30 p.m. and Charles Butler & Associates will play at 2. Should be a good day at the market.
Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...
Lisa Denton is deputy features editor and content editor of Current. She previously was a lifestyle, entertainment and region reporter/pod leader for The Chattanooga Times, which she joined in 1983. Lisa is from Sale Creek and holds an associate’s degree in journalism from Chattanooga State Community College. Contact Lisa at 423-757-6281 or firstname.lastname@example.org.