IF YOU GO
What: Peach Festival at Chattanooga Market.
When: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.
Where: First Tennessee Pavilion, 1826 Reggie White Blvd.
Peaches may be fighting to retain the fruit crown of the South, but this Sunday, everything will be peachy at Chattanooga Market for the third annual Peach Festival.
"We're very excited, especially after our record Blueberry Festival," said Paul Smith, general manager of the weekly market. "Peaches are right there in popularity, and this year's crop has been fantastic."
He cited newcomer Watsonia Farms of Greenville, S.C., as being one of the welcome additions to the market.
"They have organic peaches, which is new for us, this year. They've been a huge upswing for us."
And it's not just the farmers who are going to be making mouths water this Sunday.
Vendors will be selling peach jam, peach cobbler, peach salsa, peach moonshine salsa, pickled peaches, spicy peach barbecue sauce and peach bread. Chattanooga-based company Pure Soda Works will feature a peaches-and-cream soda.
"It's amazing the different things you can do with food, and our vendors always find a way to do it," Smith said.
Smith said he does not claim to be a creative cook himself, but working with the market has given him a deeper appreciation for those who are. He has, he said, become something of a "foodie."
"I'm kind of one of those food freaks who watches what he eats and makes sure it's local as much as I can. I haven't eaten at McDonald's in about five years."
Instead, he said, he's been focusing on the colorful crops grown by local farmers, including, of course, peaches.
"I look so forward to peach season every year. I love a good ripe peach."
Holly Leber is a reporter and columnist for the Life section. She has worked at the Times Free Press since March 2008. Holly covers “everything but the kitchen sink" when it comes to features: the arts, young adults, classical music, art, fitness, home, gardening and food. She writes the popular and sometimes-controversial column Love and Other Indoor Sports. Holly calls both New York City and Saratoga Springs, NY home. She earned a bachelor of arts ...