Chattanooga Now Visit the farmers market nearest you during national celebration

Chattanooga Now Visit the farmers market nearest you during national celebration

Farmers Market Week continues through this weekend

August 10th, 2017 by Susan Pierce in Chattnow Outabout

Local and regional musicians perform weekly at Saturday's Chattanooga River Market and Sunday's Chattanooga Market locations. Rick Rushing and the Blues Strangers performed at this year's Father's Day Bacon, Blues & Brews event.

Photo by Erin O. Smith

Gallery: Where to find the Farmers Market nearest you

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As a kid, going to the 11th Street Farmers Market on Sunday afternoons was an event.

Lists were made (especially if Mother was in canning mode,) menus planned for the week and dollars counted out in preparation to dicker with farmers on prices.

After Sunday dinner was finished, my mother, grandmother and I loaded into Mother's station wagon for the drive from our home in Woodmore to 11th Street — which, being a kid, felt like a day trip since it usually took the remainder of the afternoon.

Baby boomers will remember that farmers market, which filled the block of 11th Street where the police station is now. It was as bustling and thriving as Chattanooga Market in First Tennessee Pavilion is today.

Farmers trucked in produce from all around the area and set out their veggies, flowers and fruits in baskets in the open-air stalls. Customers would pull their cars right up alongside the curbs of those stalls — which I assumed was why my parents called it the Curb Market — vying for the closest spaces.

Special events

› Sunday, Aug. 13: Live United at Chattanooga Market, First Tennessee Pavilion, 1829 Carter St., 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Families may participate in children’s activities such as spin art, high striker or Ping Pong pond; pick up free books from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, win giveaways and take pictures with their favorite superheroes.

Donna Harrison, United Way of Greater Chattanooga’s director of impact engagement, says families also will be able to sign up for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to receive free books for their children from birth until age 5. Harrison says there will not be a Stuff the Bus school-supplies drive at Live United this year.

› Saturday, Aug. 19: Brainerd Farmers Market, lower parking lot behind Grace Episcopal Church, 20 Belvoir Ave., 10 a.m.-noon.

Dixie-Does Alpines will display a model of the solar system, with beautifully painted planets made to scale with each other and a 24-foot-diameter sun. Learn about the planets as well as the solar eclipse coming Aug. 21.

Customers would call their questions about prices or varieties out the car window. It took me a couple of trips to figure out "Whacha got on it?" wasn't questioning the food's cleanliness; it meant how much. And if Mother got out of the car for closer inspection, that meant a deal was about to go down.

My first food lessons were learned on those Sunday afternoons at the curb market: What to listen for when thumping a watermelon, how to gently squeeze a peach to judge ripeness, which apple varieties were tart and why Red Delicious was Mother's only choice for a snack apple.

Farmers markets facilitate these connections between farmers and their communities. That's why the Farmers Market Coalition is sponsoring National Farmers Market Week through this weekend. In honor of the celebration, the coalition released some statistics to remind communities of the social, health and economic benefits markets provide.

* People who shop at farmers markets have 15 to 20 social interactions per visit, as compared to one or two per visit to a grocery store.

* By cutting out a middleman, markets benefit shoppers, growers and local economics. Farmers receive more food dollars, and shoppers take home the freshest, most flavorful produce in their area.

* The number of U.S. markets has grown from just under 2,000 in 1994 to more than 8,600 currently.

Steve Brehm, operations manager of Chattanooga Market, gives examples of Chattanooga Market's explosive growth. Chattanooga Market is marking its 17th season this summer, and Brehm has been with the market since 2011.

"Even in that period of time, we've gone from, on average, having 140 vendors per week (in First Tennessee Pavilion) to 180-190. During the May-June season, we've gotten upward of 240 vendors on a single Sunday," he says.

Brehm says Chattanooga Market tracks vendor sales in its six locations.

"The first year I was with the market, total vendor sales went over $2 million. This year we're hoping to make it over $4 million," he projects.

Chattanooga Market's newest addition is in Erlanger Medical Mall, which Brehm says has had strong success. And market staffers are already looking ahead to next season when the Collegedale Commons opens, a project of the city of Collegedale and Collegedale Foundation.

"The Collegedale Commons will give us the ability for the first time to have another really large market like we have in downtown Chattanooga," Brehm says.

Find the farmers market nearest you with the accompanying list.

 

AREA FARMERS MARKETS

 

SUNDAY

* Chattanooga Market: First Tennessee Pavilion, 1829 Carter St., 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

 

MONDAY

* Red Bank Farmers Market: Red Bank United Methodist Church, 3800 Dayton Blvd., 4-7 p.m.

 

TUESDAY

* Athens Farmers Market: 106 W. Jackson St., Athens, Tenn. 3-6 p.m.

* Bradley County Farmers Market: 3110 Peerless Road, Cleveland, Tenn., 7 a.m.-2 p.m.

* Lookout Farmers Market: Christ United Methodist Church, 8645 East Brainerd Road, 4-7 p.m.

* Northside Farmers Market: 923 Mississippi Ave., 3-5:30 p.m.

 

WEDNESDAY

* Battlefield Farmers Market: 10052 Highway 27, Rock Spring, Ga., 3-6 p.m.

* Lookout Farmers Market: 2525 deSales Ave., Building B, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

* Main Street Farmers Market: 522 W. Main St., 4-6 p.m.

 

THURSDAY

* Athens Farmers Market: 106 S. Jackson St., Athens, Tenn., 3-6 p.m.

* Bradley County Farmers Market: 3110 Peerless Road, Cleveland, Tenn., 7 a.m.-2 p.m.

* Ooltewah Farmers Market: Ooltewah Nursery & Landscape Co., 5829 Main St., 3-6 p.m.

* Signal Mountain Farmers Market: 1210 Taft Highway, 4-6 p.m.

 

FRIDAY

* Chattanooga Market: Erlanger Medical Mall, 975 E. Third St., 10:30 a.m. -1:30 p.m.

* Chattanooga Market in Ooltewah: Cambridge Square, 9453 Bradmore Lane, 6-9 p.m.

* Lookout Farmers Market: 3917 St. Elmo Ave., 4-7 p.m.

 

SATURDAY

* Battlefield Farmers Market: 10052 Highway 27, Rock Spring, Ga., 8 a.m.-noon.

* Bradley County Farmers Market: 3110 Peerless Road, Cleveland, Tenn., 7 a.m.-2 p.m.

* Brainerd Farmers Market: Grace Episcopal Church, 20 Belvoir Ave., 10 a.m.-noon.

* Chattanooga River Market: Tennessee Aquarium plaza, 1 Broad St., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

* Dalton Farmers Market: 245 N. Thornton St., Dalton, Ga., 8 a.m.-1 p.m.

* Soddy-Daisy Farmers Market: 9835 Dayton Pike, 8 a.m.-noon.

* St. Alban's Hixson Farmers Market: St. Alban's Church, 7514 Hixson Pike, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Contact Susan Pierce at spierce@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6284.