Chattanooga Market marks National Farmers Market Day

Chattanooga Market marks National Farmers Market Day

July 31st, 2014 by Karen Nazor Hill in Chattnow Outabout

Chattanooga Market will celebrate National Farmers Market Day on Sunday to remind customers of how such regional food systems support family farms, grow rural economies and provide fresh produce direct to consumers.

Photo by Staff File Photo/Times Free Press.

Chattanooga Market is all about fresh, local and tasty - especially so this Sunday, Aug. 3, for the celebration of National Farmers Market Day.

More than 100 local farmers and food artisans will be selling a variety of fresh vegetables, fruits, cheeses and meats to kick off National Farmers Market Week, Aug. 4-10.

"We want folks to remember the farmers in their community - who and where their fresh food comes from," says Melissa Siragusa, Chattanooga Market spokeswoman. "And we want them to know that when you support local farmers, you're also helping the local economy."

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says in a news release that National Farmers Market Week is an opportunity for farmers markets across the country to showcase the tremendous services they provide.

IF YOU GO

¦ What: National Farmers Market Day at Chattanooga Market

¦ When: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 3.

¦ Where: First Tennessee Pavilion, 1829 Reggie White Blvd.

¦ Admission: Free.

¦ Phone: 423-648-2496.

¦ Website: chattanoogamarket.com.

ON THE EPB STAGE

12:30 p.m. Joy Ike

2 p.m. Dana Rogers

"Farmers markets play a key role in developing local and regional food systems that support family farms and help grow rural economies," Vilsack says. "They bring communities together, connecting cities with the farms that support them and provide Americans across the country with fresh, healthy food."

In its 14th season, the market has grown from just a handful of farms at its start in 2001 to more than 120 farms and food artisans, both local and regional, according to a news release. "All share the same philosophy: providing healthy, fresh foods direct to the community through farmers markets."

"When the market first opened, it was small," Siragusa says. "We're seeing 10 times as many farmers at the market today. It just goes to show that if you support the farmers, they will come back to the market."

In Mike Hazelrig's case, the Chattanooga Market is part of his life.

A third-generation farmer, Hazelrig, of Hazelrig Orchards in Cleveland, Ala., came to the market "on a whim" in its opening year. He says he sold about 30 baskets of peaches each week. Today, Hazelrig sells about 300 baskets a week at the market.

This week will be the opportune time to shop for many varieties of vegetables and fruits freshly picked from area farms, Siragusa says.

"Right now, everything is in," she says, noting that tomatoes are the No. 1 choice of marketgoers, followed closely by zucchini, cucumbers, beans, squash, onions, peppers, melons, peaches, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries.

"And don't forget about the locally raised meat," she says. "We have fresh chicken, beef, pork, eggs and cheeses. People have learned that what they buy at the market is fresh locally, not something from ... another country."

Contact Karen Nazor Hill at khill@timesfree press.com or 757-6396.