This story was updated at 1:56 p.m. on Friday, May 8, to correct the address of the Collegedale Commons and market to 4950 Swinyar Drive.

Area farmers markets are starting to reopen, offering locally grown produce, meats and flowers, as well as some locally made items such as soaps, honeys and jams, but don't expect to be able to hang out, buy arts and crafts, grab a beer or coffee and listen to live music as you have in the past.

A modified Collegedale Market with a limited number of vendors and shoppers will re-open on Sunday, which is Mother's Day.

The larger Chattanooga Market at First Horizon Pavilion will open May 23, and like the Collegedale Market, will be a scaled-down version of previous markets. Both are operated by Public Markets.

The Lookout Farmers Market typically operates several gatherings in the area, including one on Lookout Mountain, one in East Brainerd, one in Red Bank and one at Memorial Hospital's St. Elmo location, but only the one at Christ United Methodist Church in East Brainerd is currently in operation.

"We opened it the week before the tornado because a lot of people were worried about getting out to the grocery store," said the director, Laurie Carter.

She said the market has enlisted a Florida-based farmer to deliver produce each Tuesday "so we could offer more variety and meet the demand." She said the hours are normally 4-7 p.m., but the market has been opening around 2, as well.

She is currently taking orders for boxes of foods such as vegetables, honey, breads and jams that can either be picked up at the church each week or delivered to people living on Lookout Mountain, where she resides. If it goes well, the delivery service could expand.

"A lot of people, especially the elderly, are not ready to get out yet," Carter said.

More Info

Brainerd Farmers Market - Grace Episcopal Church, 20 Belvoir Ave. Currently closed.

Collegedale Market - Collegedale Commons, 4950 Swinyar Drive. 11 a.m.-4 p.m Sundays.

Chattanooga Market - 1826 Reggie White Blvd. Opens MayAve. 23. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Chattanooga River Market - 1 Broad St. Currently closed.

Chattanooga Market at Erlanger - 979 E. 3rd St. C-920. Currently Closed.

Lookout Farmers Market at East Brainerd - Christ United Methodist Church, Lookout Farmers Market 8645 E. Brainerd Road. 2-7 p.m. Tuesday.

Lookout Farmers Market at Red Bank - Red Bank United Methodist Church, 3800 Dayton Blvd. Currently closed.

Lookout Farmers Market at Memorial Hospital, 3917 St. Elmo. Currently closed.

Main Street Farmers Market - 1804 Chestnut St. 4-6 p.m. Wednesdays offering pre-ordered pick-up orders only.

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

Signal Mountain Farmers Market - McCoy Far and Gardens 1604 Taft Highway. Closed for the year.


Public Markets Executive Director Chris Thomas said reopening the markets now is essential because produce is starting to come in.

"The world is cracking open, and there are some timelines for big things to start reopening," Thomas said. He added that the opening comes at a good time for vendors, especially the farmers.

"The farms are starting to produce, and the farmers were getting really nervous," Thomas said.

The Chattanooga and Collegedale markets will carry essentials like food products and some body products such as soaps and lotions. Missing will be things that would typically cause a shopper to hang around the market, such as live music, arts and crafts and beverages such as coffee and beer.

Food trucks will have take-and-go items, but onsite dining will not be allowed.

"We've been busy growing certified organic produce, and we're looking forward to returning to the Collegedale Market on May 10," said Cynthia Chaffer of Red Clay Farms.

"We've missed our customers and are looking forward to replenishing their kitchens with our beautiful, healthy, fresh, organic produce," Chaffer said. "We will have seasonal greens, such as kale, lettuce, Swiss chard, our milled products that include cornmeal, corn grits, wheat flour, bread flour, rye flour, pumpernickel flour, oat porridge, oat flour and a variety of micro greens."

Once the Chattanooga Market opens in two weeks, Thomas said it will have a Saturday and Sunday component in hopes that doing so will mean fewer people in the pavilion at one time. The Collegedale Market is opening first because the city of Collegedale said it could before Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said the market here could open, "and it gives us a chance to work things out," Thomas said.

The essential edition of the Collegedale Market will be limited to about 50 vendors. It will be outdoors only and patrons are asked to wear gloves and masks and to avoid unnecessarily handling products. Shoppers are also asked to limit the number of people in a group to two and only visit if healthy and not considered a high risk healthwise.

Thomas said the new guidelines are a work in progress and "we will figure things out, and hopefully everybody understands."

Contact Barry Courter at or 423-757-6354.