Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has proclaimed Aug. 2-8 as National Farmers Market Week. In celebration, Crabtree Farms is encouraging Chattanoogans to visit one of the local farmers markets in the Chattanooga area.
This year marks the 10th annual National Farmers Market Week. Since the USDA began declaring National Farmers Market Week in 2000, the number of farmers markets has grown more than 60%, from 2863 markets in 2000 to 4,685 in 2008.
Downtown Chattanooga is now home to two farmers markets. A new farmers market opened on the southside of Chattanooga in the spring, offering a mid-week option for buying fresh local produce direct from farmers.
The Main Street Market hosts over 10 local farmers and food artisans, whose offerings include fresh vegetables, fruits, honey and breads. The Main Street Market’s farmers will be donating unsold fresh produce to the Chattanooga Area Food Bank and will be celebrating this partnership at the market on Wednesday, Aug. 5.
City Councilman Andrae McGary said, "The Main Street Market has brought revitalization and built a sense of community around food, as well as giving Main Street area neighbors a chance to meet. Plus it helps that consumers are getting the freshest of local fruits and vegetables to their families. This is a good thing all the way around."
The Chattanooga Market began in 2002 and currently has about 30 agricultural vendors selling a wide variety of products, ranging from unusual Japanese eggplants and heirloom tomatoes to blueberry bushes for customers to grow their own food. So far this year, the Chattanooga Market has recorded $222,000 in sales of locally-produced foods, including meats, dairy products and hand-crafted food like bread and pasta, according to Market Manager Paul Smith.
On Sunday Chattanooga consumers will be able to access information online at the newly launched TasteBuds website, www.tastebudsguide.org. Users will find where and how to support local farmers markets, as well as farms, grocery stores and food producers that offer local food. This website will represent Chattanooga’s local food guide which was created by Crabtree Farms through a grant from the Benwood Foundation.
Farmer’s Markets in the Chattanooga Area:
Main St. Market
Open Wednesdays 4-6 p.m.
Corner of Main and Williams Streets
Open Sunday 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
1829 Carter St.
Chattanooga, TN 37404
Battlefield Farmer’s Market
Open Saturday 8 a.m.-12 p.m., Wednesday 3-6 p.m.
10052 Highway 27 North
Rock Spring, GA 30739
Dayton Farmer's Market
Open weekdays 7 a.m.-5 p.m.
Dayton, TN 37321
Maryville Farmer's Market
Open Saturday 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
Maryville, TN 37802
North Sand Mountain Farmer's Market
Open Saturday 8-11 a.m.
24474 Alabama Highway 75
Sylvania, AL 35988