Ten years in the making, the season opening of the Brainerd Farmers’ Market on April 27 promises to usher in its biggest season yet, said officials. Market patrons can look forward to reconnecting with their favorite farmers and vendors from last year, meeting and getting to know new members, and participating in events designed to entertain the whole family.
Live music from Sharla June, face painting by Lyn Martin, a cookie decorating booth, and a kids’ building workshop will supplement the already festive atmosphere customers have come to expect on Saturday mornings at the market.
Beginning with just five local farms and a handful of church volunteers in the parking lot of Grace Episcopal Church on Saturday mornings, the Brainerd Farmers’ Market has, over the last 10 years, blossomed into a Saturday destination that brings a wide variety of farmers, chefs, and artisans together with members of the Brainerd community.
The market is committed to increasing access to sustainably grown, clean produce, meat, and eggs, but, as Market Director Catherine Durham notes, “the market is more than just great food.” She says, “It’s about providing a vibrant space for locals from different backgrounds to meet, socialize, and find common ground.”
The diversity of market vendors mirrors the growing diversity of the area, with Chattanooga natives mingling with farmers from South Africa, chefs from the Ukraine, Chile, and Syria, and artisans from Germany and Guatemala.
As a major outreach of Grace Episcopal Church, the market continues its Double SNAP program again this year. Market patrons with SNAP benefits may run their Electronic Benefit Transfer cards to make purchases and the market will double their benefits up to $20 each week.
Ms. Durham said, “This is a tangible way the market can help Chattanooga families put more high-quality, healthy food on their tables.”
The Double SNAP program is fully funded by donations, largely from the parishioners of Grace Episcopal Church.
The Brainerd Farmers Market is held from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. on Saturdays from April 27 through Dec. 7. The market takes place in the Grace Episcopal Church parking lot at the corner of Brainerd Road and Belvoir Avenue.