Farm-fresh produce is close to home!
September 13, 2021
Expert guest blog: Christina Boydston, RDN, LDN, Clinical Dietitian
Most of us didn’t grow up on a farm, but all you have to do is take a short drive most days of the week to find a farmer’s market.
At farmer’s markets, local growers offer different varieties of nutrient-dense produce depending on the time of year. Most often, local growers will pick produce the day before or the morning of a farmer’s market, so it is fresh and packed with flavor and nutrients. Fresh produce is key because the vitamin content of some fruits and vegetables can decrease or be adversely affected by exposure to certain temperatures and longer storage times, such as traveling cross-country in a hot truck. Buying direct from the farmers themselves also gives you the chance to talk with growers and learn about their farming practices, like sustainable farming, organic, cage-free, free range, and more.
Additionally, local farm markets give opportunity to try new foods you may not find elsewhere. Small growers frequently offer heirloom, non-GMO, and organic varieties not available in your grocery. When you eat a wider variety of richly-colored produce, you access a broader range of phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that may help boost your immune system.
Farmer’s markets not only have produce, some offer meat and poultry; cheese, eggs and dairy; crafts; artisanal breads, soaps, candles; and sometimes live music. Markets vary by days, vendors, and size. Most have social media pages so you can see their offerings and special events in advance.
Some of the fruits and veggies you will find exclusive to late summer and fall in our area include apples, pears, blackberries, summer and winter squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, beets, greens, turnips, and melons. Be adventurous and try a vegetable you’ve never had before!
Finally, not only does eating fresh fruits and veggies help make you healthy, but supporting local farms is one of the healthiest things you can do for your local economy!
See the list below to find a market close to you – or try a new one!
1829 Reggie White Blvd, Chattanooga
Open: Sunday 12:00 – 4:00 p.m. (April-Dec)
Main Street Farmer’s Market
1804 Chestnut Street, Chattanooga
Open: 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Wednesday (year-round)
Ooltewah Farmer’s Market
5829 Main Street, Ooltewah
Open: 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. Thursday (April-Oct)
Chattanooga River Market
1 Broad Street, Chattanooga
Open: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Saturday
Alton Park CommUNITY Market
200 W 38th Street, Chattanooga
Open: 12:00 – 3:00 p.m. Saturday
Brainerd Farmer’s Market
20 Belvoir Ave, Chattanooga
Open: Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (year-round)
Signal Mountain Farmer’s Market
2815 Anderson Pike
Open: Thursday 4:00 – 6:30 p.m. (May-Oct)
St. Alban’s Episcopal Church Market
7514 Hixson Pike
Open: Saturday 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (May-Oct)
Crabtree Farm’s Farm Store
1000 E 30th Street, Chattanooga
Open: Friday and Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. (seasonal)
Farm 58 Farmer’s Market
3415 Broad Street, Chattanooga
Open: Saturday 5PM-9PM, Sunday 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (June-Oct)
9835 Dayton Pike, Soddy-Daisy
Open: Thursday 2:30-6:30 p.m.
1554 S. McDonald Rd. SW, McDonald, TN 37353
4950 Swinyar Drive, Collegedale
Open: Sunday, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (Feb-Nov)
In-season fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients and are rich in color and taste. When grown and bought locally, you are likely to find more variety as some varieties may not be hardy enough to travel cross-country. One of the best places to get high-quality produce is at a local farm market.