Saturday, June 28, 2014

Chattanooga Road Trip and Squash

Last Sunday we drove down to Chattanooga to visit their Farmer's Market. Located at 1829 Carter Street, just across the street from the baseball stadium on Riverside Parkway, the market is housed in the massive First Tennessee Pavilion. Last Sunday was Food Truck Festival, and there must have been 50 food vendors lining Carter Street offering everything from good ole' down home barbecue to Vietnamese ban mi. We settled on jerk chicken ban mi with a glass of Thai tea from another vendor, and elbowed our way through the crowd to one of the tables located at the far end of the pavilion. A local party band was blasting out covers from the 70s and 80s, about right, judging from the age of the crowd around us. Boomers love farmer's markets, apparently. We are always swarming, every time I visit one.

Only a small percentage, perhaps one in 8 or 10, of the vendors was selling farm-fresh produce, plants or nursery stock. The rest were offering everything from hardwoods for DIY smoking enthusiasts, to the sorts of trinkets you might expect at any flea market or county fair. There was plenty of handmade soap, prepared food items like salsa, and a few truly unique offerings.

One of the best vendors at the market, in terms of unique and clever crafting, are the "Pallet Girls," identified on their business card as "Donna and Catrina." They were offering a variety of well-made and attractive planters crafted from old shipping pallets and other recycled materials. Reach them here. We especially liked the pre-planted herb and miniature tomato gardens, like the one in the photo.

We made several selections from among the many varieties of squash and tomatoes offered for sale. One tomato in particular was especially delicious, but we were unable to obtain the name, as the vendor was swamped with customers.

All in all, the Chattanooga Sunday Market is worth the trip, and especially if you are visiting Chattanooga for one of the other local attractions. It is open from 11:00 to 4:00.

Borer-Resistant Squash
We are growing 'Tromboncino' summer squash this year, from seeds we ordered from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. Because this squash is the species Cucurbita moschata, it is immune to predation by the squash vine borer. We were skeptical, because most C. moschata are winter squashes, with orange flesh and a hard outer skin. But these, at least while relatively small, are tender and delicious. We will have more to say about this squash as we continue to harvest them at various sizes. But one thing is for certain: we have had no borers!

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