Life On Lookout

Weekly Farmer's Market A Must-See

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The Lookout Farmer’s Market, open Thursday from 3 to 7, offers a lot more than just the latest local produce. Fresh bread, meat and eggs are weekly staples, as well as ready-made products like hummus, smoothies and fruit and nut bars. You can grab dinner from a food cart, hang out and listen to live music or buy a gift from one of the many market artisans.

It’s not just about buying healthy, organic, sustainable food – it’s also about community.

“It’s not just about buying healthy, organic, sustainable food – it’s also about community,” says market organizer Lori Carter. “It’s an opportunity to hang out and talk to your friends and neighbors. After only 4 weeks of starting the market, we heard stories of people coming together to collaborate on a new project, develop a business arrangement, arrange play dates for their young children.”

The market hosts 16 to 20 vendors each week, most traveling no more than 30 miles. That farm-to-table trip couldn’t get much shorter without growing it in your own backyard. But should you want to give it a go, they also sell plants.

Carter recognizes farmers market shopping requires a mindset shift for our buy-in-bulk culture, particularly compared to Europeans who shop outdoor markets almost daily. Still, she feels Lookout has the right demographic to support the endeavor.

She plans to make it a year-round market, stressing that local food is a lot more than just tomatoes in July. Most people grocery shop every week, and buying it from neighbor farmers is healthier for you and the economy.

When you buy local, that money bounces around our local economy at least 7 times. When you buy from a big box store your money goes to a big corporation somewhere and never comes back. It just makes sense that every community eventually have its own market.
- Lori Carter

A Lookout resident since the early 90s, Carter moved from Fairyland to Hinkle in 2001, converting her generous yard to a homestead farm a few years ago. With a passion for local food, she views the market as a service to her neighbors.

“You don’t make a lot of money doing this,” she laughs. “I originally thought it would take a few hours each week – it’s definitely a full time job. But it’s worth it. I want to see everybody have access to good, healthy, sustainably grown, fresh food.”

The market is located in front of Georgia’s City Hall, where The Mountain Market used to stand until burning to the ground in 2007. It’s now located in Tennessee’s business district, leaving the patch of grass unused for almost a decade. “We’ve wanted to do something with that lot for a long time, and I’m thrilled to see the positive reaction so far,” says Georgia-side Mayor Sandy Gothard.

The city purchased the lot several years ago, and while there has been talk of developing it for retail space and a new city hall, no firm plans have taken shape. In the meantime, the market will do its part each week to energize the space. Carter hopes people will not only be customers, but also volunteers. She’d like to see parents offer face painting or other activities for kids, or local choirs perform live music. She’s even looking for committee and board members.

“We want to work closely with community organizations to forge as many partnerships as possible,” she says. “We just want to stress to people that before you run down the mountain to a big box store, come support your local farmers’ market.”

For more information, including a sampling of what’s sold each week, visit the market’s Facebook page.

Life On Lookout

Weekly Farmer's Market A Must-See

The Northshore may be getting a Publix, but Lookout Mountain residents now have an even fresher shopping option. And, it’s ON the mountain.

Life On Lookout

Weekly Farmer's Market A Must-See

The Northshore may be getting a Publix, but Lookout Mountain residents now have an even fresher shopping option. And, it’s ON the mountain.

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