TasteBuds: Through the Years

By Andrea Jaeger

Dear Reader,

The newest issue of TasteBuds has recently been released. Whether this is your first introduction to Chattanooga’s local food guide or you are a fervent collector, we welcome you to immerse yourself in these pages and learn about our region’s foodshed. Get to know area farmers and food producers who provide the wholesome, nourishing foods destined for our tables.

We are fortunate to live in a place where a diverse abundance of crops can be cultivated and livestock raised. An assortment of fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, eggs, dairy and more can be procured almost year round. Nearly everything we require for a complete, nutrient-dense diet can be produced in the 100 miles that surround us. Within its neatly organized pages, TasteBuds connects people to the suppliers of these well-balanced meals. 

The local food guide began in 2009, when Crabtree Farms created a small 8-page booklet that became the first resource for information about local food in the Chattanooga area. While it included just 74 local farms and restaurants, TasteBuds helped to seed our local food movement which has grown considerably and feeds the promise of a healthy future.  

Updated twice a year, each issue of TasteBuds offers inspiring and educational articles from local writers, delicious and easy recipes featuring local ingredients, a produce seasonality chart with helpful planting information, as well as local news from the region. This publication is the only of its kind, focusing expressly on local food. It offers a platform for food producers to share their stories through interviews with these real people who form the backbone of our local food movement. It gives voice the very land on which our communities are built.

Over the years, we have brought you inspiring stories of local food pioneers, teachers who incorporate growing food into their lesson plans, community advocates planting gardens in our city’s urban core, and restaurateurs creating innovative and unique dishes inspired by the ingredients found within our geographic location. We’ve shared recipes handed down generation-to-generation as well as modern twists to these favorites, equally crafted with love and local foods that warm the heart and nourish the soul. We’ve investigated the challenges that our region’s farmers face including the lack of soil quality, an aging population, and restricted access to processing facilities. We sincerely care about our region’s food producers and the sustainability that protects their landbase. We hope for a stronger local economy and a healthier community. We savor local flavor.

Not only is TasteBuds created by and about the community, but it is offered as a complimentary publication, enabling anyone to access this information and participate meaningfully in the health and harvest of the greater Chattanooga area. You can be a part of the movement, too. By spending your food dollar locally, you support Chattanooga area families, invest in your health as well as that of the environment, and participate in a more sustainable model of food production and consumption. Let us be your guide along the way.