Seven Things You May Not Know (and one encouraging photo).

Don't mind me. I'm being eggs-istential.

Seven Things You May Not Know (and one encouraging photo).
Daniel Hernandez, Brian McDonald, Main St. Farmers' Market, Chattanooga, Tenn.

Let's Help the Hernandez Family
Each Wednesday, so many of us buy our produce from Hernandez Family Farms. From the far side of Monteagle, Daniel, Jennifer and their children drive to the Main St. Farmers' Market, bringing affordable, gorgeous produce – sweet potatoes, spinach, arugula, squash, pumpkin bread – grown with love.

But, they won't be at market this Wednesday.

Two weeks ago, the winter storms and bullish winds destroyed their newly built greenhouses and tunnels.

Images from GoFundMe

Plant starts, mature produce they were planning to sell – all of it gone.

A friend started a GoFundMe for the Hernandez family. The goal: $5000 to purchase either a new or used high tunnel so their farming – and financial livelihood – can continue.

"As a start-up farm business, the Hernandez Family invested in the new tunnels to be their winter income stream by growing organic vegetables and seed starts in the greenhouse tunnels," the fundraiser reads.

Please consider donating online to help.

On Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, Food as a Verb will be a guest vendor at the Main St. Farmers' Market selling t-shirts. A good portion of all our sales will go straight to the Hernandez family.

Daniel and Jennifer – thank you for the difference you make in our lives. We're ready to buy so much food once you return.

Food as a Verb inaugural, historic, kick-a$s t-shirts

Local WIC Use Increasing? Decreasing? We've Got Answers

Earlier this winter, we discussed the national rate for participation in Women, Infants, Children (WIC) – a national food nutritional supplement program.

In Tennessee, rates are increasing. (Data generously provided by Nashville's Tennessee Justice Center.)

Tennessee WIC use, Tenn. Justice Center

For several weeks, we've been trying to locate Hamilton County numbers.

Are they increasing? Or decreasing?

Thankfully, the very kind Lisa Vincent, Maternal and Child Health Program Manager for the Hamilton County Health Dept., returned calls and answered emails, offering updated numbers.

Locally, WIC use is going up.

WIC, Hamilton Co., Tennessee

Vincent clarified a few points:

Recipients must prove residency, then, after nutritional risk is assessed, WIC participants receive an EBT card onto which monthly benefits accrue. Vincent said the Health Dept. has clear goals for setting up appointments for new WIC recipients.

"Within 10 days for a new mom and baby," said Vincent, "and within 30 days for all others."

Monthly benefits are based on a variety of factors, including: income levels, family size, age of children and nutritional needs.

Vincent's work is important to this region and mirrors what we've seen and heard – hunger is increasing locally. WIC is designed to help.

Thank you, Ray Bassett.

Ray Bassett and WUTC's Scenic Roots are such gifts to this Tennessee Valley. Our NPR affiliate "offers conversations that matter" and Bassett, a pro's pro (who also worked closely with the recently deceased Charles Osgood) serves our city so well through these intelligent, big-hearted conversations.

Not long ago, I realized this firsthand.

Bassett invited me to the studio; normally, I'm on the other side of a reporter's questions, but this hour together was a delight. (His editing made me sound smarter and smoother than I actually am.)

Thank you, Ray.

In case you missed it, here's the Food as a Verb episode – Digging Into Stories of Local Food – on WUTC's Scenic Roots.

If You Like It, You Should Put a Wing On It

A decade or so ago, our family started keeping chickens. Our kids were young, we wanted some eggs and it all seemed like a good way to get our hands dirty and learn a few things.

Photo by someone not named Sarah Unger.

Since then, we've had four more flocks, all of them delightful and productive and surprisingly instructive. Hens have such distinct personalities: wildly brave, standoffish, gentle, goofy. Many of you discovered the same joys of backyard hens. Our good friend Andrea in Red Bank just got a flock.

"We have chickens now and love it!" she said. "It’s our new form of meditation. We just sit in the coop and watch the girls."

Food as a Verb thanks Main Street Meats, our sustaining partner, for its generous support.

Main Street Meats is a modern neighborhood butcher shop and restaurant in Chattanooga’s Southside deeply committed to animal care, local farms and land stewardship that promises an experience “as farm-to-table as it gets.”

They're funny little creatures, scratching around, taking dirt baths, laying such beautiful eggs, flying up to branches, fence posts or, well, ...

Photo by someone not named Sarah Unger.

So, we're glad to announce a local program that helps other families start their own backyard flock:

The Hamilton County 4-H Chick Chain program.

"Youth will get 12 chicks in April," said Maria Sabin, the county's 4-H agent. "They participate in a class to learn how to raise chicks and another class, later in the year, to learn about poultry judging."

Registration is open through Feb. 15.

You can learn about biosecurity and business, state fairs and selling eggs. Just remember, kids:

The bigger the chicken, the harder they fowl.

This Class Will Help Your Spring or Summer Garden (And It's Free)

We're also pleased to announce Umbrel Gardens's new Seed Starting class at Gaining Ground. Katie Hinson is generously offering two classes at 11 am and 12.30 pm – choose the time that works for you – on Feb. 10 at Gaining Ground in Highland Park.

Hinson, whose Umbrel Gardens creates and installs edible landscapes and custom kitchen gardens, will guide participants in how to start seeds. If you're interested in a spring or summer garden, this could be life-changing.

Sign up here,

Bravo, Los Guapos, Our New Skillet Champs!

Skillet curling, First Horizon Pavilion, Chattanooga, Tenn.

Beating Parkway Pourhouse in back-to-back games, Los Guapos won the sixth annual Skillet Curling Championship on Sunday with a reported score of 11-5.

"The tourney was a success by any measure," said Phil Harris, tournament chair.

  • 32 teams, the largest field ever.
  • More than $35,000 raised, the largest amount ever.

"We had the best games I have ever seen," Harris added, "the ice was perfect every day."

Naming the event's sponsors – Ice on the Landing, Lodge Cast Iron, Intersign Corporation, Naked River Brewing – Harris is already "looking forward to planning for 2025."

Oh, we're planning alright. Our team is already set and, in the wise words of John Coffelt: remember to stretch.

It's Good, Man.

We're over-the-moon excited for this Sunday's feature. We spent an afternoon at Goodman Expert Coffee Roasters recently, meeting the brilliantly delightful Sofia Cuadros and equally fascinating Ian Goodman.

It was coffee like we've never experienced it.


See you, Sunday.

David Cook, Sofia Cuadros, Goodman Coffee Roasters, St. Elmo, Tennessee

It's Around The Corner + Here Before We Know It

Finally, some reassuring words: winter won't last forever. I slipped a half dozen times on the ice, cursed it a half dozen more and am still thawing out. Ugh. Brutal. Started looking for time-shares in Boca Raton. To all the summer people out there, these are tough days.

Earlier this week, I saw this soft, gentle reminder that springtime is just beginning to yawn and think about stretching awake.


Photo by Mabry Cook

Unless otherwise noted, all photography by Sarah Unger.

All design by Alex DeHart.

All words by David Cook. This story is 100% human generated; no AI chatbot was used in the creation of this content.

Story ideas, questions, feedback? Interested in sponsorship or advertising opportunities? Email us: and

Food as a Verb thanks our sustaining partners for their generous support.

Regional Farmers Markets

  • Main St. Farmers Market, Corner of W. 20th and Chestnut St., near Finley Stadium

Wednesday, 4 - 6pm (Note: the Thanksgiving week market was held on Tuesday.)

  • Brainerd Farmers Market, Grace Episcopal Church, 20 Belvoir Ave,

Saturday, 10am - noon

  • Chattanooga Market, 1820 Carter Street

Sunday, 11am - 4pm

  • Ooltewah Farmers Market, The Ooltewah Nursery

Thursday, 3 - 6pm 

  • Signal Mountain Farmers Market

Pre-order online for Thursday pick-up between 4 - 6pm at Bachman Community Center

  • St. Albans Farmers Market, 7514 Hixson Pike

Saturday, 9.30am - 12.30pm with a free pancake breakfast every third Saturday  

  • Walker County Farmers Market

Wednesday, 2 - 5 pm, Rock Spring Ag. Center 

Saturday, 9 am - 1 pm, downtown Lafayette, Georgia

To include your farmers market, email

Dig in. (It's free)