Two gifts for you: arugula pesto recipe and one of the top meals in the US

We're constantly stumbling into one very hard truth: growing food for a living is tremendously difficult. We marvel at those who do it well.

Two gifts for you: arugula pesto recipe and one of the top meals in the US
Okra, Main St. Farmers' Market, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Oct. 4, 2023

Here at Overgrown and Overwhelmed Farms, where weeds seem like our predominant crop, we are constantly stumbling into one very hard truth:

Growing food for a living is tremendously difficult.

Those who do it well? They're like rock stars, civic heroes. I am repeatedly humbled by our local farmers and marvel at their commitment, ingenuity, intelligence and love for growing good food.

Like Eric Hanson of Hissing Possum Farm in Tunnel Hill, Georgia.

Eric is kind and inviting like a college professor (which he is) and creative and dynamic like a professional musician (yep, also). He also grows some very good arugula, which he sells every Wednesday at Main St. Farmers' Market and every Saturday at Brainerd Farmers' Market.

Squash, Main St. Farmers' Market

Arugula is a resilient, versatile, spicy and quick-adapting green that grows three seasons, sometimes four. I eat it five nights a week ... some from our garden, mostly from Hissing Possum.

(This is a good time to plant your own arugula for fall and overwintering. I buy seeds from High Mowing Seeds, Southern Exposure and Territorial Seed. The variety I love best? Esmee.)

At the market last week, Eric set out a bowl of warm bread next to homemade arugula pesto.

One bite. Then, two. Delicious. I asked for the recipe which – thank you, Eric – is found at the end of today's column.

This Sunday, we're featuring local chef Khaled AlBanna and Calliope, his Modern Levantine restaurant on MLK Ave. Food & Wine named one of his dishes one of the best meals in the US. He's telling us a story, Chattanooga. If you haven't gone by to listen – and eat – it's time.

Khaled AlBanna, Calliope, Chattanooga, Tennessee

We've asked some local farmers to contribute to our Wednesday column. Today, here's Eric Hanson and Ellie Jenkins of Hissing Possum Farm.

Hello Food as a Verb community,

We are thrilled to have been asked to contribute recipes, wit, wisdom, or anything else that comes to our mind.

Ellie and I grew up in very different geographical locations.

Ellie is a native of coastal Georgia, not a fan of fall and especially winter. I am from the frozen tundra of Wisconsin ... love fall, like winter, melt when the temperature is over 80 degrees.

At our house, Hissing Possum Farm, we have certain foods of summer stashed in the freezer that bring a smile because they remind us that summer will be just around the corner.

We have also discovered a few great substitutes for our favorite summer delights. During the fall and winter, turn your basil pesto recipe into arugula pesto.

It’s easy as can be and will remind you that warmer days aren’t far away. I rarely measure ingredients when I cook, so here's an estimated recipe to make about one cup of arugula pesto in your food processor.

Experiment and make it your own. We look forward to seeing you at the market.


  • 4 ounces of arugula
  • 6 or more garlic cloves (You cannot have enough garlic.)
  • ½ cup of walnuts or pine nuts. You can use more or less depending on your taste
  • Drizzle enough olive oil during the processing to reach your desired consistency
  • Salt to taste

All photography by Sarah Unger. Visit

Story ideas? Interested in sponsorship opportunities + supporting our work? Feedback or questions? Email David Cook at This story is 100% human generated; no AI chatbot was used in the creation of this content.

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

  • 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)