{Local Milk}: A Chattanooga, TN Food Blog

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our first jar of raw cow’s milk from Fall Creek Farms
rainbow chard farmers market
rainbow chard from Fall Creek Farms
chattanooga main st farmers market flowers
Fresh flowers & herbs from Alexanna Farms in Wildwood, GA. The past couple of weeks she’s had a variety of nettles, sorrel, and purple & green asparagus… all quite coveted. And her chicken eggs are some of my favorites, the yolks are rich & orange, fresh enough to easily poach.
locavore: one who eats food grown locally whenever possible
The title {local milk} was inspired by a new found love of both raw milk and Chattanooga. Milk is that basic building block of mammalian life: our first source of nutrients as infants. Milk is our nutritional cradle, a primal food. It’s creamy, porcelain, and sweet with myriad permutations: butter, cream, kefir, yogurt, ice cream, and cheeses. Chattanooga, like milk, is what I was born and raised on, and I believe it is proving that its potential for change is as abundant.

chattanooga main st farmers market chalk boards
sustainable meat & produce at the Main St. Market
local colored eggs
free range eggs from Fall Creek Farms
chattanooga main st farmers market radishes
local radishes
Spring radishes. Pair with butter (local & raw = superlative), fresh bread, and sea salt for a traditional French snack that makes for a satisfying lunch. It sounds deceptively simple, but I cannot urge you strongly enough to try it; the spicy crunch of radishes combined with unctuous butter, bright salt, and a chewy, crusty bread is some sort of alchemy.
Main St. Market, Wednesdays 4-6; Chattanooga, TN
ball mason jar raw milk
{local milk} is about a few things. It is, first and foremost, about the ever growing food community in Chattanooga, TN. It is about farm to table food: local, fresh, seasonal, and sustainable. From Zarzour’s to St. John’s, I’ve been eating in Chattanooga for going on thirty years, and {local milk} is about the resident chefs & restaurants that inspire my own cooking. It is about raw milk and fresh eggs, pork and spring chickens, nettles and sorrel. It’s about cooking & recipes: simply prepared, vernacular food as well as transforming farmhouse produce into haute cuisine for the home cook. It’s about homemade cheeses and warm summer tomatoes (not tomatoes from !@#$ing Mexico in February! Whole Foods I’m looking distastefully at you). It is also simply about existing: art, music, the texture of this terrestrial life.
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local duck eggs
The back-story, sad but true: I hardly knew what real food was growing up. I grew up on Red Food and Kroger: Pop Tarts, Cocoa Puffs, Kraft American Cheese, and JIF peanut butter. We ate at Wendy’s on Sunday after church, and Friday night dinner was fried cheese sticks at Applebee’s, weekday lunches at Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and Chick-fil-A. My only experience with local, home cooked food as a child was at Grandmother’s. She took my little brother and I to the farmer’s market where she would haggle over the price of sweet corn and buy brown paper bags full of fat green beans, and later we sat on the back porch shucking corn, snapping beans, and cracking walnuts collected from the backyard. Her kitchen was chaotic, perpetually covered in a patina of flour, cookie jars hidden behind mail spilling out of precarious stacks on the countertops. But there was always home-cooked food: bacon grease buttermilk cornbread from a cast iron skillet, drop biscuits, oatmeal raisin cookies, turnip greens, mashed potatoes, and cornmeal pan fried okra. {local milk} is also for her & my gratitude for the cooking genes I’m certain she passed down to me. What’s an earnest, agrarian food blog without some Grandmother love, after all?
Despite growing up on processed & fast food, I didn’t develop a taste for it. I always wanted something more. My favorite food as a small child was mushrooms browned in butter & sherry at Town & Country (where there now stands a Walgreens on the corner of Frasier and North Market). I remember, not without some degree of emotion born of gratitude, distinctly each first bite of real food: my first salad of tender baby greens with a balsamic vinaigrette when I was twelve; the first piece of toast smeared with nutella when I was seven (which I went home and tried to recreate it, pouring Hershey’s syrup on a piece of white bread…a disgusting failure); my first white wine steamed mussel at age nine; the first cup of cocoa made with aztec chocolate, whole milk, and a fresh grating of nutmeg when I was ten; and my first bite of proscuitto in Italy when I was fifteen. I could go on. Each bite of real food was a revelation, an epiphany that changed me, pushing me further towards my passion for food and cooking. I immediately knew the difference between those foods and the processed fast foods we ate at home. And I preferred them, intensely.{local milk} is for the people, businesses, and farmers that are making Chattanooga a place I’m pleased to call home, a place I’ve finally grown to love. It wasn’t always that way. The Northshore and Downtown are dense with memories milling about like quiet ghosts. As a teenager I was ambivalent at best about Chattanooga, taking it for-granted that I would move away when I was older. I spent the last fifteen years trying to get out. I moved to New Orleans, California, and travelled around Europe every chance I could, only to find myself inevitably back on Tremont each time.
chattanooga main st farmers market velo coffee
bags of locally roasted Velo coffee at the market…cut out the middle man & buy at the market, keeping resources in the community
But I’ve changed over the past decade and so has Chattanooga. The flourishing of creative & artisan foods has me more excited than I’ve ever been to call Chattanooga home, from the handmade sausages at Link 41 to the meticulous patisserie of The Hot Chocolatier to Chat’O Brasserie bringing foams and sous vide to the Northshore to the bicycle delivered, micro-roasted coffee beans from Velo. I’m into creative flavor pairings, farm to table food, artisan production, and sustainable practices, and excited by the proliferation of like minded people. {local milk} was created to share this passion for local food & seasonal recipes…as well as to share my illegal cheese schemes, supper club aspirations, confectionery designs, and underground restaurant plot…
So. Welcome to {local milk}!
*we here at {local milk} are not saints (shocking, I know)
but we strive to use seasonal, local food as much as possible

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