It's a well-kept secret that we’re into the chestnut season in Chattanooga, and that’s a bit of a shame. People are missing out on a treat that has a long history in the area.
In her book, "Chattanooga Landmarks: Exploring the History of the Scenic City," local historian Jennifer Crutchfield points out that "in the Chattanooga valley, the American chestnut was part of the landscape and lore well before written records exist." Ancient Cherokee called the chestnut the "bread tree" and ground the nuts into a flour for making chestnut cornbread. Later in our history, "Chattanooga saw more than its share of chestnut-based commerce as the timber flowed through its valley to help build railroads, furnish homes and feed the hunger for the iconic roasted chestnut treat."