Beginning April 28, the market will be open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday and Wednesday through Oct. 27. A poll of market patrons revealed that shoppers wanted a larger selection of local products, and that’s what they’re getting. Farmers Market treasurer Heather Shipley said that 75 percent of the grown food comes from within a 100-mile radius, and all of the produce is within a 150-mile radius of Johnson City.
All items will be labeled by county if they were not grown by the producer.
The market will also be introducing some children’s activities this year, and will bring back the Fresh Savings program through the AARP Foundation. The Fresh Savings program allows shoppers with SNAP benefits to run their EBT card for $10 at the market, and will get an additional $10 to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables at the market that day.
Also new to the market this year, Shipley added, is the Farmacy Fit walking incentive program. Each day of the market, participants can sign up at the info tent to walk two laps around Founders Park for $3 to spend at the market. Registration for the program is limited each day.
The market will highlight a variety of unique regional farmers including:
• Sassy’s Herbs and Spices, which processes fresh herbs and spices without using anti-clumping agents. All of Sassy’s products are gluten free, and all products are sourced from organically approved farms throughout the country and the world. Sassy’s also offers a selection of Instant Chai Teas with samples on hand to taste at the market.
• Opossum Hollow Farm is a small family farm owned and run by Ryan and Savannah Smith and their little girl, Opal. They’ll have fresh tea breads, hearty seasonal jams and crispy refrigerator pickles and organically grown produce. They’ll be bringing some new items for their fourth year at the market, including an artisanal line of jams and a “Bread of the Week.”
• Mason Joe Coffee started as a small-batch coffee roaster six years ago, and has grown to operating a mobile coffee trailer selling coffee-based drinks. Mason Joe Coffee sources organically grown coffee beans from coffee farms around the world that focus on sustainability. They’ll have a new drink on the menu this year for non-coffee drinkers – Italian sodas with a variety of flavor options like raspberry, strawberry, cherry and vanilla. Also, sweet pastry treats from local bakers will be available.
•Tater Hill Farm started out growing, you guessed it, taters, 40 years ago, but started branching out to offer other produce about 10 years ago. A staple in the Johnson City Farmer’s market since 2013, the guys with the beards will be bringing their best maters and taters from Buladean, North Carolina.