The Johnson City Farmers Market gave a year-round market its first try on Saturday, braving colder temperatures for the sake of local products.
Earlier this month, the market’s general membership met and decided to give a year-round market a shot, said Blair Eldred, the market’s 2011 president. The winter market will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the first and third Saturdays of each month during the winter season.
“We have several vendors that are artisans or bakers, and are not limited by the weather. They’re not necessarily growing things,” Eldred said. “So we have a couple of vendors that are trying to continue though the winter.”
The vendors can offer breads, crafts or goat cheese, for example, Eldred said.
Eldred hopes the vendors will be able to sustain the market, and that decision remains up to them; though, he said, customers and supporters are giving great feedback on Facebook about the decision.
“It’s up to the vendors themselves if they have decent sales and want to continue to come out,” he said. “Ultimately, the weather may be the determining factor. If they’re calling for freezing, and it’s not going to get much above freezing, is it worth it to the vendor? I think a lot of people will be braving it.”
The Johnson City Market joins about 900 winter farmers markets across the country, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Farmers markets are considered winter markets if they operate between November and March.
A total of about 7,175 farmers markets operate throughout the United States, USDA statistics show. Results from that same survey indicate that farmers markets operating more than seven months per year have higher monthly sales than their strictly seasonal counterparts.
Visit the Johnson City Farmers Market on Facebook for more information.