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Shake the hand that feeds you: Jonesborough Farmers Market to celebrate National Farmers Market Week

Mackenzie Moore • Aug 7, 2018 at 11:30 PM

Grab your produce bags and make your way to Jonesborough, Johnson City or Erwin this week to join the national celebration of homegrown produce during National Farmers Market Week.

And the Jonesborough Farmers Market on Courthouse Square downtown has special activities planned on Aug. 11.

This week, the Jonesborough market will highlight local farmers and their products, and Saturday’s weekly market will feature a salsa bar, cooking demonstration, Instagram photo contest and a children’s scavenger hunt.

Whichever market you visit, you might want to make an early start.

Heather Shipley, treasurer at the Johnson City Farmers Market, advised shoppers to arrive early to guarantee a wide array of produce will be available.

“We are always promoting vegetables in the prime season and put out the freshest produce,” Shipley said. “We have several things going on despite not having anything planned specifically for National Farmers Market Week, and we stay very busy.

“Do arrive early because most vendors here are selling out by noon as far as fresh tomatoes, corn and peaches.”

The Jonesborough market, operated by the nonprofit organization Jonesborough Locally Grown, aims to showcase the importance of shopping locally and eating homegrown produce.

Shelley Crowe, interim executive director of Jonesborough Locally Grown, said the economic impact of the market benefits not only the community, but consumers’ health as well.

“Most consumers know very little about farming,” Crowe said. “At a farmers market, they can talk directly with the farmer and learn about their products and farming practices. Plus, the food is fresher and tastes better when it's recently harvested and didn't have to travel far from the farm.

“In 2015, direct-to-consumer revenue at farmers’ markets totaled $711 million. That revenue helps support local economies because when you buy directly from farmers at a local market, they get a hundred percent of your food dollar.”

The revenue farmers receive in exchange for their products at the farmers’ market is more than five times what they earn by selling products such as milk, fruit and vegetables at a commercial grocery store.

“Farmers receive only 15 cents of every food dollar that consumers spend at traditional food outlets,” Skip Jones, president of Jonesborough Locally Grown, said. “At a farmers market, all of your food dollar goes to your local farmer, and the food is better.”

How do we support our local farmers? Shop locally.

“Spend as much of your food dollars as possible at the farmers market,” Crowe said. “Meet the farmers, get to know them and shake the hand that feeds you.”

Jonesborough Locally Grown’s mission is to connect farmers, food and community. The market is every Saturday until Oct. 20 at 8 a.m.-noon. For more information, visit www.jonesboroughlocallygrown.org.

Jonesborough Market Saturdays, 8 a.m.-noon
Johnson City Market Wednesdays and Saturdays, 7 a.m.-2 p.m.
Erwin Market Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

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