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Jonesborough and Johnson City farmers markets move toward opening days

Tony Casey • Apr 19, 2017 at 11:08 PM

With winter well behind gardeners, farmers and consumers of fresh and locally sourced foods, farmers market season is upon us.

This Saturday will be opening day for the Johnson City Farmers Market; May 6 will be the first day of the outdoor version of the Jonesborough Farmers Market.

Organizers with the markets say there’s a lot of buzz surrounding their respective opening days.

The Johnson City Farmers Market will kick off its second year in the Pavilion at Founders Park — it was previously located in the big parking lot next to State of Franklin Road. It opens Saturday at 7 a.m. and runs through 2 p.m., with the same hours on Wednesdays.

Jess Price, president of the Johnson City Farmers Market for the past four years, said his vendors and their prospective customers are excited to tackle another season of farming, buying and selling. And with only a certain amount of room in the Pavilion, vendors are vying to get in to sell their goods.

“There's a waiting list to get in,” Price said.

Approximately 200 spots were available in the open parking lot, but the new venue only accommodates about 80 vendors. Price said Johnson City is looking to help with that, as well as with the number of parking spots.

Excitement always surrounds the ever-present and delicious Auntie Ruth’s Doughnuts trailer, and Price said while the goal is to offer healthy and fresh food options, he’s not going to turn away extra farmers attendees who come in to get a doughnut, too.

Regional produce, plants, crafts, food and drinks are all available at the Johnson City Farmers Market. SNAP benefits are also accepted to get more of this farm-produced food into the hands of people who need it.

Jonesborough Farmers Market is in a slightly different situation, as some of its offerings are availed to customers all year long at the Boone Street Market. But that doesn’t mean there’s not excitement surrounding the seasonal opening of the outdoor market.

After all, it was out of the outdoor farmers market — held next to the Washington County Courthouse  — that the year-round Boone Street Market blossomed. Opening day for Jonesborough’s farmers market is Saturday, May 6, from 8 a.m. to noon, with each subsequent Saturday through October dedicated to the same schedule and sale of produce and other goods.

The Boone Street Market is the only year-round market of its kind in the U.S. to develop out of a community farmers market.

Erin Gieber, local food coordinator, said you can get milk, eggs, cheese and other locally sourced items at the Boone Street Market at any time, but the farm-fresh offerings at the Jonesborough Farmers Market are only available during the outdoor season.

The reason for that, the people at the farmers market are proud to say, is because everything they sell is from within 100 miles of Jonesborugh, and everyone who sells in downtown Jonesborough actually grows what they sell.

In Johnson City, what’s for sale might be purchased from someone else and then sold at the farmers market.

“We want folks to meet the folks that are growing these foods,” Giebner said.

Produce, plants, local meat, fresh breads, pottery, pet treats and woodworking items are all availed from vendors there.

Giebner said it’s been fun to watch the popularity of movements like what’s happening in Jonesborough.

“The community is building and people are becoming more aware of the food they're getting and feeding their family,” she said.

To learn more about the Johnson City Farmers Market and Jonesborough Farmers Market, go to their respective Facebook pages.

Email Tony Casey at [email protected]. Follow Tony Casey on Twitter @TonyCaseyJCP. Like him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tonycaseyjournalist.

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