Townsend residents and visitors now have access to fresh produce, and vendors now have a new market to sell their products.
The Townsend Farmers’ Market began in mid-August, and crowds are flocking to purchase late season fresh vegetables, fruits, plants, baked goods and honey.
“We’ve had phenomenal crowds and things are rolling along,” said Carl Goodman, a volunteer whose efforts helped make the Farmers’ Market a reality. He said the committee organizers have been pleasantly surprised by the community response, especially since the market started late in the year.
The Farmers’ Market, which takes place every Tuesday at 4 p.m. in Townsend’s Trillium Cove Shopping Village, East Lamar Alexander Parkway, was created from discussion among the Townsend business organization. Goodman said he couldn’t take credit for the idea but was on board when it was suggested. He said his philosophy is to be an active community member. “There’s an old saying, ‘Wherever you are, be there.’”
Goodman said he became involved on the Townsend Farmers’ Market committee as one of the owners of the Trillium Cove Shopping Village. Goodman, who owns a national human resources consulting firm, attributes the success of the market to the committee of volunteers who organize and coordinate the event every week.
Goodman said the committee members liked the idea of having the market on a weekday because it provided the vendors another outlet for their fresh produce and products. He explained that the vendors like to participate in the Maryville Farmers’ Market on Saturdays but also benefit from the Townsend market. If the fruits or vegetables ripen over the weekend, it allows vendors to sell them fresh during the week since the produce could rot by the next farmers’ market in Maryville. “The vendors benefit by a second market during the week,” Goodman said. He also said the farmers’ market hours of operation from 4 to 7 p.m. allow Townsend residents and visitors to pick up fresh products on their way home.
The business owners in Trillium Cove Shopping Village have embraced the farmers market and have agreed to stay open later on Tuesdays to accommodate the shoppers.
“This seemed to be an excellent opportunity, and it made great sense,” Goodman said.
Townsend Mayor Pat Jenkins said that while the Townsend Farmers Market has had short run this season, it was a success. “The first couple weeks they had tremendous turnout and, by the third or fourth week, it rained three inches. Now we’re at the end of the season,” he said.
On Sept. 23 there were about half a dozen vendors and 100 customers. “For a start up operation, they’ve done well,” he said.
The farmers market committee plans to do the weekly event again next year. “They intend to do it again next year, and they intend to do it bigger and better,” Jenkins said.
The mayor said the event gets people out of their cars and gives them a chance to mingle and learn what’s going on in town. “Residents meet each other and talk about issues,” he said. “I just think it’s a good event.”