Farmers’ Market grows strong in 2011 season

Gary Carver and Tori Sharp work the booth called Carver’s Little 1/2 acre.

Photo by Leslie Karnowski

Gary Carver and Tori Sharp work the booth called Carver’s Little 1/2 acre.

The Maryville Farmers’ Market is thriving this year, say organizers, with consistent good weather making for good shopping days for their Saturday market and a new location for the Wednesday market.

The market officially opened for the year on Saturday, May 7, in the parking lot at Founders Plaza between CBBC and Preservation Plaza in downtown Maryville.

Maryville Farmers’ Market coordinator Shelly Robinson said business was brisk the first day and has continued since then. “It was marvelous, the best opening day we’ve ever had. The market has gone very well this year,” she said.

Robinson said farmers are hoping for more rain. “As we get some more rain, we’ll be in good shape. The farmers are worrying about the corn, because it is having a hard time,” she said last week. “We may get some rain today or tomorrow, so they’ll probably be OK.”

Robinson said the Wednesday Farmers’ Market moved to New Providence Presbyterian Church and is held from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. each Wednesday. “We were at Anderson Lumber Co. last year, and they were great, but it wasn’t a great location because of the intersection. This year we came a little closer to downtown, and it has been going good,” she said. “It is always slow when you start a new location, but it is going well. Blackberry Farm will start coming on Wednesdays soon, and people will like that because it means more vegetables.”

Robinson said the market is a popular activity for folks on Saturday mornings, where it is open from 9 a.m. to noon. “Saturdays have been marvelous with good crowds and always good music, and we have special events.”

Robinson said Donna Dixon from Smoky Mountain Wellness does a program called “Harvesting Wellness” at the market where she does blood pressure checks and focuses on health-related topics. “We always try to incorporate wellness because wellness goes with food,” Robinson said.

“Master Gardeners come the second and fourth Saturdays and answer garden questions, and once a month we have a chef put on demonstrations. We also have music every week. Jerry Kincannon from Rocky Branch Community Center keeps us busy with music, and we’re loaded with special events.”

Robinson said the market has a new meat vendor from Wildwood Farm, and the regular vendors who have been the market since the beginning have been busy. “Vegetables such as squash and cucumbers are really starting to come in,” she said. “There are no tomatoes, but there are some ‘hothouse’ tomatoes available.”

Robinson said other vegetables, like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower; onions, new potatoes and greens are available.

“We have bakery goods every week, and Vienna Coffee is our coffee provider. They have iced tea and smoothies. Owner John Clark from Vienna also made us a special ‘Farmers’ Market’ blend coffee, so the coffee is locally roasted,” she said. “We’re all about local and fresh.”

The itinerary for the late spring and early fall is as follows:

June 25 - Master Gardeners will answer questions along with a “Sunscreen Safari” program geared toward skin cancer and music by Rosco Morgan.

July 2 - Music by Michael Bethea.

July 9 - Master Gardeners will answer questions.

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