Several years ago, I remember the Market Square Farmers’ Market getting off to a slow start every year. When it opened in the spring, there were just a few booths selling produce.
That’s not how it is anymore. This past Saturday was the first day of the market’s 11th season and it was jam-packed. Not only were there arts and crafts offerings and prepared foods like salsas, breads and chow-chows, but there were farmers selling a good number of actual crops. In all, vendors filled more than 120 booths.
Strawberries, asparagus, all kinds of lettuces and greens, cauliflower, radishes, beets, herbs and green onions. All were in plentiful supply.
I loved seeing the familiar farmers again, as well as some of the other vendors. And I really loved it that tons of customers showed up, jamming the walkways, filling up the restaurant patios and creating lines at the food trucks. I saw people I knew from all parts of town — and plenty of out-of-towners, as well. This is a good, good thing. If you didn’t make it downtown on Saturday’s opening day, try to come soon. The market opens at 9 a.m., and that’s when the best selection is available.
Until then, here are some pictures of opening day.
It was, admittedly, a little chilly when the market first opened on Saturday. But it quickly warmed up. Just ask Tory Legg, staffing her handcrafted jewelry booth, Tory Legg Designs.
Have you ever seen such a thing? These mushrooms are called lion’s mane.
We bought strawberries from the Colvin Family Farm booth. We will be regulars there this year.
We generally buy our grits there, too.
Danny Shelton is fun to talk to.
Here’s Alan with our friends Mark and Janis McNeely, visiting from Nashville.
Here’s some of her pretty cauliflower.
John Ledbetter at Hines Valley Farm will see a lot of Alan and me over the next seven to eight months.
He had some great looking greens on Saturday.
Ridgetop Gardens is a hydroponic operation in Powell, Tennessee. They had beautiful herbs and greens available.
Bok choy, left, and komatsuna offered by Musick Mountain Farm. A wonderful thing about the farmers’ market is that it encourages you to try new things.
Lots of folks were offering free range organic eggs. These were at Cedar Side Farm Fresh Produce.
Austin Childress was ably assisting customers at Dixie Lee Nursery and Garden Center.
Just look at these beautiful hydrangeas they had.
Some of the great folks staffing the Market Square Farmers’ Market booth. From left, Charlotte Tolley, Art Carmichael and Amy Hubbard. They know the answers to all questions!
I ran in to my friend Julie Webb. A downtown resident, she’s a regular like us. Can you see her cute earrings? They are shaped like those little origami peace cranes.
Here’s Rose Najar. She has a booth right across from the patio of Tupelo Honey Cafe. She’s displaying her hand-painted coasters here.
She’s also selling packets of plant markers made out of paint stirrers.
Here’s how you use them. Clever, huh?
Rose also has cute pet picture frames. (I see some of these in my friends’ futures.)
Over beside the Bill Lyons Pavilion my pal Rosa Mar was making a purchase from Greg Blankenship at the Gregory’s Greenhouse truck.
There are no rules about how farmers at this market must grow their crops. But you can be sure that if they don’t use herbicides and pesticides, they will let you know. Which is something I always look for.
Another good sign. I walk right past the crops that are “conventionally” grown. Sometimes, I try to make a point by inquiring of the farmers if they use chemicals on their crops. I like to hear them try to explain why it doesn’t matter if they do. Ha.
This has nothing to do with the market, but I noticed very cool new herb planters at Trio’s patio. Aren’t they just great?
Hope to see you on Market Square on Saturday!
The Tennessee Theatre restoration, the Regal Riviera cinema, Mast General Store, Market Square, the convention center, the Farmer’s Market and many more advances make downtown a great place to be.
This made me want to go to Market Square and graze. Love the asparagus. Love all of it. Farm to table is the way to eat!
I must get there in time to buy strawberries tomorrow. Missed those last week. Did you see how many different varieties of lettuce were at the Mountain Meadows booth? Amazing. Love our Farmers’ Market.
I agree with you all about the Farmers’ Market being awesome. You really do need to grab some strawberries, Gay. I bought some two weeks ago at the last “Winter Market” and then again last Saturday. I will continue to grab them every week they are in season. There’s just no comparison to shipped in grocery store berries.
I spent alot of time in the 70’s shopping for fresh flowers and vegetables at Market Square, wow, how the variety has florished! I will be a regular again.
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