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Local farmer’s market now open; offers much more than fresh produce

Four-year-old Kearstan Jennings makes a Mothers Day card at last week’s farmer’s market opening.
Four-year-old Kearstan Jennings makes a Mothers Day card at last week’s farmer’s market opening.

By Bonnie Davis Guy

May 7th was the opening day for the Johnson County Farmers Market located in Mountain City at the downtown courthouse parking lot. The market is open for business every Saturday from 9:00am- 12:00pm from May through October. The market features vendors with items such as fresh eggs, breads and other baked goods, fresh fruit and veggies, greens of all types, honey, jellies and jams, plants, homemade soaps, wood worked items, jewelry and art work from differing genres.
Each season brings on new themes at the market such as Springing into the Market in May, Kids at the Market in June, July is blueberry month, August equals tomatoes, September is the month for peppers and October is the fall harvest month. In addition to the wonderful products that can be found at the market, there are also old and new friends just waiting to greet you.
The Johnson County Farmers Market is also participating in the Fresh Savings Program for those using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit cards. This program works by giving you $10 in tokens to spend on fresh fruit and vegetables for every $10 you spend through SNAP, doubling your groceries. These Fresh Savings Program tokens are going to be available beginning on May 21st. Until the 21st, the farmers’ market is supplying their own matching SNAP tokens that can be used on any food item including bread, honey and jams. The program hopes to help those using SNAP benefits to not only shop smarter and get more for their money but to eat healthier. The tokens are good through the market season only.
Tamara McNaughton from TNT Farm and Greenhouse in Meadow View Virginia, one of the original vendors and creators of the market back in 2009 was open and selling all varieties of plants. The plants are not only grown locally but are certified organic. “Although we no longer live in Johnson County, I come back every spring and bring plants to sell,” said McNaughton. According to McNaughton, the farmers market came about thanks to the efforts of the Watauga Water Shed Alliance, Billy Ward, Vicki Price and many others. She is glad that the 2016 season has begun and the market is still growing and going strong.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.