By: Rebecca Herman
The dark clouds could not keep Johnson Countys local farmers, artisans, and customers away from the Johnson County Farmers Market (JCFM) on Saturday. This was no ordinary day at the market because Pick Tennessee, a Department of Agriculture campaign, came to the farmers market to spread awareness about buying and selling local products.
Amy Tavalin and Debbie Ball, Pick Tennessee representatives, came to Johnson County to showcase the JCFM, which is a producer only market. Everything sold at the JCFM is either made or grown by the seller. People want to know who grows their food, said Tavalin. Robert Back, JCFM manager, verifies each farm and seller in order to protect customers. We want to promote the agriculture and healthy eating, said Back.
Beginning at the end of May, JCFM opens with a small number of vendors with representation from each area of Johnson County; but according to Back, the number of vendors fluctuates throughout the summer. In early summer most of the vendors are artisans and farmers who have greenhouses or hoop houses. As the summer progresses the number of vendors increases. At peak season, as many as 25 vendors can be found at the farmers market.
Similarly the fruits and vegetables change throughout the summer as well. Right now blueberries, herbs, and various types of greens are available in abundance and in upcoming weeks, potatoes, tomatoes and green peppers will be seen at the market. Every week customers can find something new and unique depending on who sets up a stand.
Not only is the farmers market great for finding healthy food, but its a great opportunity for the community to be together and show support local growers, said State Representative Timothy Hill. Community members are able to gather and share stories, tips, and recipes. Vendors are eager to share their knowledge about the unique produce and products they have to offer.
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