By: Jana Jones
Johnson County Farmers Market Manager
Since its founding in 2009, the Johnson County Farmers Market (JCFM) has been looking for a place to call home. We are grateful to Danny Herman for allowing us to use his Quonset hut by Rainbow Road and Highway 167 for the first three years, and to the county for allowing us to use the courthouse parking lot for the last six years.
These locations have served us well as the community has supported us in good weather and not so good weather. But we have longed for a permanent, covered space to call our home that would allow customers to shop out of the rain and ease vendors’ fears of their tents being blown away by wind gusts that can occur out of nowhere here in the mountains.
The JCFM will be celebrating 10 years in 2018 and we are thrilled to announce that Mayor Kevin Parsons and the Town of Mountain City, with the help of the JCFM, will be applying for two grants through the USDA Rural Development Department to build a pavilion at Ralph Stout Park that will be used as a permanent home for the Farmers Market! Architect and engineer, Eric Nordmark, has designed a beautiful timber-framed pavilion and will be working with general contractor, Alan Hammons, to gather bids for the project. Pictured is Nordmark’s pencil sketch front view and aerial view that was revealed at our Harvest Celebration Dinner last Saturday.
Aside from Farmers Market on Saturday mornings, the proposed pavilion will mainly be used as an additional picnic shelter for the community and will be available to reserve for special events. The design is made up of two 30’X50’ buildings set at an angle that are attached in the center by the roof structure covering. The location at Ralph Stout Park will be behind the existing stage in the grassy area below 421.
Should the grants be fully funded, we are estimating that construction could commence as early as March 2018. Since we don’t expect the building to be completed at the start of our 2018 season, the JCFM vendors will set up tents in the vicinity of the stage area until our new pavilion home is completed.
But for the remainder of our 2017 season, the JCFM is located at the county courthouse parking lot across from the post office in downtown Mountain City, open every Saturday from 9 until noon through the end of October. We accept SNAP/EBT and currently have a program that doubles the dollars for fresh fruits and vegetables for our EBT customers.
Follow us on Facebook to keep abreast of new items offered each week, or visit us online at Johnson CountyFM.org. We welcome all to come enjoy live music, kids’ activities, sample recipes and all of the great items offered by our terrific farmers and vendors at every market!