By Bethany Anderson
This Saturday the Johnson County Farmers Market moves back to it’s “Summer Season” home of Ralph Stout Park in Mountain City. During the “Winter Season” the market moves indoors at the Johnson County Welcome Center so that it can be a real, year-round market. It is a rarity in our area and much appreciated by both the farmers and other vendors who sell their good there as well as the shoppers who frequent the market looking for local goods.
During the Summer Season, the market expands quite noticeably to include many more vendors and fresh seasonal produce. The outdoor venue allows more space to spread out and the season allows for more options when it comes to the produce available.
“I can’t wait for the outdoor season to start!” says one JCFM shopper. “I love that the market is available year-round, but I really look forward to the outdoor season all year.”
When asked what they are most looking forward to this Summer Season, vendor Sharon Springer of Soul Shine Soaps replied, “Seeing everyone, old friends and making new ones.” Market shopper Denise deRibert said, “Friends, food, and flowers!”
This season the market will welcome many favorite vendors from years past as well as new vendors and options for shoppers to enjoy. Grace Hands Massage Therapy joined the market during their “Winter Season” and will continue with the market in the coming season. There will also be a return from semi-retirement from local woodworker Webb Griffith, who has become a market favorite over the many years he’s participated as a vendor.
Each week the market features live music with local musicians. This year there will also be a “Market Cafe” tent for people to sit and enjoy the food and coffee available for sale while they listen to music.
The GoJoCo Kids’ Tent will also be back this year thanks to the generous work by our local GoJoCo Council and the grants provided by their efforts. Just like in years past, there will be a weekly food-related project for kids to get some “hands-on” time learning about healthy eating habits, as well as a physical challenge to get them up and moving. For each time that children participate, they will earn tokens that can then be used to make purchases at the market, which is meant to encourage children to take what they have learned about healthy eating habits and use those skills in a real-life setting.
“My kids just love it,” said a local mother. “They get so excited to earn the tokens and make their own decisions on what to buy at the market.”
The Market’s mission statement includes the fact that their purpose is to “strengthen a sustainable, local agriculture and food economy.” In keeping with this, EBT (Food Stamps) and Credit Cards are accepted at the Market Manager’s Tent, which gives shoppers the flexibility that they are used to getting in other retail environments. The JCFM hopes that it will encourage shoppers to frequent the market in addition to local grocery stores.
The Johnson County Farmers Market will be at the park each Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon, through the end of October, then they will move back to their “Winter Market” home at the Welcome Center. The market is open to new vendors joining as well, as long as they follow the market’s guidelines of “Home-Made or Home-Grown” products.
For more information on the Johnson County Farmers Market, check their website at johnsoncountyfm.org email them at [email protected] or call the Market Manager at (423) 291-9145.