Jonesborough’s Farmers Market and community “front porch” reopened for the business of fellowship, fresh foods, and handmade products on Saturday May 2nd. The market’s eighth season opened with live music and a veritable cornucopia of fresh greens and garlic, mushrooms and meats, berries and baked goods, tamales and tomatoes, herbs and hummus, pottery and peppers.
The 2015 market season will bring with it two treats never before offered by Jonesborough Locally Grown – a breakfast tent with a healthy menu of baked goods filled with the fruits of local farmers’ labors and a second market, Boone Street Market, that will open as soon as the Saturday market closes to provide local produce and other products the rest of the day, as well as weekdays.
“It will be exciting to have a summer season with local produce available six days a week in Jonesborough,” says Jonesborough Locally Grown Executive Director Karen Childress. “There will be 54 hours a week of access to local produce between the two markets.
“Boone Street Market has been open six months now and has been extremely well-received, by both by growers and customers. Since Boone Street Market is an extension of the Saturday market, it will adjust its operating hours during the Saturday Farmers Market season to open at noon on Saturdays.”
The breakfast tent, as well, will add a new dimension to the Jonesborough Locally Grown experience, says Saturday market Co-Manager Debbie Kruse. “With the opening of Boone Street Market and our commercial kitchen last year, we now have the opportunity to prepare healthy foods and offer them to our customers at the market,” Kruse says. “Volunteers will be preparing homemade biscuits filled with local eggs and sausage. Opening day, we also will offer a special treat, homemade blueberry scones made with Rogue Harbor blueberries. And as the fruits come in season we will offer delicious local fruit cups.
“If you like what you taste, we will give you the recipe, using all local ingredients, you can shop at the market and prepare at home.”
The breakfast tent will open early and serve until 10 a.m., or when they run out.
Also new this season will be two educational endeavors. The fourth Saturday of each month will feature special fun activities for children and youth, such as cooking, planting, and growing – and fun activities, such as a Hula Hoop party, a juggler and a scavenger hunt.
Additionally, “As a producer only market, we really do want our customers to know their farmer’s name,” says Saturday market co-manager Heidi Ehle. “To help with this we will have a weekly featured farmer. Look for the signs at the market that will tell you more about one of our producers each week, and we will give them a chance to offer samples, or a recipe, or something else special from their experience and knowledge.”
The first featured farmer was Perry Phillips, who had tomato plants for sale, as well as other vegetable and garden plants he cultivated himself.
In addition to Phillips’ and other vendors’ herbs, vegetable and ornamental bedding plants, many of the Saturday market farmers already have a wide array of fresh produce, Ehle and Kruse say. “Obviously the hoop houses and greenhouses have been busy since before the snow melted,” Ehle says, “because the line up of early produce this year is startling.”
The fresh, local smorgasbord for early May includes: kale, lettuce, chard, garlic, asparagus, mint, watercress, ramps, leeks, fava greens, pea shoots, collards, broccoli, arugula, onions, baby bok choy, fresh and dried Shitake mushrooms, hothouse tomatoes, strawberries, and microgreens. From the farms that raise livestock, there will be goat cheese, chicken, beef, pork, lamb and “eggs, eggs and more eggs,” Kruse says.
Already prepared goods will include tamales, fig muffins, Danish, hummus, couscous, jams and jellies, while crafts will include quilted items and pottery.
The Saturday market’s musical accompaniment will continue this spring with live music starting at 9 a.m. “Roy Andrade’s ‘curating’ of our groups provides a quality and variety of local music that is a big draw at our market,” Ehle says.
Any morning in downtown Jonesborough is special, but the Saturday morning experience is unique, market administrators say. “We really cannot take any credit for the beautiful townscape that is the setting for our market,” Ehle says, “but honestly, heading to Courthouse Square to see the early morning light on that street, with the train rumbling by occasionally and the farmers setting up their tables – I feel like I am in an illustration of some amazing children’s story. It’s truly magical. There is a certain timelessness about it. We are so privileged to have our market there, and the support from the town.”
Hours for the two Jonesborough Locally Grown markets are: Jonesborough Farmers Market, May 2-Oct. 31, Saturdays 8 a.m.-noon, and Boone Street Market, 101 Boone St., Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturdays noon-5 p.m.