East Tennessee welcomes the community’s first indoor and year round farmers market, the Boone Street Market. BSM exclusively sells local food products from farmers and small processors located within 100 miles of the Jonesborough store location. Luckily, this region covers parts of three states, Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina in some of the country’s most productive farmland. The market currently sources from 94 vendors and includes staples like eggs, milk, bread and fresh seasonal produce as well as more unusual items like fresh trout, kombucha, and shiitake mushrooms.
Boone Street Market operates on a non-profit model and offers most products on consignment. Between October 2014 and April 2015, the market grossed $132,000 with eighty percent of that revenue going back to local farmers and small food processors. These were sales done in the dead of winter and total sales in 2015 could reach $400,000. This represents a great economic boost for small farmers by making it convenient for consumers to purchase local products. In addition, the market has also created two full time positions and been an outlet for over 400 hours of community volunteer service.
To help small farmers create value added products, the market also sought donations to create a commercial kitchen on site. Thursday through Saturday, the market uses the kitchen to make a delicious variety of foods for lunch. The kitchen is also available to rent for a small fee. All products made in the kitchen can be sold in the store.
The Boone Street Market isn’t just a sales outlet, they are an organization deeply committed to helping the community. Market manager, Matt Dobson, offers coaching to farmers on marketing and product development and has helped four new farms get started selling to the market. He will gladly take the time to help customers understand product inputs and farmer growing practices, so people know what they are buying. He also graciously helped another non-profit, Build It Up East TN, till seven new gardens for a project aimed at teaching families how to market garden this year.
Boone Street Market is located at 101 Boone St. Jonesborough, TN at the corner of Boone and Main streets. Their hours are 10am-7pm Monday through Friday and 12pm-5pm on Saturday. You can reach them at (423) 753-4722 or visit their website or Facebook page.