The Oak Ridge Farmers Market opens for its 39th season in Historic Jackson Square on Saturday, April 18.
The market will be open from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.
The market will also be open on Wednesdays beginning May 6.
Here’s what’s new at the market this year:
- Senior Day every Wednesday! Seniors over the age of 60 get 5 percent off their purchases at the Oak Ridge Farmers’ Market.
- FARM Fan Club—Members receive text reminders and shopping rewards. To sign up, visit the website at www.EastTNFarmMarkets.org.
- Kids’ Day, May 23, from 9-11:30 a.m., with live farm animals, crafts, games, and a FARM scavenger hunt for children ages 5 to 12!
The Oak Ridge Farmers’ Market will also host live music and workshops on topics such as herb gardening and composting all summer long.
The market is run by East Tennessee Farmers Association for Retail Marketing (FARM), a nonprofit organization. Established in 1976, FARM is Tennessee’s longest continuously operating farmers’ market organization. FARM also operates two Knoxville farmers’ markets on Ebenezer Road on Tuesdays from 3-6 p.m., and in Lakeshore Park on Fridays from 3-6 p.m.
FARM vendors will offer a wide variety of spring bedding plants, fresh produce, grass-fed and pasture-raised meats, artisan bread and cheese, local honey, and fresh eggs. As the season goes on, they offer the freshest produce possible, including just-picked strawberries, peaches, sweet corn, and heirloom tomatoes.
Farmers’ markets are the most effective way to support local agriculture. According to American Farmland Trust, farmers only receive about $1.58 per $10 spent by consumers at a grocery store. But at a farmers’ market, farmers receive closer to $8-9 per $10 spent. For every $10 spent at a farmers’ market, studies show that $7.80 is re-spent in the local community.
“We are proud to offer this service to the Knoxville-Oak Ridge community,” said Steve Colvin, president of East TN FARM. “Our membership typically includes about 70 producer-vendors, offering more than 100 different Tennessee grown products from April through November.”
Unlike most farmers’ market organizations, East TN FARM performs periodic inspections of its vendors to ensure they are growing the products they sell. “You can be sure that everything East TN FARM sells is 100 percent locally made,” Colvin said.
Several FARM vendors are designated Certified Naturally Grown, which is a similar standard to USDA Organic, but less expensive for smaller growers. Other FARM growers use as few pesticides and chemical fertilizers as possible. “Our growers care very deeply about their land,” said Colvin.
For more information, or to receive the weekly growing season newsletter, “FARM Fresh News,” visit www.EastTNFarmMarkets.org.