East Tennessee Farmers Association for Retail Marketing, or FARM, a nonprofit organization, is pleased to announce the opening of its 39th season of farmers’ markets in East Tennessee, in three convenient locations in Knoxville and Oak Ridge. Established in 1976, FARM is Tennessee’s longest continuously operating farmers’ market organization.
“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.”
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.
Opening Day at each FARM market will feature a drawing for 20 Market Dollars!
Locations are as follows:
- Ebenezer Road Farmers’ Market, opens every Tuesday, 3-6 p.m, beginning April 14, at 1001 Ebenezer Road (Ebenezer United Methodist Church). Drawing is at 5:30 p.m.
- Lakeshore Park Farmers’ Market opens every Friday, 3-6 p.m., beginning April 17, at 5908 Lyons View Pike, Knoxville, near the Knox Youth Sports Building and a new handicapped accessible playground opening this spring. Drawing is at 5:30 p.m.
- Oak Ridge Farmers’ Market opens every Saturday, 8 a.m.-noon, beginning April 18, in Historic Jackson Square, 281 Broadway Avenue, with the drawing at 11:30 a.m. The Oak Ridge market is also open Wednesdays 3-6 p.m., beginning May 6. Seniors over 60 get 5 percent off every Wednesday at the Oak Ridge Market!
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 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,” Colvin said.
FARM’s weekend markets at Lakeshore Park and in Oak Ridge will feature live music, children’s events, and workshops and lectures on topics such as herb gardening and composting.
FARM also offers weekly email reminders to customers, and a free FARM Fan Club text reminder and shopping rewards program. Sign up for both at its website at www.EastTNFarmMarkets.org.