Anderson County’s largest market accepts SNAP, offers educational programs for children and adults
The Winter Farmers’ Market by Grow Oak Ridge opens for its third season on Saturday, December 1, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at 323 Vermont Avenue (St. Mary’s School gym) in Oak Ridge. It is open each Saturday, December through February, except for December 29.
Opening day features hourly door prizes and a free drawing for $20 in market tokens at noon, a press release said.
This is the largest farmers’ market in Anderson County, with 44 vendors on roll, and 35 most weeks in December, according to market director Rebecca Williams.
“The gym is filled and we have a waiting list in December, and even in January and February, we will have close to 30 local producer-vendors each week,” Williams said. “All of them must make, bake, or grow what they sell within 150 miles of Oak Ridge.
“Our farmers grow all year long, so you will see produce, pasture-raised beef, pork, and tilapia, local honey, free-range eggs, and fresh flowers and plants. Plus we have artisan food vendors bringing breads and pastries, jams and jellies. Food trucks will serve coffee, brunch, and lunch. And, our crafters offer unique handmade holiday gifts such as pottery, textiles, wood made items, bath and body products, and more.”
The market offers a weekly free program for children called the POP (Power of Produce) Club, in which kids take two bites of a vegetable and get $2 to spend in the market on fruits and vegetables, the press release said. Santa will be at the market on December 8 for free photos and visits. And on December 15, the first-ever Oak Ridge Sports Cards and Collectibles Show will be in the room next to the market.
This is the only farmers’ market in Anderson County that accepts SNAP/EBT benefits, commonly called food stamps, the press release said.
“We double SNAP benefits with a Fresh Savings grant from the AARP Foundation,” Williams said. “Customers who receive SNAP benefits may visit the Welcome Desk, scan your EBT card, and we will give you tokens to spend in the market, doubling them for fresh fruits and vegetables up to $20 per transaction. This is not only healthy for those who use it, but it boosts farmer sales as well.”
Returning vendors include VGs Bakery, Gooseberry Knoll, Zavels Family Farm, Spring Oak Farm, Alpaca Junction Plus, Pygmy Harbor Farm, Wilson Family Farm, Colvin Family Farm, Eco Rich Farms, Delights by Dana Mitchell, 4 Corners Ranch, and many more.
New vendors include Rainwater Farm, Shawn Harrison Pottery, Highlander Growers, Pocket Gardeners, Sassy Pants Sweets & Treats, Juanita’s Jams, and more. Read the complete list of vendors at www.GrowOakRidge.org.
Food trucks such as B&B BBQ, Waffely Good, and Brynn Coffee will be parked outside, with an indoor eating area to enjoy as well, the press release said.
Free cooking demonstrations will be offered in January and February, and a market app is offered for those who want to order and pay online, and pick up quickly at the market. See www.GrowOakRidge.org for more details.
Grow Oak Ridge is a nonprofit organization, dedicated to improving health in Anderson County by connecting local farmers to the public, the press release said. It donates a portion of all market vendor fees to support a local food pantry.
Grow Oak Ridge receives support for its children’s programming from local organizations such as St. Mary’s Catholic School, Oak Ridge Pediatrics, the University of Tennessee Extension Service of Anderson County, Laura Lynn Riden State Farm Insurance, and The Ferrell Shop. If you would like to support the mission of Grow Oak Ridge, contact Williams at [email protected].
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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