Sevier County farmers markets gear up for season

May. 17, 2014 @ 09:18 PM

The Gatlinburg Farmers Market is opening Saturday at the covered bridge in the Arts and Crafts Community on Glades Road. The market runs from 8:30 a.m. until noon and features fresh local produce, plants, baked goods and crafts.

"Our mission is, of course, to offer a local choice for healthy mountain living," Holly Byrd, marketing director for the Gatlinburg Farmers Market, said.

At the opening event, entertainment will be provided by local bluegrass musician Barry Bianchi. Cruze Farm will have homemade ice cream, the Humane Society will have adoptable pets, a master gardener booth will be set up with a soil testing kit, author Mary Phillips will read a few of her children's books and a local artist will paint children's faces.

This is the first year that the Gatlinburg Farmers Market will be hosted at the covered bridge. Byrd said the venue should provide plenty of space for a large crowd.

"There's ample parking, public restrooms, grassy banks for people to spread out on," she said. "Over four hours, I don't know how many hundreds might stop through here."

The Seymour Farmers Market is holding registration on May 24 from 9-10 a.m. in the lower parking lot of First Baptist Church in Seymour, for anyone interested in participating. The market opens June 7, and the hours of operation will be 8 a.m. until noon, also in the lower parking lot of the church.

"The most important thing to remember is, you must produce whatever you bring," Marjie Richardson said. "Grow your own stuff, or if it's crafts, it has to be something you make. This is not a resale market, whatsoever. People in the community can know that."

Richardson said about 20 vendors will take part in the market each week. Most will sell produce, and some will sell crafts. Craft season for the Seymour Farmers Market does not officially begin until August, but there will be some related activities beforehand. June is being called dulcimer month due to the large presence of the instrument planned during that month.

"One of our vendors makes dulcimers, and he will have it and play a tune that first Saturday," Richardson said. "We'll also have a local dulcimer group playing their music. The last Saturday in June, we'll have people from the Knoxville Dulcimer Club, and anyone who wants to learn how to play a song on the dulcimer, can. We'll have dulcimers there for them to use."

The Sevierville Co-op will host a farmers market beginning June 4. The market will take place each Wednesday and Saturday from 8 a.m. until noon.

"There's a variety of corn. A lot of sweet corns here sell well, because East Tennessee is real good for sweet corn," Tom Gordon of the Sevierville Co-op said. "A lot of them will sell out by 8:30, 9 o'clock. Then of course you have tomatoes, beans, just whatever is in season."

Those who wish to be a vendor in the co-op's farmers market must fill out an application in advance.

"You can actually come in that morning and fill out an application while you're setting up," Gordon said. "We ask them to give their address and general information on how we can verify that they have a farm, make sure this market is set up for local growers. We like to have it in earlier, but they can fill it out that day if they need to."

For more information about the Gatlinburg Farmers Market or Seymour Farmers Market, visit the website at gatlinburgfarmersmarket.com or seymourfarmersmarket.org. Those unable to attend the registration for the Seymour Farmers Market, but still interested in participating as a vendor, should contact Marjie Richardson at 453-0130 or info@seymourfarmersmarket.org. Contact the Sevierville Co-op at 453-7101.

jold@themountainpress.com