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Community Market will return to Erwin Tuesdays from July through September

Contributed Photo • The Community Market returns to downtown Erwin beginning Tuesday, July 5. The weekly market gives local growers a chance to sell surplus produce.

By Ty Butler

The Town of Erwin is prepared to kickoff the Erwin Community Market, which hits the ground running the first Tuesday in July and will continue through September. Local farmers and market buyers are encouraged to take part in the seasonal market for a good serving of community reinvestment.

“The Community Market is just a great way to support your local economy,” said Town of Erwin Communications Specialist Jamie Rice. “It can’t get anymore local than your community market downtown.”

The event is scheduled for every Tuesday from 5 to 8 p.m. in the months of July and September. The weekly market, which will be located in the parking lot of the Unicoi County Courthouse, offers everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to baked goods and handmade crafts.

But local produce isn’t the only thing making a comeback this year, according to Rice. SNAP benefits will also return, coinciding with the Double Up Food Bucks Program.

“If you’re on SNAP Benefits, you can slide your card for a $5 purchase and we will give you another five dollars to spend,” Rice said. “There is a $20 maximum limit for double up shoppers.”

“SNAP Benefits program also gives opportunities for younger attendees to gather extra vegetables and fruits for their midday lunch,” said longtime market seller Janet Byrd.

“SNAP is great for us and the people buying, but it’s also a great way for kids to become accustomed to eating vegetables,” Byrd added.

Byrd, a longtime vendor with the Erwin Community Market, has continued her annual tradition of selling her homemade bread to buyers.

“I keep coming back because I enjoy doing it,” she added.  “I enjoy meeting people and cooking. I’ve been making this bread for 10 to 12 years. I usually make around 20 to 25 loaves a day or two before the market. I try and make everything as fresh as I can.”

Vendors like Byrd can begin setting up shop around 4 p.m., ahead of the weekly market’s start time of 5 p.m.

“It’s only $5 a week to setup as a vendor, and they can just show up on the day of the event,” explained Rice.

Rice does emphasize the rising July heat, warning sellers to come prepared for some typically warm summer temperatures. 

“It’s going to be very hot, so vendors will definitely want to bring a tent,” she noted.

Knoxville’s Nourish Kids Program will also participate, providing children a fun activity to do while at the market or at home. Children will also receive an automatic $5 to spend upon entry.

The event provides numerous opportunities to replenish the vegetable basket and embrace a healthier lifestyle. In addition, Rice said that the Erwin Community Market will once again provide local growers another way to reap the rewards from their harvest. 

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