Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

Farmers' Market opens for season

The town of Unicoi’s Farmers’ Market officially opened for the summer season on Friday, June 19, at the Unicoi Tourist Information Center.
The event is scheduled to go throughout the remainder of the summer, each Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., according to Jennifer Gryder, community development director for the town.
“We’re really looking forward to growing this event,” Gryder said. “We want to tie this in with our Mountain Harvest Kitchen, especially since that will use local products, people canning and making their own recipes. We’re definitely looking for more vendors who want to come out, especially ones with their own local produce. Everyone seems very excited about farmers’ markets and the opportunity to shop and buy local.”
The farmers’ market is a coordinated effort of the town and the Unicoi County 4-H Extension office in downtown Erwin.
“Rachel Bradshaw has been instrumental in getting this going,” Gryder said. “She’s helped with contacting and doing a pressure cooking test and working to do a Canning College in July. They’re really helping us with the produce and keeping everything local.”
Bradshaw, a UT Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent, used her experience prior to working in Unicoi County to help kick start this new event.
“From my perspective, it is an opportunity to educate the community about food safety and preservation, why you should eat your fruits and vegetables. When I worked in Blount County as an intern, one of our big roles in the summer was to go to farmers’ markets and test dial gages and give out information about food safety and preservation. When I began this job in January, I knew that was the type of audience I wanted to reach out to here. I reached out to Jennifer and we worked together to get the farmers’ market going.”
Bradshaw said she is excited about the Mountain Harvest Kitchen becoming a reality.
“I love the kitchen project,” she added. “I’d love to see more farmers and vendors get involved. This is something that can benefit the entire county.”
A variety of vendors were on hand during the opening day of the market, including the UT Extension office, Sheek Treats, Free Reign Farm and Bessy’s Blend Boutique.
Any interested vendors looking to participate in the farmers’ market can contact Gryder at [email protected] or by phone at 735-0317.
Along with the market, the UT Extension’s Canning College will be held throughout the month of July also at the Tourist Information Center. There will be four sessions held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on July 2, 9, 16 and the 23 and the cost for registration is $60.
For more information of the Canning College, contact Bradshaw at 735-1637. Visit facebook.com/TownofUnicoi for more information on all the different upcoming events in Unicoi.