by Madison V. Fisler
Jan. 10, 2014. The start of a new year means brand new vendors present at the Watauga County Farmers’ Market. The market is currently accepting vendor applications for the 2014 Farmers’ Market season this summer.
Eligible parties are producers who reside and produce in Watauga County and the adjacent counties. Craft vendors are only offered at the market every other year, and this year is an off-year for the craft vendors.
Applications to become a vendor at the market are due no later than Jan. 31 along with a $25 application fee. Applications and rules for the application process are available here.
“We go through vendor applications at the end of January, so anyone interested in being included in the market should apply very soon,” said Tori Cox, Market Manager at the Watauga County Farmers’ Market.
“In February, the board will review all of the applications and decide on the best fits for the market.”
Each year, the board looks at the pool of applicants and decides which are most appropriate for the Farmers’ Market. Everyone who wants to be included must apply each year, even returning vendors from previous years.
“We are able to take about 80 vendors per year,” Cox said. “The number varies each year depending on how many of the vendors are permanent vendors.”
Vendors at the market are categorized into “permanent vendors” and “floaters.”
“Permanent vendors are at the market 20 out of 26 weeks in the season, and are guaranteed a specific space in the market,” said Cox.
“Floaters don’t have to come so often, and their spots shift and move around the market.”
Cox said that while they get many applications, not many are turned away because of product.
“The board looks at the market and the applications as a whole. Most people that aren’t accepted are turned away because they aren’t yet ready to be in the market. It takes a solid business plan, dedication and close consideration of what each vendor is trying to bring to the market,” Cox said.
The Watauga County Farmers’ Market runs from May through November on Saturday mornings. The market has been called “Boone’s Town Square” since it first started in 1974. Located at Horn in the West beside the Daniel Boone Native Gardens, the Farmers’ Market offers local fare at competitive prices to the community.
For more information about the Watauga County Farmers’ Market, click here.