By Jacquilyn Lavalle
Nov. 5, 2014. The 40th anniversary season of the Watauga County Farmers” Market has proven to be a fruitful one. Located at 591 Horn in the West Dr. in Boone, the Saturday morning event has become a ritual for many members of the High Country.
Every weekend from May to November, more than 60 vendors gather to sell locally farmed meats, fresh produce, dried and fresh cut flowers, hardy plants, artisan cheeses, edibles and various quality crafts. Vendors include Springhouse Farm, Bald Guy Brew, Joan”s Sourdough Bread, Earth Harmonies, Kingfisher Crafts, Mountain Girl Quilts, My Favorite Plants and many more.
“Our farmers had a great growing season,” said Tori Cox, market manager. “We had some wonderful new vendors, a great music program, a thriving kids corner thanks to PHARMN, great chefs and really amazing, committed customers.
The 2014 season has brought several exciting changes for the Watauga County Farmers” Market. As the colder months creep in, weather is, as always, the biggest challenge. To combat the shorter days and dropping temperatures, the market will open at 9 a.m. during the month of November. Despite unfavorable conditions, nothing can keep the dedicated residents and visitors of the High Country away. Rain or shine, the Farmers” Market stays open.
“We are so lucky to have committed customers who come out each week to support the farmers and businesses rain or shine (and everything else too),” Cox said. “Boone is home to a truly amazing community.”
The incorporation of food trucks has also been a positive addition to the local market. The customers spoke and the market”s organizers listened.
“[Serving hot food] is something many customers have been asking for and thanks to the approval of the Boone Town Council, we were able to make room for two trucks at the market each week. Farm to Flame food truck will continue to offer their delicious breakfast pizza as well as other pizzas with locally-sourced ingredients through the end of November,” Cox said.
One of the most attractive features of the Watauga County Farmers” Market is the interactive aspect. Not only do customers get to meet and greet with the vendors, but there are also activities for all ages.
The bi-weekly Kids Mini Market gives children age 13 and younger an opportunity to sell their wares. During this time, the young vendors are taught money management and marketing skills. Children are also invited to participate in the Kids Corner, a weekly activity organized and run by the nonprofit, PHARMN. A wide variety of kids crafts, music, gardening and educational events including a weekly book swap, get children involved in the farmers” market fun.
For the adult crowd, cooking lessons from local chefs and live bands are featured on several weekends. Artists that have played at the market include Sound Traveler, Oncoming Train and Fat Face Band. Close relationships have been formed between the visiting talent and organizers of the farmers market, and many of the chefs and musicians continue to return year after year.
“We have existing relationships with many chefs and bands,” Cox said. “We are fortunate that many musicians really enjoy playing to an interacting with the wonderful crowd that attends the market each week.”
Interested in becoming a vendor at the Watauga County Farmers” Market? Want to learn more about existing vendors? Visit the website here. Vendor applications will be available for download in January 2015. To be added to the “interested vendors” mailing list contact Tori Cox at firstname.lastname@example.org.