KINGSPORT — Whoever heard of wearing a winter coat to the opening of a farmers market?
That could very well be the case on Wednesday when the local market opens for its 2013 season.
The Kingsport Farmers Market — located at the corner of Clinchfield and Center streets in downtown Kingsport — will be open on Wednesdays and Saturdays beginning April 3. The market is open from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m., or until vendors sell out.
Jim LaFollette, president of the market, said initially the market will have 10 to 20 vendors on Wednesdays and 20 to 30 vendors on Saturdays.
“We’ll start off with some locally grown tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and onions. We’ll have a full line of produce,” LaFollette said. “There will also be plants and flowers, we’ll have some breads and canned food and on Saturday we’ll have gourmet cupcakes. A total array of things and we’ll have spring garden plants and about anything you’ll need for your garden.”
Food City plans to sponsor the April 6 farmers market with free donuts and coffee, as long as they last LaFollette noted, and the second annual Spring Craft Show will be held on April 13 at the market from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., or until everything is sold out.
Kingsport debuted its indoor facility at the farmers market in August 2011 and continued to make a number of improvements to the facility last year, including refinishing the concrete floors, installing new ceiling fans, an HVAC system and elevator and new men’s and women’s restrooms.
Last year, the indoor facility housed 15 vendors; this year LaFollette said the association was able to push that number up to 20. The entire farmers market site can handle around 100 vendors.
“(The vendors) really liked it. Up until the last day (of the season) we probably had 15 vendors,” LaFollette said. “It made the market to where we could extend the season. We were open through December and it worked out good.”
Last year the farmers market association had around 75 members, and LaFollette said he hopes to add to that number. Vendors are all members, not wholesalers, and have to be from within a 15-mile radius of the market.