NASHVILLE – Tomorrow will mark the grand opening of the 2015 Farmer’s Market. Customers can begin shopping at 7 a.m. and the event will last until the market is sold out, explained Rita Rector in a press release sent to news organizations.
Special guests for the grand opening include master gardener Gary Driver and owner of the local Home Improvement Center Ray Terrell.
Driver will be manning the “Demo Garden” and be giving away free, pre-potted tomato and basil plants. According to Rector, “You’ll soon be eating fresh tomatoes right off the vine and you’ll also have one of the major ingredients to make your own pesto – free.”
Once the garden starts producing, herbs and produce are free to WIC recipients and senior citizens.
Terrell’s business will host the hospitality table. Aside from free coffee and samplings of market fried pies, he will also be giving away coupons that are valued for 10 percent off selected items store-wide. Patrons may also leave their email address at the hospitality table in order to be notified about what will be at the market each Friday.
Rector noted that the Home Improvement Center supplied most of the building materials for the market and has been a generous supporter with advertising and other donations.
This summer, the Farmer’s Market will also begin offering to set up gardens for those interested in taking up the hobby. Each week, as part of the “Square Foot” gardening program, one lucky customer will receive a 4×4 square foot garden.
Rector commented that many people feel that don’t have the room, the knowledge edge, or the time to care for a garden. She went on to say that not much room was required to tend to one and that eventually an individual will gain the know-how. She also emphasized the fact that the market will supply the free 4×4 foot frame and labor.
“You supply the dirt and the seeds/plants. You’ll already have some free plants to start filling in those squares. Come shop at the market on Friday then drop by the Demo Garden to pick up your freebies and find out what we’re talking about,” Rector encouraged.
In the near future, the market will partner with the SNAP program and gain the ability to accept credit cards including Master Card, Visa and Discover. More details will be provided at Friday’s market day.
Those who attend will also have the chance to sign up to win a basket containing produce and other goods.
Aside from special activities, the Farmer’s Market will return with its usual arsenal of home grown morsels, despite the fact that excessive amounts of rain has made it difficult to produce several items.
“As you know, we have had an unusual amount of rain this spring with all too many overcast days as well. Our growers have really battled the weather to bring the following items to market: strawberries, green onions, lettuce, radishes, eggs, honey, fried pies and tomato plants,” Rector said.
Diamond Lakes Apiaries will supply the honey and 3 J Berry Farm will be selling the strawberries as well as preserves and fresh eggs. Charles Wright will be vending the green onions in limited quantities as well as iceberg lettuce and radishes.
Fields Farm will be selling eggs also along with tomato bedding plants. Salinas Farm will have strawberries of their own for purchase along with assorted jams and jellies. Brown’s Family farm will carry eggs and eventually fresh greens.
Edna Morris will return with her ever-popular assortment of fried pies, and a new vendor will be joining the group: Aunt Fern’s Comfort Foods. “Aunt Fern” will be a fried pie vendor as well.
The Farmer’s Market first opened for business in June of 2008 as “a means for area residents to acquire fresh, locally-grown produce and to provide a centralized location for local farmers and others with gardens to sell their produce and supplement their income.”
During its development, the market earned support from the community early on as well as endorsement by the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, the Quorum Court, Howard County Health Improvement Coalition, Howard County Health Department and the Economic Development Committee.
Through approval for several grants and groups of hard working individuals, the Howard County Farmer’s Market grew from a humble service that boasted squash, eggs, turnips, cabbage and Jamison peaches to have the even more extensive variety that it does today.