Visitors across the Lakeway region, young and old, descended upon the Morristown Farmers Market on Friday to see what local growers had to offer.
The Morristown Farmers Market joined markets across the country to celebrate National Farmers Market week, which ran nationwide from Aug. 4 until Saturday. Local growers from Hamblen, Jefferson and Grainger counties sold eggs, chicken, vegetables like tomatoes, squash, and several varieties of peppers, zucchini, onions, garlic, breads and cakes. Also featured were different kinds of beans, eggplant, peaches, watermelon and cantaloupe, and in the cooler parts of the season a variety of greens and lettuces.
“Farmers markets are becoming a community event,” said Barbara Garrow, executive director of Crossroads Downtown Partnership. “You don’t know what you’re getting from the grocery store, so people come here to get their produce.”
Customers and farmers form a symbiotic relationship with one another at farmers markets throughout the country. Farmers markets and farm stands account for roughly $2 billion of the $3 billion that Americans spend annually on farm-direct products, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This revenue, in turn, supports the livelihoods of more than 165,000 mostly small and mid-sized farms and ranches.
Farmers and vendors also provided prepared food items, which provided a networking opportunity between visitors and growers. Customers can find out first hand where their food comes from, as well as creative ways to use it, according to Garrow.
“Here they can talk to the farmers who and raise (the produce and meats). They can also get educated about food as well as get recipes,” Garrow said.
One of the farmers showing off their products is Kevin and Cathy Jacobi, who own Land Basket Farm in Russellville. The farm sells free range, and pasture-raised chicken, turkey, lamb and pork – and offers tours of the farm for all customers who visit.
“We raise and process our chickens through a USDA law allowing us to raise and sell our chickens on our small farm. We keep our (poultry) on a non-GMO, non-soy diet with no hormones,” said Keven Jacobi, a retired Army colonel and co-owner of Land Basket Farm. “It produces a really good-tasting chicken.
“The demand is so good on the chicken, we can’t keep them.”
The Morristown Farmers Market began in 1972, and moved to the city-built pavilion located at 130 W. Morris Blvd. several years ago. Operating hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.