KINGSPORT, Tenn. - On opening day, the Kingsport Farmer's Market had barely been open an hour when it already had something to crow about.
"We had one that came in this morning with local-grown green onions and lettuce," Director Jim LaFollette said. "He had sold out in an hour and had left."
Ever popular, patrons can pick a peck of peppers early in the spring here. "This is the first market east of Knoxville that opens first of April," LaFollette added.
"I'm very proud of our farmer's market for that reason," vendor Shirley Whitt said. "Also for the fact I think we have the best selection of any farmer's market anywhere around."
Who wouldn't be green with envy at this selection? Nobody can beef about the wide choice of tomatoes, beans, potatoes, apples, onions, fresh canned goods, even fried pies and candy. Jim LaFollette tells us the cold winter may have delayed crops a couple of weeks but many farmers are growing produce in greenhouses. Plus, the cold dried the ground out so more could be planted earlier in the fields.
Shopper Sarah Kitzmiller says she and her kids are tickled to shop here. "Well, it's local," Kitzmiller said. "I think it's so important to support the community, farming especially, it's wonderful."
Sure, buying local is one reason this farmer's market is so appealing. But, really, you could say it all comes down to a matter of taste. "Fresh produce tastes better," LaFollette said. "Plus, they get a good variety of produce so that's the reason that they really support farmer's market because they know it's fresh out of the field and that's what they want."
The farmer's market will be open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. This Saturday will feature a big spring craft show with free doughnuts and coffee while they last. The market is located at the corner of Clinchfield and Center Streets in Kingsport.