The interactive online map, above, can show market visitors what products will be available on any given week, simply with the click of the mouse.

Expect more fresh produce like this at the 2018 market.

By LISA WHALEY

Publisher

lwhaley@heraldandtribune.com

Jonesborough’s Farmers Market kicks off this Saturday with more than a few tricks up its sleeve for 2018’s growing season.

Yet current market fans need not be alarmed by the changes. Organizers promise they are still committed to maintaining all the things that have made Jonesborough’s “front porch” thrive for more than 10 years.

“One hundred percent of products are sold by the farmers and there is no reselling,” said Ashley Cavender, event coordinator for Jonesborough Locally Grown,  the non-profit umbrella organization over both the Farmers Market and its sister store, Boone Street Market. “I think that is what helps us stand out.”

“It just further connects you to your food,” she added. “You are literally standing there talking to the person who worked so hard to get the product to you.”

Now in its 11th year of providing locally grown produce and locally created foods and crafts to Jonesborough families and those in the surrounding region,  the Farmers Market will open at 8 a.m., Saturday, May 5, with more than two dozen colorful vendors, a variety of tasty breakfast foods, lively music and the chance to visit, make friends and learn as you go.

But there are a few new items — first and foremost, a new executive director for Locally Grown, and a new website and interactive map that sets Jonesborough’s market firmly in the 21st century.

“We have a new map at our Jonesborough Locally Grown website (www.jonesboroughlocallygrown.org) under ‘Our Markets’ and then ‘Jonesborough Farmers Market’,” said Executive Director Kari Simmons. “The new website has information on the market, such as parking. We even have our dog policy there.”

The best feature, however, may be at that new map on the bottom of the page, which is set up so viewers can pick a date, click on a particular vendor location, and find out what vendor and what type of product will be available that week.

Also new to the Saturday market this year is a craft demonstration booth, organized by “Hands-On Jonesborough.” Each market day, Hands-On Jonesborough will list a roster of local artisans who will conduct demonstrations of their hands-on craft for the public.

The first Saturday of each month, a “Kids Place” will feature a McKinney Center activity, with other Saturdays filled with hula hoops and a play area just for children.

At the market information booth, which is found at the center of the market, customers can use credit, debit and EBT cards in exchange for tokens to spend at the market. SNAP customers may receive ‘double dollars’ through the Fresh Savings program sponsored by the AARP foundation. This means a customer using up to $20 worth of their SNAP can receive another $20 to spend on fresh produce.

For Simmons, however, the most important thing at the Jonesborough Farmers Market remains the farmers.

“Something that’s really amazing about Jonesborough is they want to support their neighbors. They want to support the community,” Simmons said. “At the Farmers Market, the money is going back to that person (who produced the food), that person’s family and that person’s farm.

“I don’t know how you could support a farmer more than by coming down to our Farmers Market.”