By LISA WHALEY
After a short break beginning in January to undergo renovations, Jonesborough’s year-round, locally produced market reopened its doors Saturday.
“People need their milk, eggs and bread,” explained Jonesborough Locally Grown President Shelley Crowe.
While Crowe was quick to point out that the market is still adding finishing touches, she joined in her customers’ excitement at the newly renovated space.
“We now have an inside door to the bathroom,” Crowe said with a big grin. “With the expansion, we got the bathroom access in the inside and we also have an office space out here.”
The new market office, complete with a small window to allow a clear view of market space, is large enough to have two to three people working at one time without being moved from the main floor, she said.
More importantly, it has freed up valuable space for the market’s kitchen. And more space, Crowe said, means more products and more classes, events and tastings.
“In addition to the café space (at the front), which was a major part of this renovation, was the additional produce space,” she said. This will allow the market to better support its local farms and producers.
Hot meals — and the space to enjoy them — are also part of this new Boones Creek Market.
“We now have full-time kitchen manager and chef, Neil Smith,” Crowe said. “He comes with a very extensive back ground. And he is excited about farm to table, the café and helping us grow.”
Still ahead are finishing touches on the windows and interiors, as well as planning menu schedules and product availability. “We still have some work to do,” she said. “We’ll have a big grand opening in April.” Still, Crowe said, organizers and volunteers remain pleased at this restart. And Saturday’s crowd appeared to agree.
“I think it’s very nice. I think it’s also an example of how Jonesborough has grown,” said 14-year-old Sean Clare from Kingsport, who was visiting the market with grandfather and mother.
According to Sean’s grandfather, Jim Price, “We came for coffee, crepes and a haircut and this was on our list.”
“We come here once a month,” chimed in Lisa Clare, Sean’s mother.
Stephanie Saxsma, originally from Illinois but recently having settled in Gray, was another shopper who thought the opening was worth the drive.
“We just moved her six months ago,” Saxsma explained. “But we’ve been visiting here for several years. The jellies are good. The fresh herbs are very nice. We love sourdough bread.”
For Cynthia Burnley, however, it was all about the cheese.
“What I buy all the time is the cheese,” Burnley said. “It’s Ashe County cheese, and then I buy the pimiento cheese… and then the breads and the vegetables.”
A resident of Jonesborough for 40 years, she sees the market as not only a great place to shop, but also a strong draw for the town itself.
“People are excited to come here to the Boone Street Market and they come here for the Farmers Market,” Burnley said. “The Farmers Market and this one, a-year round market, I think it’s attracting people to Jonesborough.”