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Jonesborough Farmers Market gets ready for Saturday opening

Normally by mid-summer, the Jonesborough Farmers Market has 30 established vendors selling their vegetables, meats, plants, foods, crafts or other products.
This spring, the market, housed Saturday mornings on the east side of the county courthouse, is opening Saturday, May 3, with 30 vendors — three new farmers, “locally grown” music and plenty of fresh East Tennessee-roasted coffee.
Three new vendors are joining the company of local producers, cooks and craftspeople on Jonesborough’s “front porch” Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon – The Fig Lady with fig-based pastries and jams, Dona Eva with tamales and salsa and Matheson Family Farm with produce.
“Our market has been referred to as ‘Jonesborough’s front porch,’” said market co-manager Heidi Ehle. “If you want to see your friends, make new friends or just hang out with a bunch of people that you’re glad you met, it’s a good place to do that.”
But the Jonesborough Farmers Market has a very serious purpose at the center of the festive atmosphere.
“Our market is different from either a regular grocery store or a lot of other farmers markets in that we don’t allow middlemen at all,” Ehle said.
“We actually visit the farms to make sure the people selling the goods are actually growing the goods whether it’s animal products or plants. That limits our scope somewhat but it also makes our market special in a certain way.”
The locally grown aspect is a mission for the Jonesborough market organization.
“It’s important to eat locally, support local farmers and the local economy,” said co-manager Debbie Kruse.
In addition to the new vendors this spring, coffee roasted by Chef Alex Bomba and wife, Breelyn, of Main Street Café, will be available for the first time under the courthouse clock and a new structure will roll in each Saturday, Kruse said. “Jimmy Sentelle, our very popular pork vendor, is providing a ‘facelift’ to the alley behind the courthouse,” she said.
“He’s in the process of making a little structure on a trailer that will be very cute. It’s modeled after his smokehouse at his farm. So that back area behind the courthouse is becoming uptown.”
Meanwhile, the Saturday markets will offer consistency, the managers say, including live music by local musicians, once again coordinated by Roy Andrade, a professor in Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music Studies at ETSU. Local bluegrass band The Old Timers will kick off the spring and summer of market music.
In addition, there will be eight farmers providing eggs from differing varieties of chickens. “We are also proud of our meat market,” Ehle said.
“There aren’t many places where you can talk to the person who’s raising the animal and find out exactly what they’re doing.”
On opening day Saturday, May 3, patrons should also expect shitake mushrooms, baby bok choi, mustard greens, cilantro, some hot-house tomatoes and plenty of early onions and radishes, in addition to beef, pork sausage, chicken and tomato and herb plants.
“Come just have a cup of coffee and a pastry, think about what you want to shop for while you admire the light of early morning Jonesborough,” Ehle said. “It’s a pretty town, early in the morning. Come admire it with us.”
For more information, call 458-2123, email [email protected] or visit