Ashe County Farmers' Market Opens for 2010 Season
Ashe Count Farmers Market
A slight chill was in the breeze on Saturday, April 10, but it didn't stop dozens of people from making the trip to downtown West Jefferson for the Ashe County Farmers' Market's 2010 opening day. The Market features a large selction of handmade and homegrown items sold by local vendors and will be open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday through the end of October.
John Smyre of West Jefferson, the market's manager, said that it was "fantastic" to open the market for business again.
"We've got more vendors to start with this year than last year so we're really hoping to have a great year," said Smyre, who added that they usually average between 45 and 50 vendors even though there were only about 35 on Saturday - especially since most of the produce vendors will not start having product until the summer.
"In July we'll have a lot of produce," said Smyre. "Right now we've got mostly greens," such as spinach, along with a "good number of crafts vendors" selling everything from walking sticks and sling shots to candles, bird houses and clothing.
The market still features plenty of homegrown meats, however, including beef, pork, chicken and free-range eggs.
In addition to Saturdays, the Market will also begin holding Wednesday hours starting in July but have changed the times on Wednesday from previous years.
"It's going to be open from 2 to 6 p.m.," said Smyre. "Normally we had been open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., but we're going to change it around this year and see how it does, see if we catch the late people, so to speak, the people getting off work who want some fresh produce on their way home."
Smyre said that although the crowd on Saturday picked up once it warmed up - noting that "it's not that bad" for opening day - it was still fewer people than they expect to have within a few weeks.
"It'll start getting really busy between now and the end of the month," he said.
Smyre also said that they "tried out a winter market this year," as vendors were open on alternate Saturdays from January through the first week of April, and that they "may even end up with a winter market all year long."
The Market also has a place for musicians, Smyre said.
"If they want to jam out a little bit we'll try to accommodate that," he said.
For more information about the Ashe County Farmers' Market, call Smyre at (336) 877-4141, (910) 309-1932 or click to www.ashefarmersmarket.com
Article by Joel Frady
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