Farmers' markets ‘enliven’ communities
The aromas of just-picked tomatoes and cucumbers mix with herbal and floral scents to create a perfect fragrant experience. Walk from booth to booth, chat with vendors, take in the red, green and yellow colors of vegetables and the aromas of plants and herbs, while at the same time enjoying the light breeze and sunshine as you explore farmers' markets. The warm seasons bring many delights, and one of them is the opportunity to buy fresh vegetables, fruit, jams, honey, eggs, pork, beef, flowers and baked goods. Not only do farmers markets offer fresh produce but they provide a glimpse into the personality of a community.
When you visit Coffee County, explore the farmers' markets and chat with local farmers.
Farmers' markets in Tullahoma
Farmers Market of Tullahoma, at South Jackson Civic Center (404 South Jackson St., Tullahoma) welcomes you every Monday, 3-7 p.m. The market is open April through October.
“Our farmers and artisans go by the Pick Tennessee Products guidelines,” said Gwen Carr, farmers market manager. The guidelines require agriculture producers to provide high-quality produce, meat and permitted dairy products produced on a Tennessee farm. Food manufacturers must provide a high-quality product processed in Tennessee, utilizing ingredients from a Tennessee farm when available. Products such as wreaths, soaps, oils and hand-crafted items must be produced from a Tennessee agricultural product from a working Tennessee farm.
“All of the products we sell, so far, are grown or handmade no farther than 34.7 miles away from the South Jackson Civic Center,” Carr said. “We have fresh fruits and vegetables, pork, beef, lamb, eggs, breads, pies, cookies, chocolate, jalapeno jellies, popcorn, herbs, bouquets, plants, music, and pop-up food trucks. We also sell handmade soaps and candles, and beautiful gifts. Buying local enables the community to meet the farmers who grow their food. The community becomes enlivened. Every Monday we make new friends. Visit with neighbors, make a memory at the market. It's a happy place.”
Tullahoma boasts another farmers market, held on Wednesday. Trinity Lutheran Church’s market is on Wednesday, 6-11:30 a.m. Trinity Lutheran Church is located at 705 Wilson Avenue.
Farmers market in Manchester
In Manchester, the farmers market is in downtown Manchester, at East Fort Street.
Local farmers, bakers and canners greet shoppers every Saturday, from May until the end of October. The operating hours are 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. The market is under a covered pavilion, with public restrooms available. The market was established in 1984.
You can purchase a wide selection of fresh produce from local producers, including eggs, beef and pork products, honey, plants, homemade canned and baked goods. Enjoy a cup of coffee and listen to music while you’re chatting with vendors and browsing. Cecil Wilson, 80, is a local autoharp musician, who has played at the market for many years. He bought the instrument in the late 1960s and you can still see its original case, which he uses for tips. A farmer himself, Cecil tells visitors about his success with growing watermelons. In 1999, he had a watermelon that grew to 151 pounds.
Benefits of farmers' markets
Farmers' markets bring joy to vendors and visitors and have many benefits. In addition to helping preserve the nation’s rural livelihood and stimulating local economies, farmers' markets provide a glimpse into the heart and personality of communities. Local growers create jobs and increase access to fresh and nutritious food. Produce at farmers markets is usually cheaper than at supermarkets, according to farmersmarketcoalition.org. Additionally, farmers' markets support healthy and informed communities. Vendors educate their customers. Farmers talk with shoppers about farming practices, nutrition and recipes.