The 2011 Bedford County Farmers Market will open tomorrow at a new time -- 3:30 p.m. -- at the pavilion on Celebration Drive just off Madison Street.
"The market day and time is new," said Bedford County extension agent John Teague. "The original market was open on the weekend in the early morning hours, but the new day and time is more customer-friendly. Folks can run by after work and shop."
"Gov. Haslam has made clear he wants to help Tennessee's rural economies, and we're taking that message to heart," said state Agricultural Commissioner Julius Johnson. "Choosing locally grown and made foods is one way everyone can join him in the effort."
The market's vendors produce different farm products or value-added farm products, and all are from Bedford County or the immediate middle Tennessee area. Some raise vegetable and ornamental plants, others raise produce, fruit or food items derived from area farm products.
All produce and plant vendors have been certified as true farmer producers by UT Extension. These farmers/producers identify themselves to the Extension agent in their respective counties and provide certain information about the crops they produce. The agent will confirm that these growers do raise what they sell, that they do not buy produce to resell, and the agent may visit the farm for on-site inspections to verify information given them by the growers.
For the upcoming market, Teague expects farm fresh eggs from local home flocks and honey from Bedford County beehives. There will also be jams and jellies and baked goods, all prepared in state-approved kitchens.
"We've got large growers and smaller growers, but they all are interested in producing quality," said Teague. "The list of vegetables that they will raise this season include many different varieties of tomatoes, beans, peas, squash, cucumbers, lettuce, onions, kale, melons, okra, potatoes, radishes, corn, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and much more. The wide assortment of kinds of each of these vegetables is great."
The extension office noted the opening day is being held early in the growing season, and the rain of the last two months has delayed some plantings.
"The amount of vegetables and plants may be in relative short supply in the beginning, but from all indication of the cropping plans, the crop in production now and the enthusiasm of the growers we expect a good farmers market with farm fresh products from this area," said Teague.
"Choosing locally grown products is a great way for all of us to help each other," said Johnson. "Farms and rural economies get the help they need to stay strong, and we all benefit from fresh foods that come from local farm businesses."