Cannon County's Farmers Market joined others across Tennessee in celebrating National Farmers Market Week.
Farmers markets play an important role in our local food economy as a source of fresh, local and organic food and this week-long celebration recognizes the farmers who bring this food to market.
Amy Tavalin, farmers market specialist with Tennessee Department of Agriculture, notes that Tennessee was No. 1 in the nation in 2014 for farmers market growth. There are 154 farmers markets, including Cannon County, listed on the department's Pick Tennessee Products website: http://www.picktnproducts.org/
For cellphone users, the new Pick Tennessee Mobile App makes it easy to find farmers markets with location, hours and days of operation and contact information.
The Pick Tennessee Products website also features recipes, Facebook and Twitter feeds in addition to information on artisans and even county fairs.
The number of Tennessee farms with direct sales to consumers has increased steadily since 1997 says Hal Pepper, a specialist at the University of Tennessee Extension Center for Profitable Agriculture.
Census of Agriculture data reports that overall, from 1997 to 2012 the number of Tennessee farms with direct sales to consumers increased from 2,694 to 3,679, a 36.6 percent increase. And the value of agriculture products sold directly to consumers increased by 128.9 percent, from $8.4 million to $19.2 million.
The average value of direct sales per farm in Tennessee has also steadily increased and in 2012, the latest year data are available, was $5,214.
The Cannon County Farmers Market is located at the Cannon County Arts Center every Saturday beginning at 6 a.m. Some growers, with fresh produce that's ready for sale, set up on Tuesday afternoons between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
On the previous Saturday (July 25), the market held a memorial for the late Thurman Bogle, a market regular.
The market honored " Mr. Thurman" and reminisced about his impact. He was a regular at the market and was always one of the first ones to arrive on Saturday morning, said Bruce Steelman, Cannon County UT Extension Agent.
"He was the "go to" farmer for his beets and always had a few jars of the pickled beets. He was witty with a tremendous knowledge of his trade. He will be missed, but remembered throughout the year and especially every Saturday at the Market by his friends and those that looked forward to utilizing his produce," Steelman said.
Cannon County's market is open to anyone selling farm raised fruit and vegetables to the public. A growers permit is required if you plan to participate in the Farmer's Market. Those permits are available at the farmers market or the Cannon County Extension Office located at 614 Lehman Street. There is no charge to participate at the CCFM but no "pin hooking" is permitted. For more information contact Bruce Steelman at the Cannon County Extension Office at 563-2554.