Tennessee’s farmers markets have reason to celebrate. Summer fruits and vegetables of all kinds are plentiful, and farmers market fans continue to increase each year as patrons realize benefits not only for their health, but for the economic health of their communities. National Farmers Market Week is August 3-9, and Tennessee markets are ready to express thanks to regular customers and lure new ones with special events and activities.
Farmers markets throughout Tennessee can be found through www.picktnproducts.org and with the new “Pick Tennessee” mobile app. The free app is downloadable from both the App Store for Apple products and from Google Play for Android devices and allows users to search by item, like “apples,” by region of the state, season, the farm where they’re produced, or the markets where they’re sold. The mobile app then provides directions to the chosen location through direct GPS mapping.
The Pick Tennessee mobile app keeps track of favorites and provides links to seasonal recipes, handy tips and fun facts, as well as the full Pick Tennessee Products website. Farm direct and local items on the app include options as varied as local fruits and vegetables, wineries, greenhouses and plant nurseries, Christmas tree farms and local honey.
Pick Tennessee Products is the longstanding state campaign to connect customers to locally grown or made products and farm-related activities. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture website currently features close to 2,000 participating farms, processors and other ag and farm businesses, listing about 10,000 individual items.
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Events by Region
East Tennessee: The Appalachian Community Farmers Market is open on Saturday mornings from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and the Newport Farmers Market is open Wednesday afternoons from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Both markets will offer free produce recipes, and samples of those recipes made with produce grown by the markets’ farmers. A character known as “Za Big Tomato” will be on hand to perform song and dance accompanied by “The Professor,” who offers growing advice.
Middle Tennessee: Several Nashville area markets have a week’s worth of events in the works. The 12th South Market will provide children’s activities and a special “Tomatopalooza” market with tomato taste contest and cherry tomato eating contest on Aug. 5 from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
The Nashville Farmers Market will host food trucks, live music and children’s activities plus a chef demonstration on Aug. 6, 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Donelson’s Hip D Farmers Market will also feature a demonstration by a local chef on Aug. 8, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., plus a “Market Cash Gift Certificates” give away for their customers. On the last day of Farmers Market Week, Aug. 9, the Nashville Farmers Market activities will begin at 8 a.m. and run until 6 p.m. A reusable bag give away, children’s activities, cooking demos with local chefs, farmers and artisans, live music, recipe give aways, and a Tennessee Tomato recipe contest are on the market’s agenda, as well as conducting producer spotlights throughout the week.
West Tennessee: On Aug. 2, Cooper-Young Farmers Market in Memphis will host a “Doggiepalooza” market as part of their celebrations. Locally made dog treats, balloon animals, a photo booth and live music will be featured as part of the fun, and Street Dog Foundation will be on hand with adoptable dogs. Every adopted dog will get free treats and personalized dog tags will be available. The Dresden Farmers Market will conduct special activities including a live band, face painting, “corn hole toss,” and other children’s games. Horse and cart rides, a lunchtime concession stand and a drawing for customers to win cash are also planned. The Memphis Farmers Market also will finish out the celebration week on Aug. 9, hosting an “Eat This, Not That” health education table, a “Make Farm Fans” kids activity and an Elvis Look-Alike Contest. The market is open Saturdays from 7 a.m.to 1 p.m.