Residents shop for produce Oct. 20, 2012, at the Rutherford County Farmer's Market in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (Photo courtesy of B. Shaklett)
Leaves have begun changing colors, signaling the end of this season’s harvest. But local residents still have a couple of options when searching for apples and pumpkins.
Main Street’s Saturday Market will conclude this week on Murfreesboro’s historic Square.
The two-year-old program has grown from 12 vendors on the west side of the courthouse to 57 vendors on three sides of the building offering everything from produce to jams.
“It’s just absolutely amazing,” says Main Street executive director Kathleen Herzog, who oversees the Saturday Market. “I knew it was going to be popular, but the success of the market has just been astounding to me.”
She explained how the market has increased foot traffic downtown so much, local businesses have offered extended hours and services on Saturdays. Before the market was started, Saturday was seen as a slow day with all the hustle and bustle of weekday activity on pause until the following Monday.
But that is no longer the story – in fact, it has become a very busy shopping day for some boutiques and restaurants downtown.
One local business, Wild Flours, actually got its start at the Saturday Market and recently opened a storefront just off the Square to accommodate for the demand.
“Part of our mission is to promote, maintain and enhance downtown as the heart of the community, and a by-product of the Saturday Market is the increase in sales on Saturday,” Herzog said.
Saturday’s vendors have plenty to offer of both summer and fall crops. Herzog spoke of heirloom carrots in bright red and orange and of cheddar variety cauliflower in purple and gold. Mums are also still available, along with heirloom pumpkins and several varieties of apples.
“I’ve heard there are bargains to be had on the last day – sort of a ‘let’s make a deal,’” Herzog said, adding that this is the final opportunity for some vendors to sell their products.
With the season's end of the Saturday Market, she pointed out that some would opt for the Rutherford County Farmers’ Market’s new Sunday Market.
Last year, market organizers decided it would benefit the community to open on Sunday during an extended season. Because daylight hours are shorter this time of year, the Sunday market will be open from 1-4 p.m. this year, beginning Nov. 4 and run through Dec. 16.
Located in the Lane Agri-Park Center at 315 John R. Rice Blvd., off Old Fort Parkway, the Farmers’ Market is open on Tuesday and Friday during the traditional season, which wraps up Tuesday, Oct. 30.
“Let’s keep the harvest going a little bit longer,” said Janie Becker, manager of the Rutherford County Farmers’ Market.
She explained how some producers began planting crops specifically for the extended season.
“We let them know very early in the season, even in the summer, to plant fall crops,” she said, adding that all the greens – kale, arugula, spinach – will be available, as well as broccoli and cauliflower. Producers of ever-popular fresh bacon and eggs will also be on-site.
“Some of our regular producers are bringing hand-carved wood crafts and soaps that aren’t normally available. We’ve opened up the variety a little bit (for the extended season). Natural wreaths and garland will be available in the December markets, as well.”
She encouraged local residents to bring their families to the Sunday market to shop for homemade gifts and produce for the upcoming holiday season.
“It’s little more festive (than the regular season),” Becker said, pointing out the live music that takes place most Sundays.
The Rutherford County Farmers’ Market also accepts EBT Food Stamps and debit and credit cards using a token system for shoppers to buy goods.