Fantastic article in The Greeneville Sun

greeneville_sunThe Greeneville Sun article can be found here: http://www.greenevillesun.com/news/local_news/plans-are-moving-ahead-for-harvest-celebration/article_b3300f2f-e79b-5c9a-b7c3-357fdbcb9060.html


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Plans are moving ahead rapidly for a late-August event looking toward bringing a local farmers market back to the heart of the downtown area next spring.

Supporters of the effort are very serious about their goal of launching a Depot Street Farmers Market in 2016, and they have come together to form a new 501(c)3 non-profit organization called the Northeast Tennessee Food Alliance.

Mary Goldman is president of the organization, Dale Trombley secretary, and Heather Youngblood treasurer.

The Greeneville Board of Mayor and Aldermen gave unanimous approval Tuesday to an application by members of the group for a Saturday, Aug. 29, event on West Depot Street that is being called the Full-Moon Harvest Celebration.

The event is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. and end at 2 p.m.

The group sees the Harvest Celebration as their first big public step toward their goal (and yes, the next full moon is indeed scheduled for that evening).

Planners say the Harvest Celebration will include free musical entertainment by several popular local groups, food on sale from several local food vendors, special activities designed for children, corn-hole-toss contests for all ages, the opportunity to buy local produce from Greene County farmers, and even a special venue for local artists to exhibit their work.

“We encourage every Greene County citizen to bring their family to enjoy the day of fun, entertainment and food with friends and neighbors,” said Jancie Painter, one of those backing the effort.

DETAILS OF HARVEST CELEBRATION

A news release states that the Full-Moon Harvest Celebration will be “a fun event for all ages, a chance to celebrate the fruits of the late summer harvest and the kickoff for next year’s Depot Street Farmers’ Market….”

Specific plans include the following highlights, according to the release:

* Opening ceremonies will start at 9 a.m. at the corner of Depot and Irish streets adjacent to the Greeneville City Schools parking lot, with welcoming remarks from Greene County Mayor David Crum, Greeneville Mayor W. T. Daniels and state Rep. David Hawk.

* George Blanks, as master of ceremonies, and Greeneville alderman and businessman Keith Paxton will conduct a formal ribbon-cutting “signifying the future opening of the 2016 Depot Street Farmers’ Market.”

* Musical entertainment “for all ages” during the Harvest Celebration will come from the Les Ford Band, Richard Spain, JB and the Wild Honey Band, and The Step Cousins.

* Grand Rental Station will provide the Trackless Train “both for adults to get from one end of Depot to the other end, and for the children to enjoy riding.”

* There will be corn-hole toss games for all ages, and, especially for the children, there will be face-painting and an inflatable.

* Prepared foods, drinks and desserts will be provided for sale by caterer Ella Price, her husband John Price (“the Hot Dog Man”) of Top Dog Catering, Catalyst Coffee Company, and Creamy Cup.

Another main attraction during the Harvest Celebration, the release states, will be an artists’ venue where Greene County artists will be invited to display their work and offer completed projects for sale.

The artist’s venue is being overseen by Sharon O’Neal of Richland Creek Gifts and will be located near Catalyst Coffee Company at the corner of Main and Depot streets.

FOCUS IS ON MARKET

Although those involved in the new organization are presently working hard on preparations for the Full-Moon Harvest Celebration, they see the event as “just the beginning.”

Their main focus is definitely on their vision for an active Saturday-morning Depot Street Farmers’ Market by next spring.

“Can you believe,” the news release asks, “that it has been six years since there was a farmers’ market in downtown Greeneville, located beside the Walters State parking lot and the Big Spring?”

A spokesman for the Northeast Tennessee Food Alliance said that the new Farmers Market would welcome produce, eggs, crafts, art, flowers, etc., from anyone who lives within approximately 30 miles of Greeneville, including nearby communities such as Newport, Jonesborough, Parrottsville, Bulls Gap, Rogersville, Johnson City, etc.

The market will be open-air. There will be a fee to exhibit products for sale.

In addition, the spokesman said, plans call for there to be information booths at the new market.

The release explains that, since the group plans to feature only producers in Greene County and the nearby area, the market “will display the best that Greene County can offer celebrating our rich agricultural heritage and helping to revitalize downtown Greeneville on Saturday mornings

“Shoppers will not only buy fresh, local home-grown fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry and pork. They will also spend time downtown browsing, eating and shopping the ambiance that our downtown has to offer.

“This market will be a step toward recreating the past when Depot Street was filled with shoppers walking the sidewalks and enjoying visiting with friends and neighbors.”

DISCUSSIONS WITH FOX PARK GROUP

Painter said today in an interview that the group working to establish the Depot Street Farmers Market has discussed its plans with representatives of the Fox Park Fair, which for the last four years has operated a locally-focused farmers market in the downtown area on Tuesday afternoons and Friday afternoons, usually from May through October.

That farmers market takes place at Fox Park, which is owned by the Greeneville-Greene County History Museum and located at the corner of South Main and McKee streets, across from the museum.

A representative of the Fox Park Fair confirmed today that those discussions had taken place, on a friendly basis, and said the Fox Park leaders did not consider a Depot Street Farmers Market on Saturday mornings to be in conflict with the existing downtown market.

The Fox Park representative noted that, since the two farmers markets would be in operation on different days, the new Depot Street market would provide additional opportunities for local farmers to sell their products.

There are currently no other downtown farmers markets, but a separate farmers market is operated in appropriate months at a pavilion at the Greene County Fairgrounds.

‘A GREAT OPPORTUNITY’

Heather Youngblood, owner of Summerfield Farm in Afton and treasurer of the Northeast Tennessee Food Alliance, commented in the news release that, “The Depot Street Farmers’ Market will indeed provide a great opportunity for us to sell our organic plants right here in Greeneville.

“Having traveled to the Johnson City Market in order to obtain the sales volume we need, we are looking forward to being back in Downtown Greeneville.

“We are very excited to be part of the local food movement in Greene County.”

George Collins, another of those involved in the Depot Street Farmers’ Market effort, stated, “In-town Farmer Markets have been very successful in many communities, and proven to be an important element in downtown community renewal.

“Local farm products and well-done, local craft items can be successful. Strong branding, good marketing, good product and professional display all play a role.”

Jancie Painter, owner of Copies Unlimited and a longtime supporter of downtown revitalization, describes herself as “an adviser and facilitator” in the Depot Street Farmers’ Market effort.

She states in the news release that, “In my involvement with the Town of Greeneville’s efforts to see Depot Street regain its energy, the bringing of the farmers market to Depot Street, which is indeed downtown, has been ‘cooking’ for going-on two years.

“Now that the right people with the vision and the energy are involved to explore future ideas for this market and its complementary businesses, this opportunity for revitalization of downtown will greatly enhance present [downtown businesses] and support potential merchants.

“This project is ready to bring to Greeneville and Greene County’s citizens an exciting atmosphere that has not been enjoyed for many years.”

Anyone wishing additional information is encouraged to call Mary Goldman at 342-7006, visit depotstreetfarmersmarket.com, or visit the Facebook page for the Depot Street Farmers Market.

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2017 Officers

President: Mary Goldman
Vice Pres: Steve Mallory
Treasurer: Heather Youngblood
Secretary: Dale Trombley

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