Farmers Market Still Busy

By: Jason Tighe
By: Jason Tighe

Knoxville (WVLT) -- Nowadays, the perfect forecast calls for rain.

We've seen some recently, but with a thirteen inch rainfall deficit, some farmers have it bad, while others do not.

Here's a glimpse into the Farmer's Market scene, a weekly Market Square tradition, with something for everyone.

A guitar is playing, its the sound that lets you know you are headed in the right direction.

The guitar signifies you are headed straight to the heart of farmers country, and into Charles Stinnett's labor of love.

"Real, real sweet corn," Stinnett says to a customer, "What else would you like sir?"

For him, there is plenty to sell, even in the middle of a drought.

"We've been raising gardens forever," said Stinnett, "but this my second year of actually selling produce."

Despite damagingly low levels of rain, Stinnett's crop is good.

"It helps when you've got the fresh water from the springs," farmer Stinnett says, "It could cost me a little extra time because I have to spend time watering."

But others are feeling the pain of blistering heat and little rain.

"I know several farmers that their crops are ruined," Stinnett said.

Some recent rain has helped out and today there's plenty of activity on the crowded square.

But troubles are anything but gone, and next year's plight could be even worse.

"Things were coming out later and it is kind of surprising to see such beautiful tomatoes and corn," said Lisa Higginbotham, a customer. "We really didn't have anything for a while."

"I think the produce overall has inflated a little bit in the grocery stores," said Mimi Coughlin, another customer.

"I don't think we've seen full effect of it yet," Stinnett said, "It'll probably be even more, probably 30 to 50 percent more."

Despite pricey predictions and supermarket price hikes, vendors are able to keep things in check.

Combined with a loyal customer base who cites a fresh product and local pride, these sellers can maintain a stable foothold on the driest of land.

"Got to eat and I'm going to eat well," said Dave Ohmer, a customer. "I'll pay the prices if that's what they need for me to do."

The Market Square Farmers Market is held every Saturday from 10 AM to 2 PM and Wednesday's during the hours of 11 AM and 2 PM.


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