WEST JEFFERSON — The West Jefferson Board of Aldermen unanimously approved the lease for the Ashe County Farmer’s Market for the 2017-18 year to continue holding their weekly markets on the backstreet.
Brian Chatham, the Ashe County Farmer’s Market president, spoke briefly about the importance of the market and the impact it has on the area.
“The Ashe County Farmer’s Market has become an icon here in the High Country and we attract a lot of people. It’s a valuable asset to our community and we appreciate the town’s support,” Chatham said.
Chatham said that currently there are 65 vendors that are part of the farmer’s market, 40 of which offer produce, meat, eggs and dairy products. 20 vendors are considered arts and crafts vendors and five vendors are tabbed as “value added” members, such as those selling baked goods, cheeses and other items that take raw goods and make products out of them.
Thanks to the success of the market and some self-funding sources such as t-shirt sales, the farmer’s market did not have to dip into grant funding to operate last year for the first time.
“The farmer’s market is doing big things moving forward, being progressive with the way we advertise, our marketing and social media,” Chatham said.
Looking ahead, the Ashe County Farmer’s Market is working hard to build relationships with numerous community businesses and organizations, including a partnership with the Ashe County High School’s FFA (Future Farmer’s of America) club, Farm Bureau and the North Carolina Cooperative Extension office in Ashe.
In July, the farmer’s market will also have a special Friday night market as part of Christmas In July from 5-8 p.m.
The Ashe County Farmer’s Market will be set to open this season on April 15.
“We’ve got a lot of stuff, a lot of new growers, we’re really looking forward to a good year,” Chatham said.
While a majority of the vendors at the farmer’s market are from inside the county, other counties including Watauga, Wilkes, Alleghany, Grayson County, Va. and Johnson County, Tenn., have vendors that sell here as well.
For more information on the Ashe County Farmer’s Market, visit their website at www.ashefarmersmarket.com .
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-489-3062.