In 1974 when the outdoor market began, local produce was defined as having been grown in the “Bradley County trade area” which includes Polk, McMinn and Hamilton counties.
Adam Stone sat in the shade of a tree in a lawn chair next to a pickup loaded with peaches and cream corn grown in Polk County by his uncle, Gary Stone, on Stone Farm. Adam said his uncle has grown corn for about 15 years. His pickup was parked next to Jimmy and Gloria Hayes, who were covered by a “Vols” canopy. She was selling baked goods and more under the business name of, A“Dough”ables, which she owns with daughter-in-law, Kim Hayes.
UT Agriculture Extension Service Agent Kim Frady said Saturday home gardeners with an over-abundance of produce are welcome to sell at the Peerless Road market with no fees.
“This farmers market started in 1974 with small growers in mind and we want to continue that tradition,” Frady said.
Dina Gonzales and daughter Katia displayed peaches, okra, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes and other vegetables grown in their garden near Mayfield Elementary School.
Producers must sign a market agreement stipulating to “locally grown rule” and provide directions to where the fruits and vegetables are grown.
“We are not trying to compete with grocery stores by bringing produce in from Georgia and Florida,” he said.
Leroy Bowman and great-grandson, Landon, sold produce that came from a one-acre garden west of Cleveland located off Eureka Road. He has four great-grandchildren, but Landon, 9, and his younger brother, Bryson, 7, stay close to their “Papaw Lee.”
“We have a one-acre garden and they help plant, tend and harvest it,” Bowman said. “We picked beans yesterday.”
“I picked a half-bushel. That’s probably them right there,” Landon said as he bent over to pick up a half-bushel basket of beans.
“My little brother stopped after he picked, um, about 20 beans and papaw had to pick the rest.”
When asked if Landon was a good bean picker, Bowman replied his great-grandson was indeed, “a good bean picker.”
In addition to having local produce and baked goods for sale, master gardeners will be available to answer gardening questions.
Also, support Bradley County 4-H and buy fried apple pies from Orchard Valley. Also, tour the Bradley County Cannery and register to win a basket of fresh canned goodies. Reusable and environmentally friendly market bags will be free to the first 100 customers on Saturday.
The original farmers market is open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.