The temperature may be dipping into the low 30s tonight, but at the Main Street Farmers Market, it’s business as usual.
In fact, the weekly Wednesday market does not pack up for the winter.
“As far as I know, [the market has] not ever taken a winter break,” said Bonnie Baranowski, market manager. “We started in spring 2009 and have been going year-round ever since.”
Baranowski noted that many markets do shutter for the winter months. Shoppers also naturally associate the season with a lack of access to the same booths they might frequent in the spring, summer and fall.
The Main Street Farmers Market, however, is still sharing the plenty of the fields with a colorful variety of local produce and foodstuffs, and the weekly attendance of local food vendors remains steady.
Today, the roster of farmers includes Circle S Farm, Colvin Family Farm, Crabtree Farms, Fall Creek Farms, Fox Peace Farm, River Ridge Farm, Sequatchie Cove Farm and Tant Hill Farm, along with other vendors like Velo Roasters, Sale Creek Honey and Link 41.
This week’s market will also feature samples of recipes that appeared in the winter issue of “Eat Up,” Gaining Ground’s locally sourced cookbook
“It’s surprising what comes to market,” Baranowski said. “It’s a lot.”
Given the temperature, the cold weather crops populate the booths. Farmers are bringing greens like collards, kale, spinach, swiss chard, Asian stirfry greens; root crops like beets, carrots, radishes, rutabagas and turnips; and cold crops like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kohlrabi, potatoes, sweet potatoes and winter squash.
The year-round inventory—beef, poultry, pork, eggs, cheese, honey, bread, stone-ground corn products, preserves, and occasionally lamb and goat—are available as well.
Foodies can also scout out the fare at the market every Wednesday by checking the Main Street Farmers Market website.
As to why people should continue to make the Main Street Farmers Market a part of their weekly food shopping, Baranowski offered some very practical arguments about the simple need to eat and provide continuous support for local farmers.
“We still need to put a meal on the table three times a day,” she said. “We also need to support the local food economy year-round. That way, farms can devote their time year-round to farming rather than being distracted in the winter, looking for other employment. It helps them be better farmers and better business [owners].”
The Main Street Farmers Market is located at 325 East Main St. and runs from 4 to 5 p.m. every Wednesday.