Christina Myrkle, volunteer manager for the fledgling Murfreesboro Farmers’ Market, said the current plan for the market was to be open Saturdays from Memorial Day in May through about Labor Day in September, with potentially three Saturdays a month being a traditional farmers’ market and the fourth being open to crafts and handmade goods from local artisans.
The idea was originally the brainchild of the Mufreesboro Chamber of Commerce.
She added that the recent COVID-19 pandemic had led to a national increase in families purchasing locally grown food as well as producing their own food.
“What that trend in mind, we believe now is the perfect time to partner with local growers who are looking for buyers for their produce and products. This benefits not only our local growers, but also our residents as well, providing fresh produce along with many other items people are looking for.”
In addition, Myrkle said that in 2020 the online sales of home goods and garden products grew by nearly 63 percent, a clear indication that consumers are looking for more fresh healthy choices regarding their produce.
“A farmers’ market provides not only for the local consumers but also an opportunity for local farmers by giving the local farmers an increase in profits over selling to wholesalers or large grocery firms, it cuts down in the amount of time the produce is in transport, allowing for fresher choices to the consumer, and reduced costs for the farmer. Another benefit for the farmer is the variety of produce and goods that are offered at a farmers market, which attracts a more diverse group of consumers. Farmers are able to provide a selection of in season fruits and vegetables direct to the consumer, whether that consumer is a local resident or a visitor to the area. Honey, handmade soaps and organic options are just a few that will be offered to those shopping the market.”
When asked specifically what items could be available and allowed for sale at the market, Myrkle gave the following list: bakery products, brownies, candy, cookies, fruit butter, honey, jam/jelly (sugar free not allowed), chocolate covered fruit and berries that are not cut or punctured, maple syrup and whole uncut fruits and vegetables.
The Murfreesboro City Council recently approved the plan to allow farmers to participate for free without paying the traditional vendor free to the city. Also, last month, the Pike County Quorum Court approved the use of the old Murfreesboro City Park, which is located next to the former Pike County Hospital and contains the courts utilized by the Murfreesboro High School tennis team.
Myrkle recently said the location would provide a “great area for parking” for local traffic, as well as providing room to expand as the market grew over time.
She hoped that by making the site ready for a farmers’ market, that it would additionally make the site more user friendly for other ventures as well.
“We hope that moving forward the county will partner with us to clean up and improve the site to benefit everyone who will use the area. I believe this site has the potential to be used for years to come and that will mutually benefit the farmers’ market as well as Pike County, allowing those that live in the county to utilize the space for more activities.”
“We hope that all who come to the farmers’ market stay for all the rest Murfreesboro has to offer, making it a weekly weekend destination,” Myrkle concluded. “Another wonderful benefit to a local farmers market is what it brings to the community, such as an increased awareness of attractions in the surrounding area’s and activities that are offered — such as our local parks and camping, entertainment, festivals, as well as the foot traffic to local businesses and restaurants. Encouraging the consumer to come for the farmers market and stay for the day exploring the rest of what Murfreesboro has to offer is one of the main goals.”
If you are a farmer that is seeking a place to sell your produce or handmade product, please contact Myrkle at (870) 925-3413 for further details on becoming part of the market.