Farmer’s Market opens in Roan Mountain

Published 1:45 pm Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Sunlight was shining down as sounds of mountain music filled the air and visitors browsed the booths at opening day of the Roan Mountain Farmers Market.

Though the market was small for its first day, it was also successful, drawing crowds throughout the morning and into the afternoon.

Several vendors set up booths selling homemade crafts, farm fresh eggs and live plants including flowers, herbs and trees. As produce harvests begin coming in during the summer, market organizers expect the venue to grow.

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“We are set up for 20 slots,” said Erik Anderson, one of the market’s organizers. “I expect by July we will be completely full.”

“We still have quite a few farmers in this county,” he added.

Ann Campbell, a Roan Mountain resident, came to the market to browse but ended up leaving with unique purchase – a handmade crochet baby blanket crafted by Mary Tackett, of Hampton.

“I’m so glad I found such a special gift,” Campbell said, adding it is hard to find handmade items these days.

Members of the Cloudland High School’s Future Farmers of America chapter were also among the vendors on opening day. The group sold plants from the school’s greenhouse as well as handmade planter boxes constructed from pine, jack vines and moss.

The FFA chapter, along with their adviser Lauren Jaynes Turbyfill, oversaw the market operations.

“This is a supervised agricultural program for our Cloudland FFA,” said County Commissioner Mike Hill, who represents Roan Mountain and helped organize the market. As part of their FFA duties, the students must work a certain number of hours each year on an agricultural project, Hill added.

To add to the excitement of opening day, shoppers were treated to some old time music when T.V. Barnett and his Roan Mountain MoonShiners were joined by members of the group Thistle Dew for a jam session at the market.

Both Hill and Anderson were pleased with the turn out for the market’s opening day.

“I would have to say it’s a big success,” Hill said. “I’m thrilled to pieces that it’s not raining.”

Anderson smiled as he watched shoppers bustle through the market and pausing to listen to the music.

“It will be a nice community thing here,” he said, adding there are plans to expand and make the market and park an even bigger part of the Roan Mountain community.

“Our plans are to put up a stage like they have at the Covered Bridge,” he said. “That is one of our next projects. We just have to raise the money in the community.”