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Norris Farmers Market planning to open on May 3

Vendors offer locally made or gown products for sale during last year’s Norris Farmers Market in front of Norris Middle School. The market opens May 3 for this season. (photo:G Chambers Williams III )
The Norris Farmers Market will be back again this year on East Norris Road in front of Norris Middle School beginning Wednesday, May 3.

Coordinator Mindy Wells said the hours will be 3-6 p.m. every Wednesday during the growing season, until the market begins to wind down in September.

Because the Norris operation is an open market and does not require registration, Wells said she doesn’t know how many vendors will be on hand to start. But she does believe most of last year’s participants will return for 2023.

“It’s a very loose market, and it always starts out slow,” she said. “And there is not a lot of produce in season yet. We won’t have a good idea who’s coming until the season gets going. I assume most vendors from last year will come.

“And there have been several people requesting information on how to become a vendor. There are even some people in Andersonville interested, who are starting up some small homesteads.

“Unlike most of the others around the area, this is a free market,” Wells said. “There are no fees and no reserved spaces.”

But the restrictions are the same as they are for the unrelated Clinton and Oak Ridge farmers markets. Vendors must make, grow or create what they sell.

“The city doesn’t want anyone reselling anything,” Wells said. “It’s basically farm to consumer, with no middleman involved.”

Norris’ market will open about two weeks ahead of the Clinton farmers market, which has announced that it would start on Thursday, May 18.

The Clinton market is moving this year to Lakefront Park, near the new Clinch River bridge off Charles G. Seivers Boulevard. It will operate from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For the past two years, the Clinton market was held on the Commerce Street parking lot downtown.

It’s operated by the East Tennessee Farm Association for Retail Marketing, also known as FARM.

In Norris, the farmers market has been coordinated by Wells for the past several years. She also operates a blueberry and egg farm on Reservoir Road in Norris.

Wells said she hopes to have 10 to 15 vendors for opening day, and she said all of them will be from the local area.

“Our market has been much more focused on small farmers and backyard farmers,” she said. “People who grow blueberries in their back yards. People who have gardens, but just have too much produce, or have a couple of beehives, so they have some honey to sell. These are people who aren’t necessarily farmers, but they do have things to offer.”

“We’re still open to new vendors, and anyone interested can contact us through our Facebook page or call me directly,” Wells said. “We’re not part of any of the farmers market associations.”