Hendersonville Farmers Market Opens for the Season - TribPapers

Hendersonville Farmers Market Opens for the Season

Team ECCO provides children's activities at the opening of the Hendersonville Farmers Market.

Hendersonville – The Hendersonville Farmers Market opened for the season on May 4, with two dozen vendors offering farm-fresh produce, meat, baked goods and crafts. The market will take place every Saturday through October, from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. The market is held at the historic Train Depot in downtown Hendersonville’s 7th Avenue.

The opening-day market drew a large crowd in spite of ongoing construction in the 7th Avenue district. Roadwork related to the Seventh Avenue Streetscape Project will keep 7th Avenue closed throughout the season. Alternative parking for vendors and attendees is available on Maple Street, 5th Avenue, or Hendersonville’s public parking lots.

Downtown Hendersonville Manager Jamie Carpenter touted the market as an important tool to support 7th Avenue businesses during the construction. “The market really drives people onto 7th Avenue,” said Carpenter. “Since we’ve held the market at the depot, approximately 40,000 more people are in the district each year.” Carpenter shared that two permanent 7th Avenue businesses, Homemade Pasta Noodles and Mini Batch Bakery, got their start as vendors at the market.

The Hendersonville Farmers Market has been in operation on 7th Avenue for four seasons. The 2024 season includes vendors from within a sixty-mile radius of Hendersonville. Market organizers prioritize Henderson County-grown products, with 50% of market vendors representing growers, animal products, or foragers. The remaining vendors represent prepared food, baked goods, and artisans.

At the inaugural market, children’s activities were provided by Team ECCO Aquarium and Shark Lab. Two bands provided live music, with Fiddlin’ Ryn and Andy Bracken performing at opposite ends of the street.

Caitlyn Farms joined the market for the first time this year as a meat vendor. Kelly Elliott, Operations Manager for Caitlyn Farms, was on hand to discuss the family-owned farm’s approach to sustainably raising beef. Caitlyn Farms is American Grass Fed-certified and incorporates regenerative ranching and wildlife conservation into their operations. “Our focus is bridging the gap between farming and wildlife,” explained Elliott.

The Hendersonville Farmers Market represents an expansion for Caitlyn Farms. “This is a bigger market than usual for us; we usually go to small tailgate markets,” said Elliott. “It’s great to be at a Saturday market. People are relaxed and doing their weekend shopping. It’s been a wonderful day.”

The Hendersonville Farmers Market is a food stamp retailer and is able to match, dollar for dollar, SNAP or EBT spending on food items at the market. The market also offers $5 tokens for purchase, which can be used like cash at any vendors who do not accept debit or credit card payments.

The market is operated by the nonprofit Friends of Downtown Hendersonville organization and is staffed by the City of Hendersonville Community Development Department’s Downtown Division. Downtown Events Coordinator and Market Manager Dakota Parker emphasized the importance of local support for the success of the farmers market.

“For our regular customers, it’s embedded in their lives from May through October,” said Dakota Parker, Downtown Events Coordinator and Market Manager. “It’s not just a market; it’s a community.”