Watauga County Farmers’ Market cultivates community around local goods

Melanie+Vause+and+Teagan+Compton+pose+at+the+Watauga+County+Farmers%27+Market%2C+which+brings+farmers+and+artists+alike+to+Boone+from+May+through+November.+

Savannah Brewer

Melanie Vause and Teagan Compton pose at the Watauga County Farmers’ Market, which brings farmers and artists alike to Boone from May through November.

Savannah Brewer

Saturday mornings in the High Country boast an outdoor, locally-sourced experience for tourists and locals alike. 

Not far off the beaten path, winding up Horn of the West Drive, lies the Watauga County Farmers’ Market. Open from May through November, the market has been operating since 1974. 

The Farmers’ Market offers farmers and vendors a regional environment in which to sell their produce and products while also providing an authentic Blue Ridge atmosphere for locals and tourists alike. 

This time of year, pumpkins, gourds, sunflowers and the last of the summer’s peach harvest can be found coloring the crowded booths. Fiddle music and the smell of soup from Caldwell Community College’s culinary program permeate the air. 

Susan Denny, of Denny Nursery in Ashe County, has been bringing her produce to the farmer’s market for over 10 years and grows everything she sells.

 Her tent is lined with herbs, such as catnip, basil and lavender, as well as vegetables, cucumbers and peppers. 

“We’ve got a farm where we grow the garden stuff, and we also have two big greenhouses at our house that we grow all the small plants (in),” Denny said.

Pinto beans at the Watauga County Farmers’ Market. Farmers and vendors can sell their local goods at the market on Saturdays. (Savannah Brewer)

Amy Fiedler’s booth is flushed with bright pinks, yellows, and oranges as she stands with her flower arrangements, bouquets and wreaths. 

Fiedler, of Springhouse Farms in Vilas, has been farming for 12 years. She has been coming to the Watauga County Farmers’ Market for around 11 years. 

Fiedler said the market is an all-year event for her business. She comes “every single Saturday, from the first Saturday in May, until the last Saturday in October.”

“It’s really cold at the beginning, and really cold at the end,” Fielder said. 

 A booth from Brushy Mountain Farm and Orchard of Wilkes County hosts a supply of peaches and other produce. Standing at the booth is Tom Lowe, who is a fifth-generation farmer.

 “I’m 56 years old, so I guess I started when I was six-years-old, so about 50 years.” Lowe said. 

The mission of The Watauga County Farmers’ Market is to “encourage and promote local agriculture, horticulture, value added, and craft industries in Watauga County and the adjacent area.”

The farmers’ market will be open from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. this Saturday, Sept. 26, and every Saturday through November.