The Saturday (and Wednesday, but mainly Saturday) Market Square Farmers' Market drew a modern-era record 60 vendors in one week, with more expected as the season matures. Knoxville loves its local-vendors-only market, it's obvious. But as of this week, our market, like our air quality, has a national ranking.
Two national institutions that promote local farmers' markets, Local Harvest and Care 2, are cosponsoring a national contest to determine the most popular farmers' market in America. Farmers' market devotees can pull for their local farmers' markets to win a $5,000 prize; all the top five, at season's end, get some sort of a cash prize.
Of the 100 nationwide contenders listed, on the Local Harvest / Care 2 website, Market Square is currently #8.
It's a relief to be recognized for something other than asthma and obesity. We do have some regional competition—Durham and Greenville, S.C., are ahead of us—but Art Carmichael, one of the market's volunteer coordinators, seems particularly proud that Market Square had just passed San Francisco's famous Ferry Plaza market. (More importantly to many Knoxvillians always on the lookout for ways to outdo our little sister downstream, Market Square is leaving the Chattanooga Market in the well-fertilized dust, at #19.)