Oconee Farmers Market will launch its eighth season on April 16 in the open space behind Eagle Tavern in downtown Watkinsville.
The market will operate from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. each Saturday through the fall. Last year, the market closed at the end of October.
At a meeting of vendors on Feb. 17, several indicated they would have early produce, plants, baked goods and hand-made soap ready for the market by April 16. That meeting, attended by 21 vendors and six board members, was held at the Oconee County Library in Watkinsville.
The Board of Directors of the Market confirmed the April 16 launch date for the market at a meeting it held on Feb. 24 at the home of Debbie Beese, market treasurer.
Last year, the market opened on May 8.
|Beese, Page at Feb. 17 meeting.|
At one point last summer, 35 separate vendors were selling at the market, Russ Page, president of the Board, reported at the Feb. 24 meeting.
Vendors have been paying 5 percent of their sales each week to support the market. The Market does not get any governmental support other than free use of the space behind Eagle Tavern.
The market began operation in 2004 in the front yard of the Eagle Tavern across from the courthouse but moved to the rear of the Tavern in 2009 to allow for more vendors and because the county sodded the grass in front of the historic tavern.
This year, Watkinsville has agreed to close First Street behind Eagle Tavern to create additional space for vendors.
Each vendor will have an assigned space this year. Several members of the Board of Directors will take turns serving as market manager, handling the assignment of space and accommodating new vendors who join the market as the growing season progresses.
The Board agreed at the Feb. 24 meeting to launch a promotional campaign to support the Market. The campaign will include both paid advertisements in the local media as well as a free announcements.
I am a member of the Board, representing consumers.