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Market extended
Dixie Lee Farmers Market extends its season into November after warm reception in Farragut

Jeff and Virginia “Ginger” Cannon are pleased with the success of Dixie Lee Farmer’s Market, meeting every Saturday at Renaissance | Farragut.

“It’s been real busy. There’s plenty of selection on produce and other variety of things,” Jeff said.

“It’s gone tremendous, if you ask me. You know, the first day, we had to direct traffic. And we had a few farmers, so people were getting here real early because we were running out.

“Now it’s not like that. The 9 o’clock people come, then there’s a 10 o’clock rush and an 11 o’clock rush,” Ginger said.

The farmer’s market, which is still in its first season, is averaging more than 200 visitors and between 10 and 15 vendors each Saturday.

“We’ve not been open even a full season yet. That’s not bad; that’s not bad at all,” Ginger said.

Oct. 4, the Cannons plan a “fee free” day, where vendors can bring out the wares without paying the traditional fee.

“I’m going to lose a lot of money that day, but I want to encourage people who were afraid, since it was a new market and it’s not going to go, encourage them to come out,” Ginger said.

“Being a fee free day, you’ve basically got nothing to lose, and that’s the point,” she added.

“And the customers who didn’t think we’d make it to come out and see what kind of farmers and craft people we’ve got,” she added.

“We’re actually going to make it as festive as we can without turning it into a fair,” Ginger said.

The Cannons also will pass out comment cards to visitors and take feedback from vendors on Oct. 4 to help shape next season’s offerings. They also hope to have a benefit auction for St. Jude’s.

Crafts will remain limited at the market, the Cannons said. They want to keep the focus on fresh, local produce.

“We’re focusing on the food,” Jeff said.

“The actual produce is going to start slimming down over the next month or so and it’s more of a Christmas season,” Ginger said.

“I really want to create a forum where one or two months of the year, [crafters] can just come out and meet the public,” she added.

Because of the market’s success, the Cannons have decided to extend the season until the Saturday before Thanksgiving, Nov. 22.

The Cannons also work to help various benefits and food pantries through the market.

“We keep a bucket for monetary donations that we give to FISH hospitality pantries, as well as donations of produce,” Jeff said.

“Bill Everhart, Purring Dog Farms ... I really want it noted how much he has given us for the hospitality pantries.

“He has donated a lot of produce. He’s probably given us two- or three-hundred pounds of produce,” Ginger said.

“We’re trying our best to do as many benefit-type things as possible,” she added.

Next year, the season will probably open in mid-May and stay open through November. The Cannons plan to stay in Renaissance but close the first row of parking lots, allowing foot traffic only. Vendors are stationed along the sidewalk.

“I just want to keep it relaxed,” Ginger said.

“The community response: just incredible. I have been hugged. I’m just so proud of it,” she added.

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