If you are looking for an authentic Knoxville experience, do as the locals do and take a trip to the Market Square Farmers’ Market.
Nestled in the heart of downtown Knoxville, the Market Square Farmers’ Market is held every Wednesday and Saturday, May - November, and Saturdays in December, on the site of the former Market House - a structure built in the late mid 1800s intended to serve as a marketplace for farmers’ wares. When the Market House burned in 1960, it was replaced with an open-air, European-style pedestrian plaza that, since 2004, has served as Knoxville’s premier venue for locally grown, raised, and produced goods - the Market Square Farmers’ Market.
Vendors, much as they did when the Market House stood, line the center of Market Square, Union Avenue, and Market Street selling plants, cut flowers, fruits and vegetables, herbs, honey, cheeses, eggs, meat, breads and baked goods, beverages, bath and body products, and a variety of artisan crafts, all produced by the vendor within a 150-mile radius of Knoxville, TN.
Visiting the Market Square Farmers’ Market isn’t just another trip to the grocery, though. Sure, you’ll fill tote after reusable tote will all sorts of amazing local finds, but you’re also creating valuable connections through a series of casual interactions between friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, strangers, locals, visitors, farmers, public servants, and business owners alike. Farmers’ markets “bring together disparate groups, exposing them to distinct interactions, renewing community spirit, and reconstituting public spaces by producing fluid places that promote interaction, level social hierarchies, and encourage experimentation.” - Alphonso Morales, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
These connections are VITAL in creating a sense of community and place, which is why Nourish Knoxville strives to make our markets welcoming and accessible to all, perfectly in line with the history of Market Square itself. “Market Square is the most democratic place on earth. There the rich and the poor, the white and the black, jostle each other in perfect equality, and the scenes during the busy hours of the afternoon are always worth watching” – Knoxville Journal and Tribune. This quote is from 1900 but rings true of the Market Square Farmers’ Market today. We work to carry on this legacy by not only providing a venue for a diverse set of vendors and products, but also by providing varied programming and events at the market. We accept SNAP benefits, provide a SNAP doubling program, create monthly free activities for children, host field trips for school groups and employers, and host special events like our annual Tomato Tasting.
While the amazing selection of local farm products is a huge part of the Market Square Farmers’ Market, there are so many more reasons to visit! Come discover your new favorites this season!