Local produce, fresh food and community are the heart of the Boone Street Market. Their mission is to connect farmers, food and community to grow a vibrant local food system. The market opened in 2014 as Tennessee's only nonprofit 100% producer-only grocery store. Farmers within a one-hundred-mile radius can sell their products at the Boone Street Market.
“We know where the products come from. We inspect the farms. We have a variety of products and are supporting local farmers,” said David Phillips, the Boone Street Market manager. Phillips began working at the market four years ago after deciding he wanted to get back into working downtown. He loves the people who come to the store and being able to use his background as a chef in the kitchen.
“Most items in the grab-and-go case are made with local products. I cook on Mondays, and we also have a burger night every third Thursday of the month with music,” said Phillips. Boone Street Market Burger Nights happen from April to September on the third Thursday of the month from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. The burger night on May 18 will feature music by Sound Traveler. The burgers are customizable and give customers a chance to socialize while supporting Jonesborough.
Located in downtown Jonesborough, the Boone Street Market is making a difference in farmers’ lives with 75% or more of sales revenue returning to farmers. The help of grants, memberships and donations allows the Boone Street Market to thrive while also giving farmers the majority of their sales revenue.
Jonesborough Locally Grown is a small 501(c)(3) non-profit running Boone Street Market and Jonesborough Farmers Market.
“Everything is local. Everything is from within one hundred miles. There is really good quality of produce, and all the prices are accessible,” said Marcelo Gisbert, the Boone Street Market operations assistant.
Gisbert has worked in the market for five years. The market offers ways for anyone to afford to shop locally. SNAP-EBT is accepted at the market and there is also a Double Up Food Bucks program. SNAP members receive tokens for every purchase made, up to twenty dollars matched in tokens a day. The tokens can be used on produce, mushrooms, herbs and food-producing plants and seeds. This program along with Build it Up Bucks and Farmacy Fit allows for locally grown food to be accessible to anyone. More about these programs can be found on the Jonesborough Locally Grown website.
The market continues to grow and has faced a lot of adversity since opening, the biggest being COVID-19. By offering curbside pick-up, the business grew during the pandemic.
“When Covid started we were very busy. We cleaned the store every fifteen minutes and offered phone ordering. A lot of our products were hard to stock,” said Phillips.
He said he was constantly calling vendors because products would sell out fast, sometimes in less than a day. The community came together during the pandemic and looked for ways to shop locally. The Boone Street Market was able to be a place people could feel safe shopping at and support local farmers.
“Things went down a little bit after Covid. We still have the farmer’s market sold out every week and a lot of people continued shopping at the store after Covid,” said Phillips.
Vendors will restock “daily or weekly. A lot will call to check on inventory. Break is restocked twice a week. Produce, two to three times a week,” said Phillips. The market has a Market and Mingle where customers can meet the vendors, see various demonstrations, try food and more. This year’s Market and Mingle will be held on April 22 at Farmhouse Gallery & Gardens in Unicoi. There are also local dinners held throughout the year.
Within the past eight years of being open, the Boone Street Market has brought the community together and provided a way to shop local year-round.
“I started shopping at the Boone Street Market a little over a year ago. I love being able to buy from local farmers all year and not just at a Farmer's market. The market makes it easy for me to make healthy switches without having to go out of my way. I can find everything I need right here,” said Lindsay Nelson, a Boone Street Market regular. The grab-and-go case also seems to be a favorite of many customers. “I love being able to grab a wrap and drink on my way out of the store. Lunch is so easy, and I know it was made with local ingredients,” said Nelson.
Shopping locally goes beyond just the food, it’s also the people behind it. The Boone Street Market in Jonesborough, Tenn. is a space that brings the community together while also offering a variety of local produce and food. From pizza to apple butter to bacon, the market has a large variety. Between the Boone Street Market and the Jonesborough Farmers Market, there are over one hundred vendors. Customers are making a difference in all of these vendors’ lives. Shop locally, eat locally and support the community. To learn more about the Boone Street Market go to jonesboroughlocallygrown.org or visit the store at 101 Boone Street Jonesborough, Tenn. 37659.