Evening farmers market going strong in Erwin; Elephant Revival year two on deck

Midway through its second season, the Tuesday evening farmers market in downtown Erwin is going strong.

Organized by RISE Erwin, a group of young professionals behind several new festivals in the town, the farmers market will continue through September.

Fresh produce and vendors of handmade crafts, live music and a rotation of specialty food trucks set up from 5-8 p.m. every Tuesday in the courthouse parking lot on Main Avenue.

With summer crops reaching their peak, the variety available at this week’s market included a bounty of new potatoes and half-runner string beans, corn and tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers, several varieties of squash, cabbage, peaches and plums, blackberries, grapes and more. Specialty items included grass-fed beef, free-range chicken eggs, fresh roasted coffee beans, artisan breads, old-fashioned fried apple pies and more.

RISE Erwin President Jamie Rice said North Carolina growers, including the folks from Tater Hill Farms who are regulars at the Erwin market, are several weeks behind Unicoi County in their growing season and will be able to extend the summer peak in the market’s variety for some time.

Meanwhile Rice said, RISE Erwin is firming up plans for its second edition of the Elephant Revival that last year raised more than $7,000 for The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee.

Launched last year in honor of Mary the circus elephant who was hanged in the Erwin railroad yard in the summer of 1916 after a fatal encounter with her handler in nearby Kingsport, the Elephant Revival marked the centennial of Mary’s death with a series of fun events to benefit the retired circus elephants who live at the sanctuary in Middle Tennessee.

Rice said this year’s revival will be a two-night affair with a ticketed luau dinner at The Bramble for adults planned for Friday night, Sept. 22, and a glow event for children to be held throughout downtown on Saturday night Sept. 23.

An auction of eight colorfully painted baby elephant statues purchased with sponsorship from Erwin merchants and on display throughout the downtown district will be held on Oct. 21 and will also benefit The Elephant Sanctuary.

Email Sue Guinn Legg at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.