Ashe County Farmers Market is currently seeking Specialty Vendors to join our market for the 2023 season.
Do you make specialty baked cakes, pies, cookies, brownies? Or do you make fantastic chicken salad or homemade crackers. Whatever it is, call Carol Griffith at 336-588-0348 and see if you would qualify to become a member of the Ashe County Farmers Market.
Located in the heart of downtown West Jefferson, our market regularly attracts between 400 – 700 customers each Saturday during our market season, which runs from Spring through Fall. Our crowd swells to over 1000 visitors during special events and long weekends.
Thanks to the support of the Town of West Jefferson, the Market appreciates a lighted, covered shelter that houses 35 vendor spaces with paved vendor parking where our shelter meets the Backstreet in West Jefferson.
Fifteen of our shelter spaces are on the closed end of the shelter. Spaces on the closed end are completely secured with pull down doors when the market is closed, thus enabling these vendors to leave tables and booth props.
We have two bathrooms on site and offer free coffee and hot water each Market Day to enjoy with our guests. We keep our vendors cool with the availability of bottled water.
Shelter spaces are assigned on a seniority basis as spaces open.
Through the generosity of First Baptist Church, the Market also has the use of a large grassy area immediately above the Market structure that we use for additional vendor space, parking and for special events.
Shelter vendors pull directly up to their space for easy, convenient loading/unloading. Grassy vendors set up right in front of their vehicles. Our customers have ample on-street parking along the Backstreet and side streets and at First Baptist Church.
We pride ourselves on offering only the freshest and highest quality local produce. We achieve this through our policies, some of which appear below:
- Everything sold by each vendor must be homegrown, produced and/or handmade by the vendor in Ashe County or in one of the counties adjoining Ashe.
- We only accept juried crafts that are handmade by local Ashe County artisans.
- We do not allow the resale of any merchandise.
- Vendors are responsible for carrying their own liability insurance and for ensuring they meet all applicable regulations relating the NCDOR and any agencies governing the selling of their produce or products.
- Growers using the label “organic” in any representation of their product must have a copy of their growers certification on file or submit a “Small Scale Organic Growers Declaration of Exemption from Certification” form.
- Vendors are subject to on-site inspections through random farm visits.
Product Compliance with State/Federal Rules and Regulations
Vendors are fully responsible for researching and ensuring compliance with all applicable State/Federal rules and regulations relating to their products sold at our market and for presenting copies of applicable certifications, kitchen inspections, etc. to the Market annually with registration.
In addition, vendors are strongly encouraged to obtain product liability insurance under their own name before selling at our market.
NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Food & Drug Protection Division
Meat and Poultry Inspection Service
Starting a Home Based Food Business
Nursery and Collected Plant Certification
Growing you Local Food Business in North Carolina: A Guide to Laws and Regulations
All vendors must complete a Vendor Application and several other forms to initiate the application process and must become a Market member. We consider new vendor applications throughout the season.
The Board of Directors reserves the right to refuse any applicant in order to maintain a balance between growers/producers and crafts and to ensure product diversity at our market.
Because we are a Farmers Market our focus is on produce. However, we do accept a limited number of craft vendors if we meet certain guidelines . Here’s what you need to know:
- Vendors selling only arts and craft items must be Ashe County residents.
- All crafts must be handcrafted by the vendor and represent excellent workmanship both in quality and design.
- Soaps, lotions, and candles must be formulated by the member and labeled with all the ingredients.
- All crafts must be juried and approved during our annual jury process which typically occurs in the Spring.
- Approval of product(s) by the craft jury does not guarantee a vendor spot at the Market. The jury process is only the first step in the process. The Board of Directors reserves the right to refuse any applicant in order to maintain a balance between growers/producers and crafts and to ensure product diversity at our Market.
Annual Market Fees
Permanent Vendor Fees
Annual Membership Dues
Permanent Shelter Spot
Permanent Grass Spot
Drop in Vendor Fees
Annual Membership Dues
Saturday Drop In Fees
Frequently asked Questions
Q: Are there spaces open under the shelter?
A: Currently all the spaces under the shelter are taken; however, we have plenty of space on what we refer to as our grass area at the market for additional vendors that meet our market criteria. All vendors applications are subject to Board approval.
Q: Are there different types of vendors?
A: All vendors pay an annual membership fee of $60. There are three types or categories of vendors:
- Permanent Space (PS) vendors have one of 35 assigned spots under our shelter. Permanent space fees are $200 per season.
- Grass Permanent Space (GPS) vendors have a preferred spot in the grassy area at our market that they return to each week. They pay $125 for this spot in advance at registration.
- Drop In vendors come when they want and pay a daily fee, which currently is $10 per Saturday.
Q: How are open shelter spots assigned?
A: Open shelter spots are offered based on vendor seniority. Please refer to our Policy and Procedures for more details.
Q: I don’t know if I should sign up for a Grass Permanent Space (GPS) or be a Drop in vendor. What should I consider?
A: If you are selling only one product, such as green beans or blueberries, that is not available throughout our entire market season (mid-April through October) and only want to sell for a few weeks or want the flexibility to drop in and out of the market as your schedule permits, then you may want to be a Drop In vendor.
The advantages to becoming a GPS vendor include:
- It’s less expensive to pay for the full year in advance than to pay for each Saturday as a Drop In Vendor. For example, there were 29 Saturdays in our 2017 market season. If you paid for each of them on a drop in basis it would have cost you $290. If you become a GPS vendor and pay up front, it only costs $125 for the same number of Saturdays.
- In addition, when shelter spots are open on any given Saturday because one or more shelter vendors are absent, we fill those spots first with our GPS vendors and/or seniority vendors who do not have a permanent space.
Q: When can I join the Market?
A: Our market focus is on produce. Qualifying produce vendors may join the market at any time throughout our market season. All vendors are subject to Board approval.
Craft vendors are admitted on a limited basis at the Board’s discretion only after their crafts have been juried at our annual Arts & Crafts Jury.
Please email us at [email protected] for more information on joining our Market and refer to our policies on this website.