JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — In a sure sign of spring, the Johnson City and Jonesborough Farmers Markets are opening for the season Saturday, May 7.

At the Johnson City Farmers Market, local vendors will be moving back under the pavilion with resellers and other vendors in the parking lot. Last year all vendors were spread out through the parking lot.

“We have changed our setup to come inside,” said Tiffany Stanley, Johnson City Farmers Market President. “We will also be featuring vendors outside of the market. We’ve actually tried to get all of our local farms inside with the protection, and it’s a little bit easier on keeping their produce fresh.”

Organizers say you can expect to see many of your favorite vendors back again this year and some new faces, with more than 40 vendors and 18 local farms at the Johnson City Farmers Market.

They’ll also be hosting live music and food trucks each weekend.

“We are hoping to feature some new food trucks,” Jennifer Maupin, Johson City Farmers Market Manager. “We’d like to have a couple set up every Saturday. We have our music every Saturday as well from nine to noon. And I feel like this year we have a lot more new local farm vendors that this is their first year come into our market”

The Jonesborough Farmers Market will offer activities that both children and adults can participate in. They have teamed up with the TVA to host a walking challenge where people can earn $5 to spend on fresh produce.

“So you walk about a half a mile on our prescribed path in downtown Jonesborough to what we call the Goose Pond,” said Emily Lamb, Jonesborough Farmers Market Manager. “There’s a little dog waste station there; there’s going to be a magnet on the back, and you see what that magnet is and come back to the information booth and tell us what it is.”

Organizers and farmers agree it’s about more than just shopping; it’s about connection.

“They want to know what our techniques are,” said David Wiley, Serenity Knoll Farm. “How do we grow our food? Are we using any chemical herbicides or pesticides? Which we do not, of course. But we also can talk about what do you do with this food?”

Wiley said he likes to speak with the customers about what they would like to see offered from his farm. As well as telling them about the cooking classes held at Serenity Knoll using produce grown there.

Although the Jonesborough Farmers Market isn’t offering online sales this year, they are working to connect producers and customers online.

“We have been working over the winter to get Boone Street Market, which is our sister market over on Main Street and Boone Street over there, up online,” said Lamb. “So, you can order anytime during the week, anything that’s in stock at the store.”

Both markets will be open Saturdays through October, with some changes for festival weekends. The Jonesborough Farmers Market will not happen on July 2 or Oct. 8 during Jonesborough Days and the Storytelling Festival. The Johnson City Farmers Market will move over to The Model Mill on June 4 and 25 and August 13 and 20.

Many vendors accept cash, few also accept cards. EBT/SNAP users can purchase tokens to use at booths at both markets. In Jonesborough, they will match SNAP benefits up to o$20 with the Double Up Food Bucks Program. Jonesborough also offers tokens for purchases at check-in for credit card and debit users.