When Alan Caldwell first started his marketing job just one month after the Western North Carolina Farmers Market opened in September 1977, there were only two buildings where 13 stand today.
Caldwell, who is now an assistant manager, remembers one of then-Commissioner of Agriculture Jim Graham’s initial visits to the site.
“He looked down the long corridor of one of the open-air truck sheds and asked us, ‘Do you think we’ll fill it up?'”
The market certainly filled up and out, as more than 1.8 million people came by in 2008 to visit its five open-air sheds, which provide 194 spaces for farmers and dealers to display produce, and two large wholesale buildings that offer produce year-round to grocery stores, restaurants, institutions and roadside markets.