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Dig into fresh produce at farmers markets

Agriculture hot spots open across Northeast Georgia

POSTED: May 29, 2014 10:06 a.m.

As the weather warms, many Northeast Georgia farmers are sharing their homegrown produce at area markets now open for the spring and summer season.

In Gainesville, the Hall County Farmers Market is the first to open with a signaficant change. The market hours are now 2:30-6:30 p.m. every Tuesday instead of the early morning hours from previous years. But the market is keeping its Saturday hours of 7 a.m. to noon.

“We changed our hours because working folks are going to work in the morning and they are coming home between 2:30 and 6:30 at night,” said David White, president of the Hall County Farmers Market Inc. “We wanted to make ourselves more available to the working man.”

White said farmers markets allow the community to support local farmers since the food is from Georgia’s “own backyard.”

“(It) is not being shipped in from China, (which) is very important,” he said.

The farmers market will sell hundreds of varieties of vegetables and fruits produced by farmers in Hall and the surrounding counties and sold throughout the season, which usually ends in late September. The primary stipulation of the Hall County market is vendors are not allowed to buy and resell products. It means only in-season produce is available because nothing can be shipped in from out of the area.

“Every farmer in our market has to produce what he sells,” White said. “We have no hucksters here.”

Rain or shine, goods are on display at Hall County Farmers Market at 734 E. Crescent Drive near Jesse Jewell and Lanier parkways. The number of vendors can fluctuate between 10 to more than 30. Restrooms and parking spaces are available.

Dan Skelton is a farmer from Jefferson who sells his products at the farmers market.

“We grow about 100 varieties of produce like lettuce, cabbage, broccoli cauliflower, about 15 types beans, two varieties of corn and about 10 varieties of tomatoes,” he said. “It’s quite an extensive list.

“A lot of (selling in the market) is an education process for people who don’t really know when or where food comes from. We’re used to going to a grocery store and seeing whatever whenever. At the market, it’s a fresher product and they know where it came from.”

The only Gainesville-based farmers market is the Historic Downtown Gainesville Market on the Square. It opens Friday, May 30, and runs from 2:30-6:30 p.m. every Friday.

All farmers at the market grow the produce themselves and all food purveyors make the food products they sell, according to the market’s website (www.hallfarmers.org). Participation as a vendor is by invitation of the market manager, and all are hand-picked to provide our customers with the best the North Georgia agricultural community can offer.

Other farmers market pepper the Northeast Georgia region, ranging from Jefferson in Jackson County and Suwanee in Gwinnett County to Clarkesville in Habersham County and Dahlonega in Lumpkin County.

The Downtown Clermont Farmer’s Market is 9 a.m. to noon every Saturday at 639 Main St. in Clermont. The market includes fresh produce, sausage, fresh eggs, pasture-raised chicken, pasture-raised beef, lamb, pork, roasted coffee beans, chocolate-covered coffee beans, iced coffee, handmade soaps, bath and laundry products, fruit trees, shrubs, and perennials and fresh-cut flowers.

The Braselton Farmers Market opened two weeks ago. It is from 4-7 p.m. Fridays on Harrison Street in downtown Braselton. It includes organic vegetables, homemade canned goods, flowers, herbs, baked goods, honey and a variety of dips, dressings and jams. Parking is available on Frances Street, in the vacant lot across the street from the market, at the Braselton Library or in the back of the Northeast Georgia Bank. Public restrooms are available in the nearby community center.

The Suwanee Farmers Market opened May 3 at Town Center Park at the intersection of Buford Highway and Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road. Hours are 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays through Oct. 4 and 4-7 p.m. Tuesdays through Aug. 5.

The Clarkesville Farmers Market opened this month and is from 9 a.m. to noon every Saturday at the Old Clarkesville Mill at 538 Grant St. It includes fresh produce and meats free of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and genetically modified products. For more information visit www.clarkesvillefarmersmarket.com.

The Flowery Branch Farmers Market is from 4-7 p.m. every Thursday through October. It is located at 5305 Railroad Ave. in Flowery Branch.

The Jefferson Farmers Market opens June 7 and will be from 7-11 a.m. Saturdays in the South Square in downtown Jefferson.

The Dahlonega Farmers Market is open from 3-6 p.m. Tuesdays and 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays through Oct. 11 in Hancock Park at the intersection of North Park and Warwick Streets.


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