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Farmers market opens for season on Gainesville square

Homegrown food is just part of the attraction

POSTED: May 30, 2014 10:55 p.m.

Jim and Mona Williams and dog Hendrix shop Friday with Danny Thompson at the Gainesville Farmers Market on the downtown square. "It's all handmade," said Thompson, of Flowery Branch and owner of Dan's Woodturning. Dan's is one of the new vendors at the market this year. The Williamses live in Gainesville and have shopped at the market before. "Hendrix loves to come here," Mona Williams said.

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The Gainesville Farmers Market opened Friday afternoon with many returning vendors and two new ones.

Some of the old favorites such as bison meat, pork and fresh eggs are returning, said Regina Mansfield, Main Street manager.

Dan’s Woodturning is new to the downtown square this year, and owner Danny Thompson said his business is primarily a hobby.

“It’s a nice way to meet a lot of people,” the retired railroad employee said.

He offered various hand-crafted items, but several styles of cutting boards were front and center, ranging from $20 to $30.

“It’s all handmade,” Thompson told shoppers.

AMB Alpacas is also new. The Clermont farm is owned by Paula and Dave Puckett. They shear their seven huacaya and suri alpacas each spring before hot weather, they said.

“Sometimes their fiber is 4 inches long,” Paula Puckett said.

The huacayas’ coats are fluffy while the suris’ coats resemble dreadlocks, Dave Puckett said. There are 22 natural alpaca colors, ranging from white to black and browns, the Pucketts said.

Market manager Steven Thomas said merchants on the square say their business increases on market Fridays.

Mansfield said there will be more than locally grown food.

“We have everything and then some,” she said. “We’ve lined up a lot of music and demonstrations.”

There will be local authors and book signings also, she said.

Music also returned as Dave Boyd and the Shade Tree Smugglers played for the market’s opening.


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