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Farmers markets deliver fresh goods

Customers may select food from Georgia farms

POSTED: May 9, 2013 1:30 a.m.
Nat Gurley/Get Out

Flowery Branch farmer Bob Bradley talks with Deedee Forrester of Gainesville on Tuesday at the Hall County Farmers Market off Jesse Jewell Parkway.

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Despite the cool weather, cloudy days and deluge of rain in recent weeks, local farmers markets are opening to consumers this month.

The Hall County Farmers Market opened Tuesday for the season which runs through September.

Farmers start selling their goods at 6 a.m. Tuesday and close when they sell out, which is usually about 10 a.m. in the early season and noon during the summer, said David White, president of the Hall County Farmers Market Inc. On Saturdays, farmers sell produce from 7 a.m. to noon unless they sell out.

"The old adage is early bird gets the worm," White said, referring to early shoppers getting to pick the prime produce.

Rain or shine, goods are on display at Hall County Farmers Market at 734 E. Crescent Drive near Jesse Jewell and Lanier parkways. The market houses 57 vendor spaces under two large pole barns, out of the rain and in the shade. Mens’ and womens’ restroom facilities are available for customers, along with parking.

Vegetables offered are lettuce, radishes, onions and greens along with eggs, honey, baked goods and plants to start the season. Beans, squash, peaches, cucumbers, corn and tomatoes are added in the summer. Late crops are field peas, butter beans, pumpkins, winter squash, sweet potatoes and apples.

In the peak season of June, between 30 and 40 full-time and part-time farmers sell their produce.

"That includes backyard farmers," White said. "That’s your grandma and grandpa who grew for themselves and for their neighbors."

Farmers from Blairsville, Dahlonega and Lula as well as those in the surrounding counties sell what they grow.

"There is no hucksters at the Hall County Farmers Market," White said.

Three other local farmers’ markets opened last week.

Spout Springs Farmers Market opened May 2 for its weekly Thursday market in the Spout Springs Library parking lot. Local vendors offered produce.

Market hours are 4-7 p.m. every Thursday, but vendors often sell out early.

In addition to leafy greens, Vidalia onions and tomatoes, Mussgenug Dairy Farm offered plain and flavored goat cheese and Herbs by Deb carried several plant types. Sweet Sisters Baking Company and its pink-striped ambulance-made-bakery bar carried individually packaged pastry chef-created cupcakes. There were also custom-mixed spices, baked items, crafts and a candlemaker on site.

In 2012, the market boasted 89 vendors throughout the season, which ends in October. More vendors are expected this year.

The Suwanee Farmers Market opened May 4 at Town Center Park. Hours are 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays through Oct. 5, except Sept. 21 and 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Aug. 6.

In addition to in-season produce, a wide array of natural and homemade items are available such as honey, bread, meat and eggs, salsa, baked goods, rubs, locally roasted coffee beans, goat cheese, gourmet popsicles, plants and flowers, herbs and organic cotton candy products.

The number of vendors vary week to week, from 15 to nearly 30, depending on the day and produce in season.

The Clarkesville Farmers Market also opened May 4 and will run from 9 a.m. to noon every Saturday through October in downtown Clarkesville, 1087 Washington St., across from The Charm House.

Customers may find fresh vegetables, meats, eggs, baked and homemade goods and may sample local chefs’ creations as well as listen to live music.

"My favorite part of shopping at the farmers market is finding produce I’ve never eaten before, getting recipe ideas from the grower and going home inspired," said Maggie Van Cantfort, the 2013 volunteer market manager.

Specialty items will include pasture-raised beef and chicken, free range eggs, healthy homemade dog treats, microgreens, artisan breads, handmade soaps and salves and one-of-a kind pottery.

Vendor space is available. To become a vendor or volunteer, email or call Maggie Van Cantfort at 706-768-8883.

For information, visit or follow it on Facebook at

The Gainesville Downtown Farmers Market will open for its season Friday, May 31. Vendors are hand-picked and membership is by invitation of the market manager. However, space may be available for specialty items from growers and food producers. The market runs from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. every Friday.

Next month, the Jefferson Downtown Farmers Market will open from 7 to 11 a.m. every Saturday through October. All products sold at this market must be produced, made or grown in Georgia.

Items allowed include fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, plants, cut flowers and herbs, pumpkins and gourds as well as baked goods, breads, jams and jellies.


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