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Find fresh produce at area farmers markets
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Hall County Farmers Market
When: 6 a.m. Tuesdays and 7 a.m. Saturdays starting May 5
Where: corner of East Crescent Drive and Jesse Jewell Parkway, near Interstate 985 Exit 24
To sell: $10 to join market, $5 per day to sell; $100 to reserve space for entire selling season
More info: 770-531-6988

Hoschton Farmers Market
When: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays
Where: Towne Center Shopping Center
More info: Dan Graves, 770-861-7232

Suwanee Farmers Market
When:
8 a.m. to noon Saturdays
Where: Town Center Park, intersection of Suwanee Dam Road and Buford Highway, Suwanee
More info: 770-945-8996

Dahlonega Farmers Market
When:
7 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesdays and Saturdays; seed swap will be 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday
Where: Hancock Park off the downtown Dahlonega square
More info: 706-864-6133

HOSCHTON — Sprouts of vegetable and herbs fill Ray and Cheryle Maddox’s backyard, hinting at the promise of a successful harvest this summer.

The Hoschton husband and wife have spent 28 years cultivating the rows and rows of plants canvassing their 5-acre homestead off Jackson Trail Road.

This season, they plan to sell their goods at the upcoming Hoschton Farmers Market. The market is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays through October in the Towne Center Shopping Center.

Organizer Dan Graves said he has already seen a two-thirds increase in participants for the 2009 season.

“Right now, I’ve got the possibility of 12 to 15 (vendors),” he said. “Last year, we had seven to eight.”

The Hall County extension office also has seen an increase in interest in homegrown produce. Becky Rogers, secretary at the extension office, said more people attended a recent board meeting covering the farmers market than in many years.

“I can’t even tell you the number of soil samples we’ve done for vegetable gardens,” Rogers added. “It’s been awesome.”

In the first month at the Hall County Farmers Market, Rogers said to expect produce including lettuces, turnips, peas and maybe strawberries. More will be available as the growing season gets into full swing.

Homemade and homegrown goods, including bread and pies, regular and organic produce, herbs, ground meal, pecans, honey, eggs and orders for grass-fed beef will all be available throughout the season at the Hoschton market.

If you’re hoping to grow some of your own produce, the Georgia Appalachian Studies Center at North Georgia College & State University in Dahlonega will be holding a seed swap Saturday at the Dahlonega Farmers Market. The center has 29 seed varieties to give away, including hickory cane corn, coon corn, white cucumber, rattlesnake beans and plumgrannies.

“We have quite a few seeds that we’re going to share with the community that we’ve collected from the Dahlonega-Lumpkin area,” said Alice Sampson, director of the center.

A blacksmith will be demonstrating and there will be children’s activities. Sampson encouraged others to bring their seeds to share. And as part of the Saving Appalachian Gardens and Seeds project, someone will be recording the oral histories of the seeds.

“The whole idea is just to pay it forward,” Sampson said. “You take your seeds and share it with other people to make sure those older specimens, or older species are preserved, especially heirloom.”

Shannon Casas and Katie Dunn contributed to this story.

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