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Its fresh produce time!
0513markets
Luba Rusk of Luba’s Greenhouse in Gainesville stands with spices and other plants she has for sale on Tuesday, the first day of the Hall County Farmers Market. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Local farmers markets

Hall County Farmers Market
When: 6 a.m.-sellout Tuesdays and 7 a.m.-sellout Saturdays through October
Where: East Crescent Drive and Jesse Jewell Parkway just off I-985 at Exit 24

Dahlonega Farmers Market
When: 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesdays and Saturdays through October
Where: Hancock Park, downtown Dahlonega

Hoschton Farmers Market
When: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday
Where: Ye Ole Gas Station, Ga. 53 at Old Peachtree Road, Hoschton

Suwanee Farmers Market
When: 4-7 p.m. Tuesdays and 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays through Oct. 12
Where: Town Center Park, Suwanee

When looking for fresh produce, we’re now in the season that gives us lots of options.

Even so, keep in mind the old cliche: The early bird gets the worm.

Of course, in this case the "worm" is fresh vegetables, local honey and all-natural baked goods made by local artisan bakers. Good thing the birds don’t know what they’re missing.

As of this Tuesday, there are now four area farmers markets to choose from on any given Saturday until October. The Hall County Farmers Market opened Tuesday, joining markets in Dahlonega, Hoschton and Suwanee where you can find locally grown and made items.

Tuesday’s opening at the Hall County Farmers Market site, located off I-985’s Exit 24, at Jesse Jewell Parkway and East Crescent Drive, had a variety of greens. In fact, it’s green time at most markets, with spinach, collards, turnips, Swiss chard, mustard and kale topping the list in Gainesville. There were also 10 varieties of lettuce, along with more unusual items such as tat soi — a cross between mustard greens and spinach — along with Chinese broccoli and bok choy.

There were also fresh strawberries from Jaemor Farms, along with locally grown green onions, cabbage, radishes, beets and sugar snap peas. You can even buy locally grown brown eggs and harvested honey.

If you want to have your own garden you can buy vegetable plants, including tomato and all kinds of peppers. There also was a selection of bedding flowers, including annuals and perennials. One vendor had over seven different herbs for sale.

And Hall County resident and expert beekeeper Bob Bradbury was back again at the Hall County Farmers Market, selling a selection of honey — wildflower, sourwood and Tupelo — along with beeswax candles.

And as with many markets, often the person selling you the vegetables is the same person who pulled them out of the ground the day before.

For example, at Dahlonega’s farmers market you can meet Herman McDonald, who still plows his garden with a mule. Dahlonega shoppers also can find a selection of jams, jellies, honey, dried flowers and even some seeds.

The Downtown Dahlonega Farmers Market is sponsored by the City of Dahlonega’s Better Hometown Program and Downtown Development Authority, while the Hall County Farmers Market is organized through Cooperative Extension.

In Hoschton, the year-round market varies depending on what’s in season — and during the colder months, some produce comes in from South Georgia — but there is always something available. Along with onions, garlic and sweet potatoes, Hoschton’s offerings also include locally made whole-wheat bread, jellies, dried herbs, teas, herbal remedies and some handmade crafts.

Hall County Extension agent Debbie Wilburn contributed to this story

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