Don’t let the pandemic stop you from enjoying this season’s harvest.
Farmers markets in Hall County are bursting forth from freshly tilled ground and reopening for the summer.
Hall County Farmers Market reopened for the summer in mid-May.
Chris Cleveland, president of the Hall County Farmers Market, said he plans to have 30 or more vendors this year including artisans, florists, bakers, beekeepers and farmers who sell seasonal produce. He assures people the booths will be spaced out appropriately.
“We can always use more visitors, but the season is just really beginning by the second or third week of June,” Cleveland said. “That’s when it really starts rolling.”
Gainesville Farmers Market, which sets up shop on the square in downtown Gainesville, is in the works of reopening from 2:30-6:30 p.m. on Fridays.
Steven Thomas, manager of the Gainesville Farmers Market, said he is waiting on the city government’s approval to kick off the operation. If all goes as planned, he aims to reopen on Friday, June 5.
He anticipates around 14 vendors this season, which Thomas said is less than usual to promote social distancing.
“Once the farmers plant stuff in the ground, you can’t put it on hold,” he said. “From what I understand, the farmers right now, they’ve got a lot of stuff they need to move.”
Mark Fantom, Flowery Branch Farmers Market manager, encourages people to take advantage of the local open-aired markets and support their local farmers, bakers and food sellers.
“It’s a lot less scary than the grocery store,” he said. “You’re dealing with the person who picked the stuff that day.”
Since opening up the Flowery Branch Farmers Market in early May, he said the flow of visitors has been consistent and easy to manage.
To promote social distancing, the operation’s 15 vendors place cars between each tent.
“Most people are behaving themselves,” Fantom said. “Some wear masks, some don’t, but everyone seems to be respecting each other’s space.”
Those who attend the Flowery Branch Farmers Market, which is open 3-6:30 p.m. on Thursdays, can expect to see vendors selling roasted coffee, fresh fruit, beef, pork, vegetables and other seasonal produce.
Peg Sheffield, Braselton Farmers Market’s manager, said she is looking forward to reopening for the summer at 4 p.m. Friday, June 5.
So far, she said around 22 vendors have registered, including six farmers. Some of this season’s vendors are Antonio Family Foods, a Fillipino bakery; Fitzgerald Fruit Farms, which supplies fresh peaches, strawberries and other produce; and Best Friends Biscuits, a local producer of handmade vegetarian dog treats.
Sheffield said the type of products at the farmers market vary from week to week, depending on the specific harvest times.
“We are a food-only market,” she said. “It has to be something you can eat or pick from the earth.”
This season the Braselton Farmers Market is following protocols to limit the spread of COVID-19. Sheffield said masks are encouraged and each booth is safely distanced. Vendors will not offer food samples, and those who can provide cashless transactions will do so.
“We’re excited about reopening for the summer and getting back to what’s now the new normal,” Sheffield said. “We want to provide locally grown vegetables and fruits, baked goods and other items to people who visit the market.”
Braselton Farmers Market
When: 4-7 p.m. Fridays
Where: 9924 Davis St., Braselton
More info: Braselton Farmers Market’s Facebook page
Flowery Branch Farmers Market
When: 3-6:30 p.m. Thursdays
More info: Flowery Branch Farmers Market’s Facebook page
Gainesville Farmers Market
When: To be announced
Where: Downtown Gainesville square
More info: Gainesville Farmers Market’s Facebook page
Hall County Farmers Market
When: 2:30-6:30 p.m. Tuesdays, 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays
More info: Hall County Farmers Market’s Facebook page
Northeast Georgia Locally Grown
What: Year-round online farmers market
When: Order online Fridays through Mondays, pick up 5-6:30 p.m. Wednesdays
More info: northeastgeorgia.locallygrown.net