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Local flavor
Although its off to a slow start, the farmers market is a chance to test culinary skills and tastes
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Farmer Anita White holds a head of Carmona Red Lettuce. She and her husband David White own It Began with a Seed farm in Lula, which sells produce at the Hall County Farmers Market. - photo by Tom Reed

0521Market

Lula farmer David White, president of the Hall County Farmers Market, talks about farming.

0521Market

Lula farmer David White, president of the Hall County Farmers Market, talks about farming.

In years past, taking a trip to the Hall County Farmers Market would be the highlight of the day.

Every stall would be filled and customers would be meandering around looking at and buying locally grown produce, flowers and other goods.

Now, according to David White "farmers are dinosaurs" in Hall County.

"It is early in the season but in the past seven years there are less farmers every year," said White, president of the Hall County Farmers Market.

On Tuesday morning there were just two farmers selling from their booths: White and Glenn Waldrip.

But on Saturday mornings, and when summer gets going full swing, White said many more farmers are expected.

"In the summertime there will be all kinds of stalls with handmade soaps, local honey ... they have all kinds of great peaches, tomatoes," said farmers market customer Dana Pudenz. "So we’ll get what he (White) has and we will supplement it with other local products."

Pudenz said she enjoys the market because it helps her try many vegetables and fruits that she wouldn’t normally eat — and she loves to bring her children.

"They actually get to see where vegetables come from," she said. "These days they are so disconnected to where their food comes from, they think it all comes in a box."

But she receives her produce weekly in a basket created by White and his wife, Anita.

The Whites are the owners of It Began with a Seed farm in Lula, which operates a community supported agriculture program. But they do have vegetables for sale for those who are not members of the CSA.

"If it wasn’t for their money to make my farm run I wouldn’t do this," White said. "Farmin’ ain’t easy work, there’s lots of things I could do; if I had to gamble like most farmers I wouldn’t do it."

The Whites supply CSA members with produce each week and they pay for a share in their farm. But others also have the chance to sample the homegrown goodies at the market.

"Everything we bring here is fresh," White said. "It’s picked the day before ... the flavors are unbelievably different."

Other farmers who sell their goods at the farmers market must be local, in a two-county radius of Hall County, to be a member.

"All of this produce is locally grown so that anybody that buys here could actually go to the farm and see the farmer that they bought from," White said.

Waldrip, who began his 5-acre farm as hobby after retirement, had Texas sweet onions, beets and lettuce at his stand.

"I usually come on Tuesdays and occasionally on Saturdays ... I plant corn and beans and squash, cucumbers, lettuce," he said. "Just about everything."

Waldrip also said the farmers market is a valuable organization for folks to support.

"You can get fresh, local stuff here and it’s a lot better than what you’ll get from Mexico or California," he said. "When the squash, tomatoes and other produce comes in people will start lining up here."

This time of year, the selection is limited to varieties of lettuce, onions, radishes and spinach.

For an easy and quick salad to incorporate the seasonal veggies, Anita White suggested a strawberry and spinach salad with some almonds or sunflower seeds.

In the next few weeks other summer vegetables will start showing up at the farmers market.

"We’ll soon start seeing cauliflower; collards we’ll have next week," David White said. "Squash will start coming in about the first of June."

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