Fresh local produce isn’t just for early birds anymore.
As the Hall County Farmers market wrapped up its third afternoon on the square Friday in downtown Gainesville, Steve Thomas, a facilitator for the market, said it has been successful by catering to a whole new group.
Traditionally, farmers markets begin at the crack of dawn and wrap up by mid-morning or early afternoon.
Thomas said this schedule makes it difficult for some people to go to farmers markets that are held on Tuesday and Saturday mornings in Hall County.
"They pass the markets on Tuesday on their way to work," Thomas said. "Saturdays are their day to sleep in."
Thomas said holding a farmers market from 4 to 7 p.m. Fridays has allowed many to stop by the square on their way home from work to pick up some fresh food.
Paula Lewis of Gainesville said she prefers the afternoon market.
"I love it. It’s awesome," she said. "It is very convenient."
Lewis said she prefers to buy local vegetables and even plans to can some of the tomatoes she bought Friday to use for soups in the winter.
"I’d rather have fresh produce than buy it in the store, especially in the summertime," she said.
Thomas said the Friday market is smaller than the others, with about 12 vendors at each. The Friday market also is different in that it offers nonfood items such as homemade soaps and jewelry.
"We’re going to see how it goes and expand a little with handmade crafts," Thomas said.
The afternoon market has been good for vendors as well as customers.
Luba Rusk, who runs Luba’s Greenhouse in North Hall, said she likes selling later in the day.
"I like it better in the afternoon, we do better," she said. "I like the idea of being able to pick my stuff before the markets open because it’s fresher."