The whole world is finally awakening to the fact that farm fresh food is not only attainable but essential to the sustainability of communities nationwide. All my life I have revered fresh produce and the wonderful foods that were grown by my grandparents and others who lived off the land. The excitement I felt when visiting the south as a child, the pure flavor of the food that was served at the dinner table inspires me to get back to the basics and share my love of farm fresh with everyone who crosses my path.
Now living in Dallas , Georgia a small sleepy town outside the Atlanta metro area, I am inundated with little farmers markets and farm stands that gives folks here, far and wide the opportunity to taste the bounty of the land. Unfortunately, many the open air Farmers Markets shut down in October each year; although two indoor markets continue to provide fresh produce, fruit, meats, dairy, baked goods and more at least 364 days a year.
It really matters not what you’re looking for because visiting a farmers market is a lot like going to a flea market, you know what you want, but somehow you just never leave with the items on your list. Farmers markets are like to Bloomingdale’s of the food world with a touch of Filene’s Basement thrown in for good measure. There is literally something for every budget and finicky palate, no matter your age. Farmers markets are for people who love good fresh food.
According to the USDA, in 2007 there was more than 4,500 farmers market in the United States , double the number of farmers markets that existed in 2000. The fact is there is a strong desire for local, farm fresh, in many cases, organic foods with the primary focus being on freshness and flavor. This is nothing new to the folks here in the south where we are deeply entrenched in our agrarian roots dating back to Colonial times, growing seasons are longer here and small farms are really big business since a lot of the land here has been in Georgia families for years. It is truly a labor of love.
Anyone looking for great indoor markets in Georgia need only consider taking a stroll through the Atlanta State Farmers Market located at 16 Forest Pkwy, Forest Park, Georgia 30297 (404-675-1782). At 150 acres, the market opened in 1958 and was considered one of the largest markets of its kind in the world. Today the Atlanta State Farmers Market is open 364 days a week, 24 hours a day, with the best time for retail purchasing between 7:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. ; closing on Christmas Day; this market allows visitors to pick-their-own produce or purchase by the bushel.
Another sleepy little farmers market is the Decatur Farmers Market which offers locally grown fresh organic food products that include everything from produce to bread, jam and sauces. This in-town location offers local farmers the opportunity to deliver straight from the farm to your grocery bag. The market is open year round and although there is no real address the market location is close to 498 North McDonough Street , Decatur , Georgia 30030 and you can contact them at (770) 527-0395 .
One of the most important relationships we can establish in 2011 is the one we create with the local farmers who provide sustainable foods that feed our community. It is essential that we know where our food is coming from, how it is processed and how animals are raised. This knowledge becomes comforting as we continue to read about E. coli and salmonella outbreaks in commercially processed Agra-businesses and tainted seafood’s from overseas. Possessing the power to purchase direct from the farmer is long overdue and provides everyone with the opportunity to engage in fair and direct transactions liberating us from the ever unpopular middleman.
Herrick, Holly, (2009). Southern Farmers Market Cookbook, Layton, UT: Gibbs Smith Books.