If there was any question metro Atlanta is ready for the start of seasonal farmers markets, last Saturday’s grand opening of the new Freedom Farmers Market at the Carter Center provided the answer. Organizers estimate more than 3,000 people showed up to shop.
“What a mass of humanity,” joked Jonathan Tescher of Sparta Imperial Mushrooms, as he carefully scooped lion’s mane, shiitake and oyster mushrooms into small brown bags for the customers at his booth.
The metro area has six year-round farmers markets and almost 30 seasonal markets from Cumming to Chattahoochee Hills. The Freedom Farmers Market and the Green Market at Piedmont Park kicked off the season with their March 1 opening. Other markets will open beginning in early April, with all markets in operation at least during the summer months of June, July and August.
Laurie Moore of Moore Farms and Friends, one of the Freedom market’s founders, has been working to get the market set up since last summer. “We’re very excited to be at the Carter Center. It’s a great location where folks can drive, walk or bike. Judging from the crowd today, I’d say the neighborhood was really ready for us,” she said.
That crowd included shoppers from the surrounding Inman Park, Poncey-Highland, Candler Park and Old Fourth Ward neighborhoods as well as those who had traveled from outside the Perimeter to grab a snack and fill their pantries. There were lots of strollers and lots of dogs.
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Stefan Kallweit walked to the market from his home in Inman Park. He was toting bags filled with lamb chops, bok choy, fennel, eggs, kimchee and shiitake mushrooms. “The opening of this market has been the talk of the neighborhood. I think the draw is that you’re buying from people who are doing what they love,” he said.
Melissa and Chip Wagner of Roswell were carrying bags of turnips, carrots, butter lettuce and three different kinds of mushrooms. “We follow a lot of these vendors on Facebook. When we heard about this market, we were glad to make the trip down. It’s important to us to buy food that’s grown locally, and we check out as many markets as we can,” said Chip Wagner.
Many vendors at the Freedom market are familiar to those who regularly shop at local farmers markets, while others are new to the circuit.
Lauren Janis of Big Daddy Biscuits has booths at five metro area markets. Is there room for a new market in the mix? She found customer feedback says yes. “They’re all thanking us for being here.”
Anne Quatrano of Star Provisions was at the market with her shop’s first farmers market booth ever — a bakery tent selling baguettes, biscuits with honey and butter, croissants and sandwiches.
Kendell Van der Heijden of Inman Park was shopping the market with daughter Kip and pup Benny in tow. “I am thrilled to have a market within walking distance. So far, we’ve enjoyed a steamed mushroom bun. Now we’re ready to do some shopping. I’m especially looking for honey, fresh eggs and farm-raised meats for my husband.”
One of the hallmarks of the Freedom Farmers Market is the foods-to-go prepared from ingredients purchased from other market vendors.
For example, rather than host chef demos, market organizers opted for a pop-up tent with different restaurants each week offering special creations to be enjoyed on the spot. The one requirement? They must use ingredients from other market vendors.
Opening chef was Terry Koval of the Wrecking Bar, dishing up grits made with ingredients from Riverview Farms and Sparta Imperial Mushrooms. He sold 150 servings in the first hour.
Karen Park of East Point made the trip with 3-year-old daughter Lil. “Lil loves farmers markets. She eats all the great food we buy at these markets, and she has such a good time talking with people and playing with the puppies,” Park said.
That’s just what the market organizers were hoping for. Looking up from the customers in the long line in front of her booth, Freedom market co-founder Celia Barss of Woodland Gardens said it looked as if they’d met their goal.
“In creating this market, we felt what customers want from a farmers market is as much about a place to meet their community as it is to buy their groceries. It’s a place to gather and connect,” she said.
YEAR-ROUND FARMERS MARKETS
Decatur Farmers Market
This year-round farmers market is open on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings at two different Decatur locations. Hours listed here are for spring, summer and fall and will change as the days get colder and daylight saving time ends. These are two of the four metro Atlanta markets run by Community Farmers Markets. Longtime vendors include Scharko Family Farm of Fairburn, Tink’s Grass-Fed Beef, Mountain Earth Farm and Hidden Spring Honey.
Regular hours are 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at 498 N. McDonough St., Decatur; 4-7 p.m. Wednesdays at 308 Clairmont Ave., Decatur. Markets open one hour earlier during standard time.
Farmers Market at Sweet Apple Village
This year-round market offers produce, eggs and more. Tom’s Awesome Seafood brings wild-caught seafood directly from the Georgia coast, Gazaway Farms offers grass-fed beef and pork and Happy Hog comes with any pork cut you can imagine. Lillian’s Sweet Hawaiian BBQ brings their family’s barbecue sauce and glaze made from recipes developed by their Hawaiian grandmother in 1908. McCrary Farms comes with heirloom vegetables, and Real Bread Co. brings bread made with freshly milled ingredients.
3-6 p.m. Thursdays until April; 3-7 p.m. the remainder of the year.
12030 Etris Road, Roswell.
Marietta Square Farmers Market
Located in historic downtown Marietta, this market is open on Saturdays and Sundays. The Saturday market is open all year around and hosts vendors selling an array of produce, soaps, honey, breads, preserves and dog treats. The Sunday market runs from April through December. In the winter, the market moves to a street alongside the square. The rest of the year, the vendors set up along the north side of the square.
9 a.m.-noon Saturdays year-round; noon-3 p.m. Sundays from April 6 to Nov. 23. 65 Church St., Marietta. www.mariettasquarefarmersmarket.net
Morningside Farmers Market
This all-certified organic market, now in its 19th year, may be the grandmother of local farmers markets in the Atlanta area. The produce vendors include Crystal Organic, D & A Farms, Burge Organic Farm, Elm Street Gardens and Sparta Imperial Mushrooms. Uncle Dom’s sells homemade Italian pasta, Hazelbrand Farm sells farmstead soap and Cimino Farm offers the widest variety of local fruit available.
8-11:30 a.m. Saturdays in winter; 7:30-11:30 a.m. Saturdays the rest of the year. 1939 N. Highland Ave., Atlanta.
Our Community Farmers Market
This producer-only market features prepared foods, work from local artisans and produce grown in the gardens and farms of the vendors. Regulars at the market include Magnolia Manor Sweets, Hardy Bakery, Fire Mountain Coffee, Abundant Harvest Gardens, Hunts Family Garden, Yves Garden, Painted Lady Soaps, Wally Bees Honey, Adictos a la Salsa and Split Creek Pastures with pork cuts, bacon, eggs and milk. The market now offers shoppers the chance to double their SNAP benefits.
10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays until April 12; 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays beginning April 19. Open year-round.
2862 Ga. 54, Peachtree City.
Peachtree City Farmers Market
Vendors line the parking lot of this twice-weekly market held Wednesdays and Saturdays. There are more than two dozen vendors who come all year around and more than 40 in high season, May through September. Not all vendors attend both days, but the list of farmers and artisans you might find includes Two Dove Farms, Farm House Beef, Rocking Chair Ranch Cattle, Country Gardens Farm, Crager Hager Farm and Scharko Farms. Seniors enjoy free coffee and Danish on Wednesdays. The market offers chef demos and live music during the summer with food trucks and picnic tables for an impromptu lunch.
9 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays year-round.
Aberdeen Village Shopping Center. 215 Northlake Drive, Peachtree City.
Brookhaven Farmers Market
This market in the parking lot of Brookhaven Baptist Church offers occasional chef demos and a rotating collection of farmers, bakers, cheese makers and producers of bath and body products. Mad Mama Gourmet is there every week with soups and sandwiches to sample onsite or to go.
1294 N. Druid Hills Road N.E., Brookhaven.
9 a.m.-noon Saturdays from March 29 through December.
Brookwood Farmers Market
The Brookwood Farmers Market is held at Caney Creek Preserve Park and hosts vendors with locally grown produce, beef and chicken. Shoppers will also find bread, soaps and goat cheese and what market manager Kim Smith says is the best chicken salad she’s ever had. This year, there’ll be ready-to-eat sandwiches and hot dogs from Alpharetta’s DA Butcher. A special artisan market is hosted on the first Friday of every month, and children’s activities are featured every week.
2755 Caney Road, Cumming.
4-7 p.m. Fridays from April 18 through Oct. 17.
Chamblee Tucker Farmers Market
The Chamblee Tucker Farmers Market is held in the parking lot of Northeast Baptist Church. The market offers local produce, artisan cheese, fresh baked breads, homemade dog treats, organic jams, herbs, plants and fair trade coffee. If you’re interested in selling on an occasional basis, the market welcomes those with homemade food or homegrown vegetables for sale.
9 a.m.-noon Saturdays from May 3 through October.
4046 Chamblee-Tucker Road, Atlanta.
Cherokee Fresh Market
Cherokee Fresh Market is located at the Cagle Family Farm in Hickory Flat Community 30 miles north of Atlanta. The farm setting includes lots of shade, a covered pavilion, restrooms and occasional farm tours. The market is a source of handcrafted items, plants and home-baked goods as well as fresh local produce that may come from someone’s backyard garden or a large family farm.
8:30-11:30 a.m. Saturdays from May 31 to Aug. 30.
362 Stringer Road, Canton.
Clarkston Farmers Market
This market celebrates Clarkston’s diverse cultural traditions with produce from local growers, international-inspired prepared foods and handmade crafts. The market includes live music performances, activities for kids and occasional cooking demonstrations. A mainstay of the market is Global Growers Network, an organization through which refugees and other new Americans are connected with opportunities to grow and sell a unique range of garden products from around the world.
10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sundays from April 27 to Nov. 2.
Clarkston Community Center parking lot on North Indian Creek Drive by the public library. 3701 College Ave., Clarkston.
Douglasville Farmers and Artisans Market
All vendors at this Wednesday market must come from Douglas or adjacent counties, and all produce vendors are certified organic or certified naturally grown. You’ll find Heritage Farm, Abundant Harvest Gardens, Wally Bees Honey, Yves Garden, Hembree Farms, Stems n (sic) Roots, Hardy Bakery, Deb’s Beads, Pearson Farm, Watsonia Farms, Painted Lady Soaps, Capra Gia Cheese, Patty’s Peanut Brittle and more. The market accepts SNAP and EBT benefits.
4-7 p.m. Wednesdays April 2 to Nov. 19.
8700 Hospital Drive, Douglasville.
Downtown Alpharetta Farmers Market
This market has been around since 2006 and features farmers, gardeners and makers of edible home goods. There’s free parking throughout historic downtown Alpharetta. Shoppers will find tamales, smoothies, baked goods, dog treats and local cheese and candle makers as well as locally grown produce. On April 26, the market will be joined by the 100 artists of the Alpharetta Art StreetFest.
Old Canton Street (behind Fountain Park at Ga. 9 and Milton Avenue), Alpharetta.
8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays from April 19 through at least the end of October.
Dunwoody Green Market
This market has a new location this year at Dunwoody Baptist Church. Participating vendors must be certified organic or naturally grown. You’ll find honey, free-range eggs, beef, pork, poultry, cured meats and more. This market also offers a community-supported agriculture program.
8 a.m.-noon Wednesdays from April 16 through Nov. 19.
1445 Mount Vernon Road, Dunwoody.
East Atlanta Village Farmers Market
This community market offers live music, a kids’ activity booth and weekly cooking demonstrations by neighborhood chefs. Stop by for a quick recipe or to have your cooking questions answered. Mainstay vendors include Love Is Love Farm at Gaia Gardens, Crack in the Sidewalk Farmlet, Scharko Farms, Riverview Farm, Revolution Doughnuts, the Spotted Trotter and Simply Seoul.
4-8 p.m. Thursdays from April 10 to December.
561 Flat Shoals Ave., Atlanta.
East Lake Farmers Market
This market is next to the East Lake Community Farm at the intersection of Second Avenue and Hosea L. Williams Drive. They’re still working on the vendor list for the new season, but they expect locally grown fruits and vegetables, eggs and dairy, local baked goods and health and beauty products such as soaps and lotions. Different arts and crafts vendors will be there each week, and Pearson Farm is definitely on board. The season kicks off with the fifth annual Collard Greens Cook-off.
4 p.m.-sunset Tuesdays from April 15 to Oct. 28.
2343 Hosea L. Williams Drive, Atlanta.
East Point Farmers Market
This market is a program of the East Point Main Street Association and the city of East Point, held just one block from the East Point MARTA train station. This twice-monthly market offers children’s activities, chef demos and urban gardening information and serves as a social event for the community. East Point Food Truck Court held concurrently with each market. Holiday markets in November and December offer a large selection of handmade items. Market doubles WIC/EBT benefits.
4 p.m.-dusk on first Wednesdays from April 2 to Dec. 3, open until 8 p.m. in summer. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on third Saturdays from April 19 to Dec. 20.
Downtown East Point Commons, 2757 East Point St., East Point.
FARM — Farmers Atlanta Road Market
FARM is held at St. Benedict’s Episcopal Church. Vendors offer locally grown, raised and produced food items including fruits and vegetables, meats, baked goods and cheese. Vendor fees go to support Path to Shine offering after-school tutoring and mentorship to students from Smyrna area schools.
4:30-7 p.m. Tuesdays from April 1 to Sept. 30.
2160 Cooper Lake Road, Smyrna.
Farmers Market at Vickery Village
This market is in its second year after an extremely successful 2013. Started by Southern Growers, this market is planned for Friday mornings so shoppers can pick up their groceries for the weekend. In addition to naturally raised meats, poultry and eggs, vendors include Farm2Market bringing peaches and apples, Mountain Laurel selling all-natural vegan lotions, and Kudzu Kottage with its gourmet jam. Live lobster is available every week from Atlantic Express Seafood. They sell lobster harvested by their family in a small Maine village.
11 a.m.-3 p.m. Fridays from mid-April through early November.
5920 Post Road, Cumming.
Freedom Farmers Market
The newest metro Atlanta farmers market opened March 1 at the Carter Center in Atlanta’s Poncey-Highland neighborhood. Vendors include founders Woodland Gardens, Moore Farms and Friends and Riverview Farms. A unique feature is their restaurant pop-up tent where each week a different local restaurant will sell prepared food to go.
9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays from March 1 through Dec. 20.
Carter Center, 453 Freedom Parkway, Atlanta.
Grant Park Farmers Market
Grant Park Farmers Market has developed into a community gathering spot over the past four years. The market features a kids’ activity booth, celebrity chef demos and dozens of vendors who line the sidewalk and offer everything from locally raised vegetables and meat to coffee, pickles, pies, granola and handmade soap. Shoppers can pick up the components for an impromptu picnic or a week’s worth of groceries.
9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Sundays from April 13 through Dec. 21. 600 Cherokee Ave., Atlanta.
Green Market at Piedmont Park
Another destination market, the Green Market at Piedmont Park appeals to neighbors and to those visiting the park for its other attractions. A “Veggie Vendor” will hold onto your purchases while you enjoy the amenities of the park. Weekly chef demos from May through November, seasonal workshops on canning and preserving, and tours of Piedmont Park keep shoppers entertained and educated. Local musicians perform and children’s cooking and crafts classes are offered May through December.
9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays from March 1 through Dec. 13.
Piedmont Park, 12th Street at Piedmont Road, Atlanta.
Heritage Sandy Springs Farmers Market
This 4-year-old market is moving to a new location this year on the lower level of Parkside Shopping Center. It’s also changed its name because it’s now being organized and managed by Heritage Sandy Springs. The market features live music and children’s activities to supplement the products from more than 45 sellers.
8:30 a.m.-noon Saturdays from April 12 through Oct. 25.
100 Sandy Springs Circle, Sandy Springs.
Kennesaw Farmers Market
This market is held in the parking lot of the Adams Park Soccer Field. More than 30 local farmers and merchants bring seasonal produce, flowers, baked goods, plants, herbs and locally produced food.
7 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesdays from May 6 through Oct. 28.
2753 Watts Drive, Kennesaw.
Lawrenceville Farmers Market
Lawrenceville boasts the second-oldest farmers market in Gwinnett County and is now in its ninth year. The market offers a wide selection of local and sustainably grown produce. Other vendors bring goat cheese and freshly baked breads, cakes and cookies. Local farm crafts and homemade jams, jellies and spice blends, baskets and dog treats are more of the offerings.
8 a.m.-noon Saturdays from June 7 through Sept. 6.
Lilburn Farmers Market
Lilburn’s market is held in the parking lot of Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church, a new location for this 5-year-old market. Shoppers will find fresh fruits and vegetables, salsas, baked goods, cheeses, pasta and ready-to-eat items. There are chef demos, live music, children’s activities and a Little Free Library every week. Special events include “Georgia on My Mind,” a watermelon seed spitting contest and Dog Days of Summer when shoppers are permitted to bring their canine friends. The market bills itself as “A Tasty Way to Start Your Weekend.”
4-8 p.m. Fridays from June 6 through Aug. 29.
1400 Killian Hill Road, Lilburn.
Peachtree Road Farmers Market
Now in its eighth year, this market makes a large circle through the parking lot of the Cathedral of St. Philip while still providing lots of parking for shoppers. Everything at the market has been grown, raised or made by the seller. Chef demos with recipes and tastings are offered at 10 a.m. throughout the season. Special events such as the Market Mash-up, the Slow Food Ice Cream Social and Kids’ Healthy Eating Day offer more reasons to spend time at the market.
8:30 a.m.-noon Saturdays from April 5 through Sept. 27; 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays Oct. 4 through Dec. 13.
2744 Peachtree Road N.W., Atlanta.
Serenbe Farmers and Artists Market
Held on the village green in the Serenbe community in Chattahoochee Hills, this market is filled with small local and sustainable growers, artisans and craftsmen. This year, there’ll be monthly chef demonstrations and seasonal classes on canning and preserving held in the Bosch Center. Serenbe Farms will be open to the public every Saturday at 12:30 p.m. with free farm tours offered.
9 a.m.-noon Saturdays from May 10 to Nov. 1.
Selborne Lane, Palmetto.
Smyrna Fresh Produce Market
This market is organized by Keep Smyrna Beautiful and for the past four years has been held in the back parking lot of Smyrna’s First Baptist Church. Fruit and vegetable growers bring a variety of offerings including peaches, both organic and conventional. Other offerings include sauces, soaps and body lotions, and potted and bedding plants.
8 a.m.-noon Saturdays from May 3 through fall.
1275 Church St. S.E., Smyrna.
Snellville Farmers Market
Snellville’s market offers only produce that is locally grown and seasonal and meat and eggs from local farms. There are also a small number of craft vendors and booths with homemade baked goods, jellies, jams, preserves and honey. Gretchen Schulz, market manager, says it’s the sense of community that makes this market special. “We work very hard to have a family-friendly atmosphere. It is a gathering spot where friends and neighbors reconnect.”
8 a.m.-noon Saturdays from June 7 through Sept. 27.
On the Town Green in front of Snellville City Hall, 2342 Oak Road, Snellville.
Suwanee Farmers Market
The Suwanee market offers produce, herbs and flowers as well as jams, jellies, baked goods, honey and soaps and lotions. Vendors also bring plants, eggs, dairy products including goat cheese and certified USDA beef, pork and chicken. No reselling is permitted; products sold at the Suwanee Farmers Market must be grown or made by the vendor. Arts and crafts are not permitted at the market.
8 a.m.-noon Saturdays from May 3 to Oct. 4; 4-7 p.m. Tuesdays from May 6 to Aug. 5.
330 Town Center Ave., Suwanee.
Tucker Farmers Market
This 3-year-old market was founded to support local businesses and independent producers and to encourage shoppers to buy local. There are food trucks added each first Thursday of the month. Regular weekly vendors bring local produce, honey, grass-fed beef, pork, goat’s milk and fresh eggs, and there are children’s activities and local music each week. Market manager Nancy Qarmout says, “We think of this like Tucker’s front porch, where people can come meet their neighbors, hang out and eat healthy at the same time.”
4-8 p.m. Thursdays from April 3 until October, then 3-7 p.m. until Dec. 18.
Freemason Square, 2333 Main St., Tucker.
Whistlestop Farmers Market of Historic Norcross
This Norcross market is held each week in Thrasher Park and features products grown using organic and natural practices. Look for about 35 booths selling local grass-fed meats, produce, baked goods, yogurt, eggs, milk, soaps, dog treats and spices. Local musicians perform weekly, and there’s a kids’ corner with activities such as face painting, meeting farm animals or creating a little artwork.
4-8 p.m. Tuesdays from the end of May through October.
7 Jones St., Norcross.
Woodstock Farmers Market
This is the sixth season for the Woodstock Farmers Market. Formerly held only on Saturday mornings, this year the market is expanding to Tuesday evenings. Along with the Cherokee County Farm Bureau, the market will offer special events on first Saturday of each month including gardening demos, how to shop for produce, pie baking and eating contests and canning demos. Chefs from Woodstock restaurants will also be offering cooking demonstrations.
8:30 a.m. - noon. Saturdays from May 3 through October 25.
Market Street in downtown Woodstock between Mill and Maple Streets.
4:30 - 8 p.m. Tuesdays from May 6 through October 28.
Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta, 915 Ridge Walk Parkway, Woodstock.