Farmers markets a growing production
by Michelle Babcock
June 06, 2014 04:00 AM | 3090 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Vendor David Read from Dickey Farms bags up some peaches at the Waleska Farmers Market at the North Cherokee Church of Christ on Thursday.<br>Staff/C.B. Schmelter
Vendor David Read from Dickey Farms bags up some peaches at the Waleska Farmers Market at the North Cherokee Church of Christ on Thursday.
Staff/C.B. Schmelter
As growing season begins to peak, farmers markets across the county are seeing more produce, more vendors and larger crowds.

From Woodstock to Waleska, Canton to Ball Ground, there are farmers markets in every corner of the county for residents to enjoy.

Kyle Bennett, director of tourism and visitor center operations in Woodstock, said the Woodstock Farmers Market has continued to grow since it began in 2009.

“We have seen a huge increase in number of vendors and customers,” said Bennett. “Each week, it has seemed the number of shoppers at the market has increased.”

The Ball Ground Farmers Market is in its second year, and Ball Ground Main Street Program Manager Karla Weaver said this is the first time the city has co-sponsored the event.

“The market started last year and was previously run by a group of volunteers,” Weaver explained. “We have had a considerable increase in interest by both vendors and shoppers.”

The Waleska Farmers Market is now in its fifth season, and manager Zach White said last week the market had more than 20 vendors.

Both produce and craft vendors are featured at the Canton Farmers Market, including some popular sweet potato pies by Mama Rhonda’s Delectable Delights.

In the Hickory Flat community in Canton, Cagle’s Family Farm will kick off its Cherokee Fresh Market this Saturday, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.

With choices spread across the county, Cherokee residents can find a variety of fruits and vegetables, in a variety of locations.

The Woodstock farmer’s market, now entering its second month of the season, has shown steady growth in popularity and is running out of space for vendors, said Bennett.

“We have approved 60 vendors for the market and have a waiting list of vendors who have applied to be considered when we have additional spaces open up this year,” Bennett said. “Typically, once school lets out for summer, we see a big increase in attendance, so we expect to have a huge turnout this Saturday.”

On Saturday, the Woodstock Farmers Market on Market Street will have fresh berries and peaches, and will feature a market walk with Liz Porter of Buckeye Creek Farm in Woodstock, a Cherokee County Farm Bureau volunteer.

“Liz Porter of Buckeye Creek Farm will be escorting a short market walk at 9:30 a.m., then demonstrate simple recipes using some of the items found at market for fresh salsa and smoothies,” Bennett added in a news release.

The Woodstock Farmers Market added a second day and location this year. In addition to the Saturday market on Market Street, the Woodstock Farmers Market will also be open Tuesdays at the Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta.

“The new Tuesday market is off to a good start, and we are excited to see how that market will fare now that school is out for summer,” Bennett said.

Bennett said a survey of the vendors this season showed they were all “very satisfied” with how this year’s market has gone so far and reported great average sales, and Bennett said.

The Ball Ground Farmers Market is also gaining speed in north Cherokee County. The city’s new Main Street Program joined forces with volunteers who ran the market last year to help grow the event.

“The city has stepped in this year to co-sponsor the market and assist in promoting the idea of supporting our hometown farmers and crafters,” Weaver said. “So far, we’ve had potatoes and onions, it’s almost time for the most popular produce — tomatoes, beans, corn, squash, okra. We expect to see those favorites within the next couple of weeks. We also have a variety of fresh eggs, homemade soaps and scrubs, plants and flowers.”

The Ball Ground Farmer’s Market is in the newly renovated City Park in downtown Ball Ground, off Gilmer Ferry Road.

The Cagle’s Family Farm Cherokee Fresh Market is another favorite farmers market in the county, and Porter said the market will have many specially-themed days.

“With so many opportunities for shopping farmers markets nowadays, Cherokee Fresh Market really stands out,” Porter said. “Not only does the produce come from local farmers, but the market is held at Cagle’s Family Farm, home of the former Cagle Dairy.”

This Saturday, for opening day of the Cherokee Fresh Market at Cagle’s Family Farm, the theme is Bee Day.

“Visit with Jeannie Ross of Ross Berry Farm and learn the importance of pollinators to our food supply and taste different types of honey,” Porter said.

Porter said greens are available this week, including kale, collards, turnips, turnip greens, curly mustard and lettuce. Many other items are expected to be available, including onions, scallions, crookneck squash, zucchini and cucumbers, as well as local honey.

Porter said the market offers a great opportunity for community members to share their produce and crafts.

“This is a great opportunity for children with their parents, or adults, to set up a stand to sell the family vegetables, home baked goods or items hand crafted from their farm or home place,” Porter said.

The fourth annual Pie Day at the Cherokee Fresh Market is set for July 26, and will feature a best pie contest and a pie eating contest. Winners in the best pie contest will go on to the final competition, set for Aug. 23.

Market Locations
Cagle’s Family Farm Cherokee Fresh Market

• Located at 362 Stringer Road, in the Hickory Flat community in Canton

• 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.

• Saturdays through Aug. 30

Woodstock Farmers Market on Market Street

• Located on Market Street, parallel to Main Street, between Mill and Maple streets in downtown Woodstock

• 8:30 a.m. to noon

• Saturdays through Oct. 25

Woodstock Farmers Market at the Outlet Shoppes

• Located at the Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta, at 915 Ridgewalk Parkway in Woodstock

• 4:30 to 8 p.m.

• Tuesdays through Oct. 28

Waleska Farmers Market

• Located behind North Cherokee Church of Christ, at 7198 Reinhardt College Parkway in Waleska

• 3 to 7 p.m.

• Thursdays through Sept. 4, no market July 3

Ball Ground Farmers Market

• Located at City Park in downtown Ball Ground, off Gilmer Ferry Road in Ball Ground

• 2 to 6 p.m.

• Fridays through Sept. 5, no market July 4

Canton Farmers Market

• Located at Cannon Park, between East Main and North streets in downtown Canton

• 8 a.m. to noon

• Saturdays through Oct. 25
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