Zach Hensen will have broccoli (yes, you can eat the delicious leaves like collards but even better)
Check out the best area farmers markets
By Xaviere Chatagnier. All Photos by Xaviere Chatagnier.
Okay, so I have spent a dreary Sunday morning looking into the other farmers markets in the area. I was motivated recently by a few Facebook comments about how there really isn’t any produce at our Jasper Farmers Market. So, I went on the hunt since I do have a dog in this fight! That being said, I love all farmers markets.
During the summer my friends and I often go to Jasper first then make a drive down to Roswell, Canton and Atlanta in the search for the best produce to be had. We even go north to Chattanooga on Sundays to their awesome market. Here is the run down on the farmers markets that I have been to and know of. Pretty sure my carbon footprint is high on those days!
My first love is, of course, our Jasper Farmers Market. It is 100 percent locally grown and handmade. Zach Hensen will have broccoli (yes you can eat the delicious leaves like collards but even better!), kale, spring lettuce, spinach, mushrooms, Swiss chard, rhubarb, onions, asparagus, herbs and eggs. He had garlic scapes last week and maybe this week. Jasper Farmers Market is open Saturdays 7:30 a.m. - noon. Located in the Park and Ride lot off of Hwy 53, one half mile from Main Street.
The Roswell Farmers Market is on Hill Street, open Saturdays 8 a.m. until noon. This is a great little market. Like all markets, the reviews have mentioned that there isn’t much produce unless you get there early. This is really the case with all of our markets since most of our farmers go for the hot summer months vegetables. What is nice about this market is that there IS produce this early in the season; it appears to be local, good pastries and breads. The cons, this market makes ours look cheap. A dozen farm eggs in Roswell go for $6, Jasper is only $4 for pastured eggs.
Canton Farmers Market is open Saturdays 9 a.m. -1 p.m., downtown Canton. I have a love /hate relationship with this market. I love going there because Donny Hunter (Hill Valley Farms is there occasionally) and Vivian Tritt has the best sorbet ever. She is worth the drive alone (bring a cooler for her to go cups). It has lots of vendors and it is fun. However, that being said, buyer beware; much of the produce is not locally grown. Great local produce can be had but you have to know your farmer and what is in season. No, tomatoes are not in season in North Georgia. This market is easy to go to after the Jasper market, just about a half hour south off of 575.
Sweet Apple Market is open Thursdays 2-6 p.m. I have not been but I have only heard good things about it. It is located at 320 Hardscrabble Rd., Roswell. It is a huge plus that it is open Thursday afternoons.
Ellijay has a small farmers market. Donny and Carolyn Hunter (Hill Valley Farms) often sell there. To me, they are the market, sure there are other vendors and great pottery but we go to Ellijay just to see the Hunters. They grow the best produce around. The Hunters currently have lettuce and spring onions. Small chance they will be in Jasper this weekend.
My favorite—not in Georgia—market is the Chattanooga Farmers Market. It is flat out worth the drive. The Chattanooga Market is open Sundays 11a.m. until 4 p.m. at 1829 Reggie White Boulevard Chattanooga. They have great produce, food trucks (I love food trucks!), flowers, artisans and music. The produce we bought was local though not sure if everything is. We arrived at 9:30 a.m. and glad we did. Parking is tough later on and everyone was open early. Worth the drive!
Ball Ground has just started their market. It operates every two weeks so the next one should be May18. I imagine it will pick up once the season has started. Rumor has it that they had tomatoes and lemons and limes. Hmm, pretty sure that we don’t grow citrus locally. However, it is nice buying things from someone who really makes an effort and we love downtown Ball Ground. Ball Ground has a great pet store, best chiropractor around (Bruce Chiropractic), Doner Meats has homemade sausages like you find in Germany, Chef Rosarios Italian restaurant (the real deal Italian) and the Burger Bus. For a tiny town, there are many fantastic restaurants and stores. And hey, we all need citrus!
Back to our fabulous Jasper Farmers Market, Zach had lots of produce but sold out of broccoli and asparagus early on. He still had a good bit of vegetables at 9 a.m. just not the prized possessions. Zach is charming and works super hard to make a living growing healthy produce. Because of the rain forecast, the market was slower than usual. Tony (my Italian pizzettie baker) is scheduled to be at the market this Saturday, May 11.
Jenny Fellenbaum has irises and wood turned crafts. Lilly sold lemonade and stenciled pillows. She is an awesome 12-year old saving for school. That’s two lemonades please! Floyd didn’t come because of the rain but we hope he does this Saturday. There is a small chance that Donny Hunter will be in Jasper this weekend, if not up to Ellijay we go. The Johnsons only had eggs however he just planted his first corn (late June is corn season) and he planted more greens.
We went to 61 Main and had the best omelet ever. You can ask Jenna to make you something that is not on the menu and we did. She made us a local vegetable and goat cheese omelet. I will never have an omelet this good again (but we will keep trying).
John Lupi has been buying my lettuce, Stacey’s sprouts, Chad’s arugula and vegetables plus produce from Ty in Cumming. It is so awesome that our restaurants support our farmers.
Eat Local and Shop Local,