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BUY LOCAL: 15 GO-TO FARMERS MARKETS IN ATLANTA

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SAMANTHA DIMAURO

JUL 8, 2019

Nothing beats an afternoon at your local farmers market, meeting your local makers and growers and filling up a tote in the process. You can munch on a sample of gourmet gouda while you marvel at an abundance of shiitakes that are still on the log. Pick out a bundle of greens plucked fresh this morning to add to a juice that's pressed right in front of you. Load up for the week with eggplants, tomatoes, avocados, and squash grown quite literally just down the road.

Atlanta’s farmers markets are all about delivering fresh, sustainably-sourced, hyper-local meats, seafoods, fruits, and veggies to the community — and each one on this list offers something special.

Found on the Eastside Atlanta Beltline at “The Shed” near Ponce City Market, this Tuesday evening market is the go-to for Beltline travelers, pedestrians, and cyclists in the summer months. The Pecan Milk Cooperative sets up here with their dairy-free nut milks, and Watsonia Farms makes occasional appearances, bringing bright, sweet plums, nectarines, and tomatoes from South Carolina. And we recommend sticking around and explore Ponce City Market a while — it’s a revitalized, historic landmark in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward, now home to upscale eateries, offices, and shops like Mountain High Outfitters, lululemon, and Dancing Goats Coffee Bar.

This daily 'world market' is amazing. Year-round, you’ll set down a massive pile of produce thinking you’re about to drop a hundred dollars on dragonfruit and lychees, when really you’ll be charged for half that. Affordable fresh meats, dairy, seafood, and greens come from the parts of the world where they’re in season (think cheese from Wisconsin and Vermont, jackfruit and watermelons from Mexico). Looking for fresh caught, live catfish from the wilds of Alabama? You got it. You’ll be challenged to think of something fresh and seasonal you can’t find at this market. Fitt Tip: leave your credit card at home! They’ll only accept debit, checks, and cash.

Setting up at the center of Midtown’s bustling Piedmont Park March to November, it’s no surprise this Saturday market is massive and extravagant. Jive to some live music while perusing the local goods or watching a cooking demonstration. Notable products include pork from the rare pigs (yes, rare) raised at Home Farm Happy Hogs in the UK, fruits and veggies from Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge, Georgia, and also check out Mad Mama Gourmet for expertly crafted, cold and hot soups to fit any diet.

Decatur businesses are the real stars here. The community comes together in the “Pecan Grove” of the First Baptist Church of Decatur on Wednesdays and Saturdays to swipe up all of the hand-made jams and jellies from Dragonfly Design Studios or to gab about artisan cheese with Decatur’s own beloved Formaggio. You’ll really want to check out the local harvest from Mealor Family Farms, too. Planted 30 minutes away in the Glen Haven neighborhood, they sell and grow a garden variety including corn, okra, eggplant, watermelon, peaches, pecans, and figs (and they’re always looking for visitors and volunteers to help keep the crops up). The markets run from April until well into November and December.

This Peachtree Heights West market is one of the largest in the city, founded by The Cathedral of St. Philip and held on their grounds every season from March until December. You’ll want to head here on Saturdays for super-local meats and produce from farms in towns as close as Winston, Mansfield, and Newnan. And DO NOT leave without biting into a hot dog from The Midnight Marauder or treating yourself to some bone broth from Bone & Co.

This market makes Grant Park the place to be on Sunday mornings from April to December. Look for local treasures like Bee Wild Honey’s Wildflower honey, Sparta Imperial Mushroom’s carefully cultivated mushroom variety, and Wanderlust Coffee’s perfect cold brew. Round out your visit with a picnic in the park! Grab a handmade crepe from Crepe Masters or a quality pizza from S & J’s Woodfired Pizza (yes, they have a mobile pizza oven), and find a spot in the nearby shade to chow down and people-watch.

This year-round market got its start as a small farm cooperative selling out of an old station wagon in the parking lot of Indigo Coastal Grill. While still a smaller, more intimate market, it has now grown to include dozens of weekly vendors — with more on the way. And to shine the spotlight on something outstanding, Antonio’s Fresh Pasta has a story to tell: Antonio Zenere was born in Italy and moved to the US in 1988, where he earned a doctorate in food science from the University of Georgia. He imported a pasta-making machine from Italy and now spends his days making delicious, homemade pasta for Saturdays at the market.

Many of the best artisans and crafters around have a booth at the Saturday morning Brookhaven Farmers Market. You’ll recognize names like Mad Mama’s Gourmet and Antonio’s Fresh Pasta among local favorites like Diana’s Specialities’ smoked salmon and herb aioli. Don’t leave without tasting Zocalo Salsas’ fresh, all-natural salsa — and discover all of the exciting meals that salsa can be a part of. Keep up with the BFM blog for the low-down on chef demonstrations and classes, held during market hours from April to December.

This market is HUGE, hosting around 65 vendors. You’ll find everything from premium olive oils and gourmet mushrooms to fresh cut flowers and greyhound puppy adoptions. Look for 4 Sons Seafood for fresh, wild-caught Georgia shrimp, and Cornerstone Fruit Sauce for their “Cherry Boom Shakalaka Sauce”, made with cherry juice and hot sauce, and perfect for all meats, fruits, veggies, and desserts. You can find this market in downtown Marietta, a block north of the town square, year-round on Saturday mornings and seasonally Sunday afternoons (from May to October).

Set up steps away from Freedom Trail Park and the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library, this year-round, Saturday morning market is supremely accessible and super fresh; they estimate about 18 hours between the time the produce was plucked from the ground and set on the table for sale. Decimal Place Farms’ award-winning goat cheese is a must-try, and Storico Fresco Pasta offers carefully recreated “old world” pastas. Fitt Tip: while all vendors accept cash, use your credit/debit card to purchase tokens to exchange for your groceries.

Found in the East Atlanta Community Park, this Thursday evening market is one of the oldest in the city. Their crowning gem is an Edible Learning Garden, offering gardening tips and lessons to kids and youth groups. Plus, professional chefs often set up shop for demonstrations (with plenty of samples!). And be on the lookout for Georgia Grinder’s protein-packed nut butters — they have jars of peanut, cashew, and pecan butter but are most loved for their almond. Come check out the spread from April until November.

Finally, affordable healthy eats for broke, stressed-out college kids. Co-managed by the Office of Sustainable Initiatives and Emory Dining, this year-round Tuesday market aims to put local farmers and small business at the forefront of the campus community. Look to Honey Bubble for bubble teas, Pearson Farm for Georgia peaches, and Revolution Gelato for dairy-free gelato. Musicians are encouraged to perform here, and artists are welcomed to showcase and sell their work. Fitt Tip: market days are affected by summer break for students; check the schedule.

A short Saturday morning drive to Sandy Springs lands you in the center of this bustling, community gathering. The local, farm-fresh harvest (April to December) comes from more than a dozen farmers, while local businesses showcase a massive array of pre-prepared foods. A frequent vendor, Pickles & Pudding offers—you guessed it—pickles and pudding, but not necessarily together. Pickles are all made from house-made spices, carefully cured in brine, while pudding flavors change all of the time, but you can typically count on chocolate and banana cream.

The Curb Market is not your traditional, indoor farmers market. You’ll find super-fresh, locally-sourced meats, seafood, and produce for sale, but also trendy eateries and a few retail shops (including a secondhand bookstore). While you’re there, check out Rawesome Juicery for some of the best, fresh-pressed juices in Atlanta. Fitt Tip: some merchants have different hours of operations, and some are not open on Sundays. Check out market’s website to see when you should go.

This market in the Riverside neighborhood brings together local farmers and artisans northwest of the Atlanta city center on Sundays. You’ll find delicacies such as natural honey from Bee Wild—a three-generation family-owned honeybee farm in Gainesville, GA—and fresh-squeezed lemonade like you’ve never had it before from Lemon Smashers. Stick around for a yoga session with Sacred Chill or a cooking demonstration by the chefs at local restaurants.

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