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Deep River lets families be farmers
First market scheduled for Saturday
Myra Hamilton carries off one of the watermelons she’s grown at Deep River Farm. - photo by Jim Dean

What its owner called a "farmer’s market in the truest sense" will take place Saturday.

Ben Friedman, owner of Deep River Farm in south Forsyth, had worked about two of the 21 acres near the Chattahoochee River for a couple of years by himself.

But this year, he had an idea.

"I told my wife that I knew why farmers have 25 kids — they’re all needed to help out," he said.

At that point, he decided to start a new concept for the property.

"I can’t be the only person in Forsyth County who wants to eat local, organic food," he said.

He then started renting out 20-by-20-foot plots of his property for $40 a month to families who wanted to grow their own gardens but didn’t have an area to do so.

"It’s been a real success," said Friedman, noting he hopes to make more plots available for the fall season.

"With 21 acres, we really could have up to 600 or 700 families out here growing their own food," he said.

So far, there are about 30 families using the plots. They will be selling their excess produce in the first Deep River Farm farmer’s market Saturday.

Friedman said the event will run from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at the farm, 3085 Buford Road.

There’s a mailbox and sign on Hwy. 20, just past the entrance to the Chattahoochee River Club subdivision, pointing the way to the farm, which he said can be difficult to find.

The farm families using the plots seem happy to have a chance to share their bounty with others.

Alex Gubbins, who has rented a few of the plots, said the land has produced more than she and her family can eat.

"I hauled home baskets of stuff yesterday, was up until 2 a.m. canning, and now I’ve got even more that’s ready to pick," she said.

Friedman said among the items that will be available for purchase are fresh and cherry tomatoes, as well as the sun-dried variety, green beans, squash, zucchini, lima beans and cucumbers.

"We’ll also be collecting our honey on Saturday too," he said. "So if people want some really fresh, non-pasteurized honey, they can do that too."

Friedman said he’ll also be giving tours of the property. Stephen Garton, an agent with the Forsyth County Extension Service, will be on hand to field any agriculture questions from guests.

"We’re really excited about opening things up to the public," Friedman said. "This is representative of a movement that’s going on right now for people to buy locally.

"People are realizing that it just makes sense for you and your family to eat fresh, local produce that doesn’t use any pesticides or chemicals."


Online editor Jim Dean contributed to this report.