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Farmer's markets return
Cumming's opens Saturday; Brookwood on June 15
Farm WEB 1
Sandra Bottoms picks a head of cabbage at the farm she and husband Dennis operate. - photo by Jim Dean

At a glance

• The Cumming-Forsyth County Farmers Market will be open 6:30 a.m. until all products sell out Saturday and Wednesday through the end of September at the Cumming Fairgrounds. Contact: Hank Gravitt at (770) 335-0118.

• The Brookwood Farmers’ Market will be open 4 to 7 p.m. Friday beginning June 15 through the end of September at the Caney Creek Preserve Park on Caney Road in south Forsyth. Visit www.brookwoodfarmersmarket.com.

Summertime is here and along with it has come the opening of local farmer’s markets.

Area growers will begin selling their fruits and vegetables, as well as homemade items such as jams, jellies and baked goods, this weekend.

At 6:30 a.m. Saturday, the Cumming-Forsyth County Farmers Market will begin the season with many vendors selling their goods at the Cumming Fairgrounds.

Market manager Hank Gravitt said he’s hoping this will be the “best market ever.”

“I hope this year on a Saturday to have anywhere between 50 and 60 farmers,” he said. “Normally, that’s been around 40 on a good Saturday.

“But this year we’re bringing in some artisans with breads and baked goods and so forth, and a lot of different farmers too like a hydroponic lettuce grower, and that’s something we’ve never had.”

The market will be open Saturdays and Wednesdays through the end of September.

The selling will start at 6:30 a.m., 30 minutes earlier than in previous years, until all items are gone.

Sandra Bottoms and husband Dennis have been coming to the market for nearly 20 years.

“We love the market,” she said. “But I do have to admit that I hate getting out of bed so early in the morning.

“It takes me eight minutes to get everything ready to sell, so before I’ve gotten there at eight minutes till 7 and now I’m going to have to be there at 6:22,” she joked.

The couple will offer a range of produce, including beets, lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, squash and zucchini.

“We will also have our peach preserves, peach jelly and peach hot pepper jelly on Saturday,” Bottoms said. “Later in season, I’ll do some salsa and squash and zucchini pickles.”

Gravitt will also offer a range of items.

“We picked 1,000 gallons of blueberries last year,” he said. “We’ve got beans, tomatoes, green beans, eggplants, cucumbers and carrots. We planted 10,000 carrots.”

The Cumming-Forsyth County Farmers Market is open to growers and producers from Forsyth and adjoining counties.

“We have some from Cherokee, north Fulton, Dawson … you just have to grow it or make it yourself. You can’t go buy things and resell them,” Gravitt said.

Prices at the market are monitored as well.

“We set a market price, which is the bottom low price,” Gravitt said. “You can sell your product at whatever you want to, but you can’t sell it any lower than that price. That way there’s no undercutting.”

South Forsyth residents can also look forward to the opening of the Brookwood Farmers’ Market on June 15.

Kelly Walczak founded the market, which is in its third year.

Previously held every Friday evening at Brookwood Elementary, she said this year the location will shift to the new Caney Creek Preserve Park, which is near the school.

The county’s new green space park, formerly known as the Harrison property, is scheduled to open soon and the market will debut June 15.

Walczak said the Brookwood Farmers’ Market features vendors from throughout Georgia.

“Right now we have 30 vendors and the list is continuing to grow,” she said. “We’ve got lots of fresh produce, meat vendors, fresh eggs, organic fertilizer, soaps, spreads and baked goods … anything you want, you’ll find it at our market.”

Walczak said the market, which benefits the Brookwood Elementary Parent Teacher Association, has been a success.

“Everybody is thrilled that it’s about to open again and I think it will be even bigger and better this year because we’ll be in the new park,” she said. “There are at least five neighborhoods surrounding the park that can just walk to the market.”

She said she’s proud that the market has remained true to its founding principles while growing.

“We’ve actually not changed too much,” she said. “We’ve tried to keep the basis of promoting local farms and business and promoting Georgia grown. But we have grown as far as our vendors. We started off with I think 12 to 15 and ended up with 40 last year.

“I’m happy to say that we’ve really kept it to our original goal of what we wanted to do.”

It seems Forsyth County residents are happy to have the farmers markets in their communities.

“Everybody is really enthusiastic for [the Brookwood market] to open again,” Walczak said.

Added Bottoms: “People are much more conscious these days of where their food comes from. Our regulars, they thank us and they bring us breakfast and drinks.

“They appreciate us coming and they’re just thrilled to have [the Cumming-Forsyth County Farmers Market].”