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Market revival
Farmers to ‘sell the best’
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Sandra Bottoms picks a beet on her family farm for last year’s Forsyth County Farmers Market. - photo by File photo
Rise and shine

The market begins at 7 a.m. every Wednesday and Saturday in the Cumming Fairgrounds parking lot, 235 Castleberry Road. It stays open until crops are sold out.

For more information, call the fairgrounds at (770) 781-3491 or the county extension office at (770)887-2418.
The Forsyth County Farmers Market is back.

Beginning Saturday, the Cumming Fairgrounds parking lot will welcome dozens of farmers selling the season’s best crops.

Edsel Orr, who has been managing the event for about a decade, said this year’s market will be no different than the past 25.

“It’s always the same, same rules and everything,” he said. “People know us and they can trust us. They know what they’re getting with us. We sell the best.”

Orr, an 81-year-old Forsyth native, manages the farm his father once operated. In addition to crops, Orr raises about 30,000 chickens.

“I’ve been living on the farm since 1928,” he said. “You’ve got to make a living some way or another. It’s an honest living.”

The market’s rules are few. There is a $5 charge to set up shop, pricing must stay within the established minimum and maximum, and everything must be home grown.

“You’ve got to grow everything you bring. You can’t go to the market or somewhere else and buy it and bring it in,” Orr said. “That’s always been the rule.”

Orr said the market was set up for local farmers that “had something to sell.”

“And that’s what people want, is home-grown stuff,” he said. “You don’t want it shipped in here from overseas or California or somewhere like that. Home-grown stuff right here in the county, or in the joining counties, is a lot better than coming from other countries.”

Chuck Cornwell with the county extension service said the season starts with tomatoes, corn and beans. The three crops are the most popular, but the offerings don’t stop there.

“Blueberries, honey — they’ve got quite the eclectic group of things,” he said. “There are always new farmers. With the economy the way it is, a lot of people are producing more themselves, and they can sell it here if they have extra.”

The extension service oversees the market, said Cornwell, who is in his second year with the office. For both large and small farms, the event provides a popular “outlet to sell local produce.”

Farmer Fred Willis started coming to the market last year. Like Orr, the Cherokee County resident was raised on a farm. While many of the farmers earn a living from their crops, Willis said it’s just a hobby for him.

“I’m retired and just doing something like this to do it, I guess,” he said. “I’ve got squash, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, corn and just a little bit of everything in the vegetable line.”

Farmers will be in the fairgrounds parking lot by 7 a.m. every Wednesday and Saturday through Sept. 30.

Dave Horton, fairgrounds administrator, said the market is truly a place where it’s better to come early.

“Some of them will be sold out by 8 a.m. if there’s a good crowd coming through,” he said. “It’s funny because it officially opens at 7 a.m., but there’ll be a crowd there at 6:30 a.m. because they want to get the first batch. They’re pretty packed in there in the mornings.”

E-mail Jennifer Sami at