Two farmers markets in Forsyth County have been recognized by a national group for bringing fresh food to the local community.
Vickery Village Farmers Market and Cumming Harvest have been named to the Guide to Exceptional Markets by Certified Naturally Grown, an organization that offers peer-reviewed certification for farmers and beekeepers producing food for without using synthetic chemicals or GMOs.
The two are among just 15 farmers markets in the state to make the list.
“They list all the markets that are sort of focusing on that,” said Joern Seigies with Bramberi Farm, which was selling homegrown berries at Vickery Village on Thursday. “So that kind of was a driving force in getting this done and all the other products, not all of them might be certified yet, but pretty much everyone here has the same growing practices: no spraying on anything, everybody's local. That’s our guidelines are you have to be within 50 miles and we prefer Forsyth County and Cumming folks here.”
The Vickery market meets each Thursday morning and offers a range of foods from fruits and veggies to meats and honey all made locally. The current farmers market has been going on for about a year and replaced a previous market held at Vickery Village.
“It was a combination of things,” Seigies said. “I was looking for a place to do sort of an organic-only market and Certified Naturally Grown is the small farmers’ organic [organization.]”
The market also includes items made by local vendors, including soap, jewelry and other items. Starting this Saturday, a weekly artisan market will also be held at Vickery.
“There’s a lot of artisans locally, so I wanted to bring them more together now that we have the space already,” said Katherine Burkhardt with Elevated Eco Arts. “I wanted to promote that and bring a community of artisans together.”
Also making the list was Cumming Harvest, which is connected to Fill Ministries, which seeks to provide healthy food for those in need in the community.
Stephen Daniels, co-founder of Fill Ministries with wife, Suellen, said unlike standard markets, Cumming Harvest is an online farmers market where customers can place orders and pick them up behind Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit on Pilgrim Mill Road later in the week.
“The most important attribute is we're a chemical-free, organic set of growers, so all the food products in the market certify that they maintain those standards,” he said. “It's very healthy, great products to enjoy. It's an online market from the standpoint of the growers put up each week what products they have available and the customers they can log in, review that and make a selection they like. Then they pick it up on Saturday morning.”
Daniels said through both the farmers market and the non-profit, there were numerous opportunities for volunteering and all food sold through the market would come from vendors in or just around Forsyth County.
“It’s very nice to be recognized, but we just have a passion for healthy eating and providing great food. This food is, generally speaking, harvested right before the clients receive it in comparison to the normal food chain, [where] that product is harvested weeks before and it's in transit and shows up in grocery stores,” Daniels said.
“The growers will harvest the product the day before the market and bring it to the customer, so it's almost like going out back and picking products from your own garden or off your own back porch. Very, very fresh.”