The citizens of Snellville, Ga., have been anxiously awaiting the opening of the Snellville Farmers Market (SFM) since early spring. The event opened with great enthusiasm from the community
and the vendors. Officials with the SFM reported on their Facebook page an estimate of over 2,000 patrons for the opening day.
I arrived at the venue around 8:15 a.m. and found it moderately crowded. In the hour I was there, there were a lot of patrons but not so many that it was uncomfortably crowded. At given moments some vendors didn't have customers, but this didn't appear to last for very long for any vendor. The line for peaches from Pearson Family Farm
was consistently long. Ann Hughs of Belle's Bread in Lilburn said she sold out within 45 minutes.
Other products being sold were collard greens, squash, potatoes, natural soaps, all natural body creams/lotions, all natural breads, all natural desserts (candy and cakes), vegetable seedlings and flowers. There was also a meat vendor. Some of the participants included Daybreak Farms, Nature's Harmony, Candy Bars Soap
, Magic Bean Farm, Victory Cookies,
Mountain Earth Farms (pictured at right) and Johnston Family Farm
During the several months of intense marketing, the SFM promised fresh, local
It was indeed localized. The only vendor I noticed that was from outside Georgia was West Wind Farms Meats and Poultry, which is located in Tennessee. I don't consider this local, but buying meat from Tennessee is more local than getting it from a California or Idaho vendor.
I was disappointed that there were not very many produce vendors. Gentle criticisms on the market's Facebook page
centered around this concern as well. SFM coordinators commented on this through Facebook, saying: "The only disappointment we heard expressed was that more produce was not available. Please remember that the market sells LOCAL produce and it is still early for many crops. And vendors never expected such a big crowd and quickly sold out. We're sure they will bring all the produce they can next Saturday."
Andrew Reed of Daybreak Farms told me today his farm's produce contributions to the market will pick up as the season progresses. He plans to have tomatoes, squash, peppers and melons. Until then, he will increase the amount of homemade bread he brings this week since he sold out quickly on this past Saturday.
The location of the event on the Town Green was perfect because it was on the corner of Highway 78 and Oak Road in front of the new City Hall building. Passersby couldn't miss it. The only drawback (possibly solely from my perspective) was that the grass was wet with morning dew. While the placement of the vendors' tables on the Town Green in front of City Hall created a visually appealing setting, walking through morning dew in sandals was uncomfortable for me. In light of that, I'll prepare accordingly next time — especially since the vendors seemed to like the grass set-up; Tim and Liz Young of Nature's Harmony
said the grassy area was "comfortable." In general, the Youngs agreed with most Facebook fans of the SFM, that the market was a success. They discussed their participation in the market on their weekly podcast
Tim Young applauded the volunteers. He found them to be friendly and appreciative of his business being there. He said it struck him how the coordinators "were sensitive to the vendor requirements" by letting them drive onto the lawn to set up, having police available to manage traffic flow and having parking readily available.
Liz Young said many customers came up to her and thanked her for being there. "I was impressed by that," she said.
Andrew Reed of Daybreak Farms felt the market was organized wonderfully well. He commended the SFM committee for researching what was working with other markets and what wasn't. "As a result, they were ultra prepared," he said. "This (market) will be one of the more successful ones."
The market will continue every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon through October 30. The location is the Town Green in front of Snellville City Hall, at 2342 Oak Road and Highway 78.
Photos: Chari Sutherland