Starting the first week of June, Adairsville Farmers Market and Cartersville Farmer’s Market will offer Bartow residents the opportunity to purchase fresh produce throughout the summer.
Adairsville Farmers Market
Presented by Adairsville High School, the Adairsville Farmers Market will begin June 7 and be held each Saturday from 7 a.m. to noon. While the market’s final date has yet to be determined, the offering will operate through the end of August.
“[The Bartow Education Foundation is an] organization that gives grants to teachers every year,” said Jason Rood, board chairman for the Adairsville Farmers Market and lead special education teacher at AHS. “This past year, they actually donated $97,000 worth of grants to teachers in Bartow County. A lot of our teachers have been writing grants for the past three or four years for different learning projects in our outdoor education area. It’s a large 3-acre natural area that we’ve converted to a learning center for environmental and agricultural purposes. We have an apiary, which is three honeybee colonies where we’re harvesting honey. We have a couple of gardens.
“After writing these grants and building these projects, the students were getting very involved, [so] we decided that the next natural extension of this was to create a platform for the students to understand the commerce of agriculture. [We] decided that we could set up a farmers market on-site because of its location and because of Adairsville being a rural, [agricultural] community, it seemed like the right place to put it.”
The Adairsville Farmers Market still is accepting vendors, which need to complete applications posted on www.adairsvillefarmersmarket.com. While there is no fee to sell their wares, vendors must meet certain qualifications to participate, such as their operations being located within a 60-mile radius of Adairsville High School, 519 Old Highway 41. The market will be set up around the school’s parking lot close to the softball field.
About 20 vendors currently have signed up and they plan to offer a variety of items, including fresh cut flowers, produce, eggs, bread and baked goods.
“There will be some students and some classes selling produce as well as local farmers,” Rood said. “We partnered up with the only local certified organic farm around the area, Red Field farms, and they are going to be one of our anchor vendors. They’ve worked hand-in-hand with us to get this market started.
“... Once we get it established, we would like to turn this into an educational market. We want to have our students go out and visit some of the local farmers. [They would] get some information on how they farm, what’s special about the way that they produce their produce and if there’s any kind of sustainable farming that they do and kind of create a presentation for the community when they come to the farmers market to learn more about local food, organic farming, sustainable farming, where is their food coming from, what’s the benefits of getting your food locally rather than buying it from a market that’s shipped it in from overseas or somewhere else.”
Cartersville Farmer’s Market
Overseen by the Cartersville Downtown Development Authority and the Bartow County Extension Office, the Cartersville Farmer’s Market will operate Wednesdays, 5 to 8 p.m., and Saturdays, 7 a.m. to noon, from June 4 to Sept. 27 at Founders Oak Parking Lot on North Public Square. Responding to feedback from the public and vendors, the market’s hours were changed from Wednesday morning to evening.
“The farmer’s market of course has been going on for many, many years, long before I was here,” Cartersville DDA Manager Tara Currier said. “It’s just kind of been the standard thing — Wednesday and Saturday mornings. But I know the last two summers, I have had feedback from some of the vendors, but specifically the community saying it’d be wonderful if we would have an evening market ... [for people to stop on their] way home from work or picking up the kids from soccer practice or camps [and] be able to just cruise through and pick up some fresh vegetables. So we had, as we do at the end of every season, our farmer’s town hall meeting and just kind of posed that question and there were more interested this year than there have been in the past.
“So we’re real excited and again reception has been very positive. We’ve been putting posts out on Facebook as well, letting people know. At least on social media, folks are telling us how excited they are to have a Wednesday evening market and [we] just really hope that folks will come out and support these great vendors.”
Started in the early 1980s by the late Bartow County Extension Agent Walter Culverhouse, the Cartersville Farmer’s Market will feature 40 vendors, who purchased all of the offering’s 49 available spaces.
“[The vendors’ response has] been overwhelmingly positive,” Currier said. “We have a total of 49 spaces out there and we have 40 total [vendors]. So several, obviously, have purchased two spaces so that they can spread out a little bit more and maybe set up a tent and do a nicer display. So we’re very excited that we’ve got 40 vendors that are going to be out there, and there are a lot of farmers actually.
“We’ve got some new ones this year. So [the market will feature] a great array of vegetables and fruit — tomatoes and zucchini, cucumbers, peppers. We’ve got some craft items that people will be doing, [such as] handcrafted jewelry, birdhouses, [and] other folks will be [selling] pickles, relish, barbecue sauce, soaps and lotions, berries and honey. So I think it’s going to be a great cross section for people to come out and again get their fresh vegetables and fruits and also maybe pick up a baked good to take home for a Wednesday evening [meal] or Saturday morning breakfast.”
To further engage the public, Cartersville Farmer’s Market will feature entertainment or an activity at least once a month.
“We plan to have a kid’s activity coming up at the June 21st market, there will be a finger painting activity and coloring fun,” Cartersville DDA Special Events Coordinator Catherine Woods stated in a news release. “Etowah Valley Yoga will be helping us promote a healthy lifestyle; they will be at our June 28th market to hold a yoga class, and our July 19th market to hold a Qigong class. We are also hopeful to have a cooking demonstration at one of our markets, and even Bluegrass Musicians at a few later in the season. Our Tomato Festival for 2014 is set to be on Saturday, July 26th. You can stay up to date on these activities by checking our Facebook page and Website; www.downtowncartersville.org.”