In season right now: Farmers markets

Last week, it was Marietta Square. This Saturday, it’s Peachtree Road. Next Wednesday, Dunwoody Green. Soon to follow: Sandy Springs, Alpharetta, Chamblee, East Atlanta, East Lake, Serenbe, Grant Park.

All over metro Atlanta, farmers markets are opening for the season. And with them comes the perfect excuse to get out of your car on a pretty day, mingle with your neighbors, and stock up on some fresh food from a nearby farm or local vendor.

Some markets never closed. The Atlanta area is enjoying an increasing number of year-round and nearly year-round farmers markets, including Morningside, Decatur, the Local Farmstand, Café 10:10 in Douglasville, and the Carrollton Adamson Square Market.

Here’s what you’re likely to find at the typical Atlanta-area farmers market:
    •    A regular (usually weekly) gathering of market-approved vendors. Most farmers markets set guidelines for their vendors, such as, they must live within a certain distance of the market, or they can only sell goods produced by themselves or their company. If you want to know what your market requires, look for the vendor application on the market’s web site, or ask the market manager on location.
    •    A mix of farmers, prepared food vendors, and producers of artisan products such as soaps, pottery, and furniture. Many markets set standards for their farmers and prepared food vendors; Morningside Farmers Market requires them to be certified organic; several others require the use of “sustainable” practices.
    •    Various forms of entertainment, such as live music and chefs’ cooking demonstrations. Morningside Farmers Market, now in its 16th season, resumed its cooking demonstrations April 2 with “resident” chef Ron Eyester of Rosebud; Eyester will also kick off the weekly chef demos at Peachtree Road Farmers Market this Saturday.
    •    Frozen pops and/or crepes. There’s apparently an unwritten rule in these parts that if you have a farmers market, you must have someone selling frozen pops. Almost as strictly enforced is the Crepe-Stand Corollary, which requires the presence of one vendor who assembles crepes to order.

To stay on top of all the area’s market openings, visit our Food Events Calendar. And be sure to check in regularly with our Market Watch guide to the farmers markets—we are in the process of updating and expanding it for the 2011 market season, and we’ll keep it updated throughout the season.