The Powder Springs Farmers Market comes from humble beginnings.
It began in 2003 with two to three vendors at the Country Store of Seven Springs and was sponsored by the Historic Downtown Merchants Association of Powder Springs, a group that continues to help today.
The city organized the market for the first time last season. It was then the market averaged about 25 vendors on any given market day, with a peak of about 35, said Kim Peterson, an employee of the city’s Community Development office and the market’s coordinator.
“A lot of the folks that come, we call them farmers but they’re really just backyard gardeners,” she said. Those backyard gardeners have an abundance of produce that they want to share, she added, and the market is a perfect outlet for that.
The market is scheduled to kick off on June 2 from 4 to 8 p.m. around the Community Development building and will continue every Thursday until the end of September. The registration fee for vendors is $35 for the year or $10 per week.
The application form is attached to this article and can be submitted any time until the market is over for the season. About 20 vendors have put their applications in so far, Peterson said.
Local is the market’s motto, and only applications from vendors within 100 miles are accepted. But to create a more diversified market, exceptions are sometimes made, including one for a Milton peach farmer, Peterson said.
“We kind of made an exception for him because we didn’t have any peach providers,” she said. “Sometimes when you have local only, you’re not getting as much of a variety of items.”
Though it is preferred that the produce goes from grower directly to consumer, exceptions are made there too, also for the sake of diversification. Tomatoes, for example, are typically a must for all markets but are seasonal.
“That’s a big hot-button topic with the markets: whether to be locally produced only or to allow some of what they call ‘resale,’” Peterson said. “And we think we have come up with a good mix: Our rule is if you want to resale an item, you have to have three items that you’re growing yourself … so if you had six items, you could resale two items.”
The market is primarily produce-driven, but about 10 percent of the vendors are permitted to sale other items, including hand-made soap, baked good, plants, herbs, honey, bread and Italian ice. But those items must still be made locally and of local components, Peterson emphasized.
Entertainers will perform on the last Thursday of every month this year—something new to the market, Community Development Director Pam Conner said.
“And that will be good for our local (downtown) businesses because … they stay open late on Thursdays,” she said.
The Mars Hill Porch Pickers are set to give market-goers a taste of Southern bluegrass for the first entertainment night. Conner said organizers are toying with ways to expand the monthly event to acts beyond bands. One possibility: drum lines from local high schools, she said.