Farmer's market boasts new features in sixth year

LAWRENCEVILLE - New to the Lawrenceville Farmer's Market this year: food stamps.

In an effort to mitigate current economic doldrums - and to turn a new segment of the community on to the virtues of local produce - leaders with the long-running downtown market have been approved to offer the EBT Food Stamps service, a nutritional assistance program.

"(This) will provide Lawrenceville with the opportunity to service a portion of the population that hasn't traditionally shopped for local, fresh produce at farmers' markets," said Rebekah Cline, spokeswoman for the Lawrenceville Tourism and Trade Association.

"In our current economic climate, we're working as a market to think broader," Cline said, "and make buying fresh and local a possibility for the community as a whole."

The market's sixth anniversary season began June 6. Located downtown behind the Crogan Street fountain, the open-air gathering will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Saturday through September (the 4th of July excluded).

In terms of vendors, the market has increased fivefold since its inception. It draws a host of farmers, home canners and individuals who grow their own products. Freelance farmers, if you will.

More than 25 vendors - including new additions like Yankee Rebel Farms, Jamo's Organics and Rancho Alegre - will grace the parking lot. In 2005, the market had just four regular vendors.

Like many Georgia communities, "we're seeing an increased demand for locally grown produce and freshly prepared food products," Cline said. "We're excited to be able to offer a fresh variety of produce and products."

For more information about market management and vendor information, call Brennan Washington at 770-616-4686 or e-mail bwashington@touchstonehomes.com.