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LARSON: Farmers market helps people buy into community

Susan Larson

Susan Larson

I’ve always loved buying fresh produce from roadside stands, so I was delighted to see all the weekly farmers markets scheduled for the summer in Suwannee, Norcross, Auburn, Lilburn, Lawrenceville and Snellville. But then, living within walking distance of the International Farmers Market in Lilburn, what could these vendors in their little booths offer that I couldn’t find at the big market every day?

It didn’t take me long to find out. One of the first places I visited was Big Daddy Biscuits, named after a dog that was rescued near the Federal Penitentiary. Big Daddy Biscuits are handmade with organic ingredients. While I don’t have a dog of my own, I do like to buy holiday gifts for my grand dogs, Phoebe, Harley and Georgia. While even the basic biscuits would be a treat, Big Daddy also offers specially shaped biscuits for Valentine’s Day, Christmas and Hanukkah. I’ll have to remember that.

Beam Me Up, Biscotti makes, well, biscotti, of course, but also Millennium Mousse and Philosopher’s Scones in a thoughtful assortment of flavors.

At Pappardelle’s Pasta, I must have spent 30 minutes just looking at all the varieties of nutritional noodles they had on display, including basil tangerine, chipotle black bean, cracked pepper and sweet potato. And if that wasn’t enough choice, they also had dark chocolate, a dessert pasta, complete with recipes for those who’d never heard of eating noodles for dessert. I couldn’t resist, and I have to say, the brown pasta with the mashed strawberry “sauce” was quite novel. And it was yummy.

As I walked along I saw a lemonade booth with a big sign that read “Ade for Al.” In the 90-degree heat, I was ready for a little refresher and was surprised to see the lemonade was only $1. But the rest of the story surprised me even more.

The stand was a fundraiser for Al Real, a Lilburn child who was so severely burned in a gasoline fire he had to be flown to the Shriner’s Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio, for treatment.

“There was a lot of community support,” Roxanne Lau, a volunteer at the stand said.

“Many people came out to support and contribute to this rally to help the Real family. Firefighters from Stations 2 and 3 along with many of Al’s Arcado classmates, his brother Graham’s Trickum classmates, and Arcado teachers came out. Also, a wonderfully generous amount of help came from one of the vendors when he heard about the stand. Perry Eidson of Stone Mountain Ice donated countless bags of ice.

Everyone’s efforts brought in $2,500 plus, which has all gone directly to the Real family.”

As of this writing, Al continues to make progress and continues to receive support from the community. And my question about what the people in these little booths can offer, well, I think we all know the answer to that.

Susan Larson is a Lilburn resident. E-mail her at susanlarson4@yahoo.com.