Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Mike Kahren, center, his wife Melissa and their daughters Kaitlin, 7, and Isabella, 6, watch farmer Ed Patton, right, hand them a fresh bunch of strawberries from the Dahlonega Vegetable Farm during the Suwanee Farmer's Market at the Suwanee Town Center Tuesday.
• Where: 1369 Fourth Ave., Auburn, at Bural Park Pavillion
• When: Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through Sept. 14
• More info: cityofauburn-ga.org
• Where: 4043 S. Berkeley Lake Road, Berkeley Lake
• When: Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m. through Aug. 29
• More info: berkeley-lake.com
• Where: 2070 Rosebud Road, Grayson
• When: Wednesdays 4 to 8 p.m. through August, starting June 5
• More info: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Where: 20 S. Clayton St., Lawrenceville
• When: Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon through September
• More info: visitlawrenceville.com
• Where: Greenway Trail, Lilburn
• When: Fridays from 4 to 8 p.m. through Aug. 30, starting June 7
• More info: lilburnfarmersmarket.org
• Where: 2342 Oak Road, Snellville
• When: On Town Green, across from City Hall on Saturdays 8 a.m. to noon through end of September
• More info: snellvillefarmersmarket.com
• Where: 330 Town Center Ave., Suwanee
• When: Tuesdays 4 to 7 p.m. through Aug. 6; Saturdays 8 a.m. to noon through Oct. 5
• More info: suwanee.com
• Where: Thrasher Park, 1 Park Drive NW, Norcross
• When: Tuesdays 4 to 8 p.m. through Sept. 24
• More info: norcrossfarmersmarket.com
As summer approaches, multiple cities around Gwinnett have begun holding their own farmers markets. From Suwanee to Grayson, which is holding a market for the first time this year, local farmers are selling their products to customers looking for the freshest products at good prices.
"My family recently changed to clean eating," said Sugar Hill resident Toni Allison while visiting the farmers market in Suwanee this week. "We come to the farmers market because everything is natural. We get that fresh-out-of-the-field taste."
For David White, a vendor at the Suwanee farmers market, that's something he can guarantee his customers every time out.
"I can guarantee to all the customers that my product was in the field less than 24 hours ago," he said. "I cut everything off myself the day before the farmers market, and it's guaranteed to be fresh."
White, who sells various types of lettuce, eggs, radishes and more, said the best thing about it being fresher is that the vitamin content is higher.
"At the farmers market, you're getting a product (from most farmers) where there is no middleman," he said. "I plant, grow and cut my own products, and then sell it here. When you go to a store, there's no telling how many people touched the product and how long ago it was in the field."
White said the word "organic" is something he hates.
"The word is used as justification to charging higher prices," he said. "I can't tell you how many times I've seen stores move non-organic vegetables into the organic section just because they ran out of them. Not all do it, but some do."
Allison agrees. She said chain stores charge an arm and a leg for organic items, while the consumer hardly knows where it actually came from.
"Here, I actually get to talk face-to-face with the farmer, who can educate me and my family (on) each of the items we picked out," she said. "There are so many choices here and my kids love coming to pick out their own food. They're more likely to eat it if they pick it out rather than me pick it out."
For Lilburn City Manager Bill Johnsa, having the farmers market in the city is great for the Old Town area.
"For 13 weeks out of the summer, it becomes a destination for our locals and visitors," he said. "It's becoming a must-do thing on Fridays."
Johnsa echoed the educational sentiment, adding that a lot of patrons ask the various farmers what goes into it and how it's grown.
"They learn more about the process at a farmers market as opposed to a store," Johnsa said.
Snellville City Manager Butch Sanders said the biggest draw to having a farmers market is that it brings people into the city.
"First, it is a great attraction that brings thousands of visitors to our town each month where they boost our economy and usually stay around and shop local merchants throughout the city," Sanders said. "The market tells people we are interested and engaged in making the city better and the lives of those who visit. Symbolically, it is a big step toward building a new, vibrant city center/downtown."
White said he appreciates the reactions he gets from people.
"Farming is a hard job, but it's rewarding," he said. "I get enjoyment out of my customers, seeing that they enjoy my product and come back for more the next week."
In addition to Snellville, Lilburn, Suwanee and Grayson, there are local markets in Auburn, Berkeley Lake, Lawrenceville and Norcross.