June 27, 2012
I love going to a Farmers Market, one that invites truly local growers and artisans to display and sell their wonderful wares from underneath outdoor canopies. If you’ve never had the pleasure of exploring a local farmer’s market, treat yourself this summer and go. Several cities in Gwinnett have their own markets that open for business on varying days of the week, so do a quick Internet search, put on your walking shoes, and prepare to be entertained, educated and just all-around healthier for your efforts.
One of my goals this summer is to visit every farmers market in Gwinnett before they all close down in late fall. Each one has its own character and flavor, and it’s not just what’s offered up for sale that makes the differences; it’s also the people. Both the vendors and the community organizers and volunteers comprise a market’s personality.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve met some of the most interesting and entertaining people at local markets, including Snellville, Suwanee and Norcross (those are the only ones I’ve had the opportunity to visit so far). I met a man who grew up plowing land that’s now the Brookwood High School football field. I met a boy who, with the help of his mom, makes his own very successful line of wine-accented jellies. I’ve met women who have joined forces upon becoming empty nesters and started their own bread baking enterprises. I’ve run across jewelry-makers and potters at markets that feature such artists.
Best of all, I think, these markets feature produce grown locally and picked that morning or maybe the day before, sometimes by the very families who set up shop on the town green to sell them. The earthy smells of dirt, fresh fruits and vegetables, and even baked goods, salsas and chow-chow hover over the entire delightful display. The comforting sound of neighbors greeting one another is punctuated by laughter, and that wonderful sense of community is seeded and nurtured and putting down roots in the process.
Yes, I believe these local markets bring out the best of the best in Gwinnett’s communities. Be sure to check out one or two (or more) of them this summer, and if you already have, leave a comment recommending your favorite to readers!
Carole Townsend is also a Gwinnett Daily Post staff correspondent and author of the recently-released book, “Southern Fried White Trash.” The book takes a humorous look at families and how we behave when thrown together for weddings, funerals and holidays. She has been quoted on msnbc.com, in the LA Times, USA Today and the Christian Science Monitor, been featured on FOX 5 News and CNN, and is often a guest on television and radio shows nationwide. Her next book, “Red Lipstick and Clean Underwear,” is eagerly expected in late summer 2012.