1st Farmer’s Market of 2011 offers spring veggies and more

English Country Gardens and Union County Farmers Market
Mike Clark of English Country Gardens at Union County Farmers Market

By Janice Boling
NGN Writer / Photographer

June 7, 2011 - The Union County Farmer’s Market got off to a great start on Tuesday evening, June 7th. There was a surprising amount of produce for the first week of June. Piles of fresh beets, cabbage, garlic bulbs, carrots, herbs, green onions, red onions, leaf lettuce, head lettuce, mustard greens, collards, turnips, yellow squash, broccoli, radishes, raspberries, melons, peaches, and more were available.

Most of the vegetables were grown right here in Union County although this year, due to North Georgia’s relatively short growing season, produce and fruit grown elsewhere is allowed (with prior arrangements through the market manager) thus benefiting shoppers and farmers.

Lots of arts and crafts were also for sale including unique lighted bottles, wind chimes, pillowcase dresses, pottery, jewelry, gourd art, belly button brushes, and more. There were loads of colorful bedding plants, perennials, flowering shrubs, and hanging baskets to choose from. There’s no telling what you might find at the Union County Farmers Market!

Tuesday evening is a good time to gather up the family, head out to the Union County Farmers Market, and find some good deals. There is also food available. I enjoyed a large sized BBQ sandwiched served up with chips and a drink for $6. Next time you see the big Young Cane Lodge BBQ wagon, buy one of their sandwiches! They are delicious and the money goes to a good cause. Different charitable organizations will be featured throughout the season.

There are also other goodies like homemade fudge, artisan breads, grains, jellies, jams, and pickles!

The Farmers Market is now open on Tuesday evenings from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. There is also a Trash to Treasure yard sale type event on Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. For more information, visit www.ucfarmersmarket.com.


Mickey Cummings is manager of Union County Farmers Market
Mickey Cummings

April 20, 2010 - New Union County Farmers Market in Blairsville, Georgia

Farmers, crafters, and guests recently met with Farmer's Market Manager Mickey Cummings to hear about the progress and plans for the new Union County Farmer's Market & Agricultural Center in Blairsville, Georgia.

The new Farmer's Market is located off of Highway 76 and Old Smokey Road (near Home Depot) and is expected to be ready for opening day on June 26, 2010. It is a great addition to Union County and is expected to draw vendors and shoppers from Union, Towns, Cherokee, Clay, Fannin, Lumpkin, and White counties.

Mickey Cummings gave an informative presentation. He welcomed everyone and was available to answer questions. The new Union County Farmer's Market is under construction and grading is complete thanks to a $99,000 grant. The two wings are expected to be completed in the summer of 2010 and the new Canning Plant/ Community Commercial Kitchen is expected to be completed sometime in 2011.

The new Farmer's Market will run through October 16 th and will be open two days a week on Saturdays and Tuesdays. Hours will be from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (gates will be unlocked at 6:45 a.m.) Stalls will cost $5.00 each and will be approximately 10 x 15 feet. There will be electricity and water as soon as possible although hooking to the sewer system may delay the construction of restrooms (porta potties will be available).

Local established vendors will be allowed to sell five items that are purchased for resale including watermelons, peanuts, peaches, apples, and pecans during part of the season. These items are not usually grown by local farmers or if they are, they come in very late in the season. Offering these items will give shoppers more variety and increase participation at the market. The time period will be determined and enforced by the market manager.

The new Farmer's Market will also be home to a new Extension Office, a pavilion, and test gardens.

Also on the agenda was Downtown Development Authority of Blairsville Promotions Committee member Colleen Urbaniuk. She gave a short talk about the upcoming Blairsville, Georgia Green Bean Festival. Colleen invited the attendees to participate in the festival by selling their produce and crafts on the Blairsville Square for one day only - on July 31, 2010.

Guest speaker Kent Wolfe from the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development was next with tips for selling at the Farmer's Market. His suggestions for vendors included improving signage, handing out recipe cards, providing free samples, creating better displays, pricing considerations, increasing variety of products, improved handling, and having enthusiastic attitudes.


Union County Farmers' Market

Union County goes "Green" with new Farmer's Market in Blairsville, Georgia

The Union County Commissioner's Office picked a great day for the 1st Union County Farmer's Market. Early fog lifted, the sun came out, and people gathered to be a part of the excitement.

The weekly event is expected to become a Saturday morning tradition during summer months. Featuring farmers, gardeners, artists, authors, entertainers, handcrafters, and service providers (such as knife sharpeners), it's the place to buy fresh produce, to support local agriculture, and to have a good time.

Corn, squash, cucumbers, and green beans were sold by the ear, the peck, and the bushel. Custom jewelry, flower arrangements, potted plants, metal art, baked goods, crafts, and fun things for kids (including face painting) were available. Everyone was looking to buy fresh vegetables and many expressed a desire to support local growers.

Nate and R.J. Brown, two of Blairsville youngest farmers, had six bushels of green beans for sale. Wearing bib overalls and ear to ear smiles they peddled their produce under the name of "Brown Brothers' Beans". The two boys, ages 6 and 10, picked the beans, made up signs, did the selling, and sold out before 9:00 a.m. (They were supervised by Grandmother Jerri Brown.)

Julie, Freddie, and Dakota Collins had white half-runner beans, squash, and some corn. They sold out before 8:30 a.m. (Julie had a backup plan and was also selling handmade beaded earrings.)

Shane Morris and Pat Knight had half a truck load of sweet corn. It lasted a little longer but was gone by 9:15 a.m. Shane said, "We could have sold more if we had brought it. We'll be back next week for sure."

Bob, Chanel, and Ashley Cordell had a good supply of their "Little Drone Apiary" honey. Bob said, "This place will really get going in a week or two when word gets around. We plan to come back every week until September."

The Union County Farmers Market creates a new opportunity for local farmers and crafters to sell fresh produce and hand-made items. It gives area residents and out-of-town visitors the chance to taste the best of what the mountains have to offer.

Union County Commissioner Lamar Paris, Peggy Deyton, Larry Garrett, and everyone else involved in organizing the 1st Union County Farmers Market have provided Union County citizens a chance to go greener. It's an event that's greatly appreciated by many.