Lee Moore filled her basket with leafy turnips and asparagus. The morning was brisk and the wind blustery, but the Dunwoody woman was eager to check out the fresh vegetables when the Dunwoody Green Market opened on April 11 for a new season of business.
Moore said she’s been shopping at this market for years.
“Every Wednesday, unless I’m out of town,” she said. “I love all these farmers.”
Count it as another sign of spring: Farmers markets are back in business.
“It’s time,” said Paula Guilbeau, manager of the Dunwoody Green Market, which operates on Wednesday mornings in the parking lot of the Dunwoody Village shopping center. “I’m ready for the season. I think everybody is ready.”
On Saturday, April 14, the Peachtree Road Farmers Market in Buckhead and Sandy Springs Farmers Market also opened for business.
Dustin Leathers and Jennifer Simmons, along with Winston, their dog, joined the throng gathered for the opening of the Peachtree Road market, located in the parking lot of The Cathedral of St. Philip, 2744 Peachtree Road, NW. The Sandy Springs market set up its booths at 235 Sandy Springs Circle, NW.
The Brookhaven Farmers Market is set to open May 5, according to its website. It operates in the parking lot behind the row of businesses at 1441 Dresden Drive. And a community market opens on Thursday evenings at the Mesh Corner shops near the intersection of Ashford-Dunwoody and Johnson Ferry roads.
Last year, Leathers and Simmons visited the Buckhead market just about every Saturday and they were eager for it to reopen this year, Leathers said.
“I like the process of buying food outside, and socializing along with it,” he said. “It’s more than just the nature of the freshness…. It’s kind of a forgotten past of buying food outside. It’s just a great place to bring the dog and then you eat fresh food that night.”
At the Dunwoody market, vendors offered wares ranging from homemade cookies to hand-made cheese, from pizza to popsicles. Vendors offered fresh bread, fresh tarts and eco-friendly coffee. A string band played.
“[Business] was good. It was brisk. It was a good day. It was a great day,” said Guilbeau, who was selling heirloom tomato plants, herbs, flowers and hostas from her Heirloom Gardens booth.
Candice Reynolds, owner of the Red Queen Tarts booth, said she sold more than 100 of her baked tarts on the first day at the Dunwoody market. “Pretty good,” she said.
Her top seller? Caramelized pear and fig.
At the Peachtree Road market later in the week. vendors sold all sorts of goodies: bread, Bloody Mary mix, tamales, honey, ceramic pots, popsicles, and, of course, fresh vegetables.
In Dunwoody, Moore said she shops at the market so often that she’s on a first-name basis with some of the regular vendors. “We talk for hours,” she said. “That’s what’s also nice – we have a common bond. We all believe in the same thing, the natural, organic way of doing things.”
Besides, the market is close to home.
“I could walk here, if it wasn’t for all the food I buy to take home,” she said.
On the Buckhead market’s opening day, Cam and Sarah McElroy were doing a bit of shopping close to home, too. They attend church at the cathedral, they said, so they like to support the market that operates in the church’s parking lot. Last summer, they were there once a month, Sarah McElroy said.
“We come, even if we don’t buy anything, just to walk around and see the neighbors,” Sarah McElroy said.
On April 14 the McElroys were back at the market. They were accompanied by their children, 3-year-old Campbell and 6-month-old Kathryn.
Asked to name his favorite part of the market, Campbell stopped and thought seriously for a moment. Then, after a little encouragement from his mom, he offered his answer.
“Popsicles,” he said, nodding.