Photo courtesy Maricela Vega

🌽 Maricela Vega initially left an impression on the city with delicious tamales from her acclaimed pop-up, Chicomecóatl. After leading the kitchen at 8Arm, Vega now hosts meals around metro Atlanta (see the schedule), and has rebranded her pop-up as Chico.

You can find her at the Morningside Farmers Market on Saturdays from 8 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and at the Grant Park Farmers Market on Sundays from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

As Farmers Market season winds down for the winter, we asked Vega for her Top 5 Finds in her local markets:

1. Chris Edwards of Sparta Gardens slinging his fruits, vegetables, and mushrooms. Sparta Gardens is known for producing shiitake, oyster, and lion’s mane mushrooms. The most gravitating aspect of Chris’ work is his niche supply of Sparta-grown and produced Lion’s Mane Mushroom tablets. These health supplements are known to be beneficial to the immune and cognitive systems. (Saturday’s at Morningside)

2. Grant Park has a wealth of booths owned by people of color. Statistically speaking this is huge, so consider joining their CSAs: Narrow Way Farm, Sparta Gardens, Menas Farms,  Snap Finger FarmsMayflor Farms, and Caribe United Farm!

3. Osono Bread is a must, but you better bust out of bed early! For good reason, Betsy Gonzalez has built a reputation for herself and her business. The idea of her work is simple: thoughtful sourcing, and exercising her masterful techniques learned abroad and regionally. When you bite into her diverse bread offerings, you immediately develop a palette for her creations. (Sunday’s at Grant Park)

4. Caribe United Farm once took on my commission of raising a flock of 150 Peking ducks, which involved several site visits. I learned about the more humane life that farmers could provide for their poultry flocks. As a North Georgia resident (a leading area of manufactured chicken production), creating a cleaner connection to chicken became possible due to their willingness to provide a viable alternative. Tami and Gabriel are Caribbean educators-turned-farmers, and you can find them at the Grant Park market every Sunday.

5. For your flower doses, check out Chattahoochee Queen and Cherokee Moon Mixology for two completely different offerings of blooms! Chattahoochee Queen grows some of the most gorgeous bundles of seasonal blossoms you will find in Atlanta. Evan Neal’s flower farm is located in Summerhill, and often offers farm pickups.

Meanwhile, Cherokee Moon Mixology uses several types of flowers for their various, vinegar-based batches of fermentation. Each recipe has its own set of health benefits and taste profiles. You may find yourself unknowingly sipping a delicious medicinal spritz. Almeta Tulloss runs one of the most unique and thoughtful businesses in the state.

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