The following Article is from Your GPB Digital Magazine. Click here to download the iPad App.
With the consistent increase and advancements of modern technology we now have the ability as consumers to get whatever product we want, exactly when we want it. This applies to the foods we eat as well. Luckily, Georgia’s farmers have it made in the varying climates offered throughout the year. With four distinct seasons, they are able to grow a variety of crops. And the best part is - many of them sell their local and seasonally grown produce at farmers markets near you!
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), smaller sized producers, consumers and the economy of a community all benefit from the presence of local farmer’s markets as well. The USDA’s official website indicates that “farmer’s markets often serve as an integral part of creating robust local economies, thriving neighborhoods and vibrant civic design plans” while providing “easier access to fresh, healthful foods to communities” where consumers can “contribute directly to local farm viability while developing face-to-face relationships with the farmers who grow the food.”
However, the farmer’s market community reaches beyond the tables and tents that house them. “Agriculture is a $70 billion industry in the state of Georgia,” said Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black. “Though agriculture touches every Georgian every day through food, fiber, housing and fuel, it is an industry that’s largely hidden from view.”
Have you ever purchased a package of berries and been surprised to find a Georgia Grown logo stamped on the label? Did you even notice it before now? As a brand and program affiliated with the Georgia Department of Agriculture, Georgia Grown was founded upon the integrity and sustainability of aiding the agriculture economy. “The Georgia Grown program is an economic development tool that will further build the industry while providing brand recognition for quality products produced in our state. The benefits of a successful program will be wide-reaching,” said state Commissioner Black. So, with an overall goal to provide a powerful, statewide environment for processors, suppliers, distributors and retailers, you may be happy to know that the consumers benefit as well! As a market customer, you can contribute to your local economy while getting to know the suppliers in your community directly.
The Georgia Department of Agriculture’s State Farmer’s Market Coordinator, Paul Thompson, describes the farmer’s market network available in Georgia as one that provides the opportunity for the state’s producers to market their products retail and wholesale alike. “With these sales opportunities, we see customers ranging from families shopping for themselves to buyers making purchases for hotels, restaurants and grocery stores. Shopping at our Markets is a great way to support local businesses as well as the agriculture industry in Georgia,” Thompson said.
In the heat of the Georgia summer, you might find beets, bell peppers, cucumbers and melons at a market near you. And, the loyal customers at the markets will tell you that the difference lies in the taste of the freshly picked produce. So, get to know the Georgians behind your produce! Shop locally and seasonally for the freshest picks of summer.
To view a complete list of Georgia’s farmer’s markets and to find one near you, visit the Georgia Department of Agriculture. And, be a part of the next Georgia Grown Farmer’s Showcase on July 27. Visit georgiagrown.com for details.