Locals buy goods and produce at the first Poplar Street Farmers Market on Wednesday, June 7, 2023. Eliza Moore / GPB News

Locals buy goods and produce at the first Poplar Street Farmers Market on Wednesday, June 7, 2023.

Credit: Eliza Moore / GPB News

The Poplar Street Farmers Market that opened in Macon this month makes it easier for many in the community to buy fresh produce.

The vendors are a part of the Middle Georgia Growers Co-op, a newly formed group that makes collective decisions about things like marketing, who can be a vendor and what produce is sold.

“The farmers have done all the organizing and have the farmers make the decisions collectively, which is pretty unique at this market,” said Julia Asherman, owner of Rag and Frass Farm and a co-founder of the co-op.

Last year, the same vendors sold their produce at a different market, Mulberry Market, located in Tatnall Square Park. But when a dispute erupted over management of the market, it was shut down.

The new market provides a chance for farmers to do things on their own terms. It currently has 16 registered vendors who sell a variety of products such as fresh produce, baked goods and woodwork.

 “I really feel like here today we have a lot bigger of a customer base here and I'm enjoying getting to see more of the community,” said Ariel Hudson, a member of the co-op.

Like Mulberry Market, the vendors also accept and match SNAP benefits. Every dollar spent on meat or bread is matched for a free dollar for purchasing fruits and vegetables.

“The EBT matching program is specifically to help make healthy food more accessible to low-income people,” said Asherman.

Vendors hope holding the market in the heart of downtown will draw walkup customers who may have a hard time getting to the grocery store.

“They don’t have to go anywhere but right down the street, so you can get the meal, go home and cook it. So you can't beat that,” said Bobby Slaton, known as The Peanut Man. “This is helping everybody.”

The market is held every Wednesday from 3 to 6 p.m., rain or shine.