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Farmers market offers fresh crops
6 Farmers Market pic
Farmer Robert Pruett, left, sells some of his home-grown produce to Grace Presbyterian Pastor David Jordan as part of the summer famers market in Dawsonville. - photo by David Renner Dawson Community News

Each year, summer in Dawson County is marked by the tents and trucks of vegetables that show up in front of the Dawsonville Municipal Complex and Dawson County Extension Office.

An annual tradition, the farmers markets began selling in mid-June for the city and last Saturday of the month for the county.

"I've been out here selling for a long time, back as far as when [late mayor] Joe Lane Cox was still alive," said local farmer Robert Pruett.

While anyone is welcome to sell at the market, there are some restrictions.

"Only locally home grown fruits and vegetables are sold. No canned goods are allowed," said Dawson County Extension Secretary Elaine Ingram. "The seller must be a resident of Dawson County or a county adjacent to Dawson County."

Dawson County is just part of a circuit for some of the famers that sell.

"My grandpa and daddy did this, so I keep it going," said farmer Julius Fambro. "I sell out of five places around here - [Dawsonville] city hall, out in Dahlonega, Clayton, the [Dawson County] extension office and down in Atlanta."

Fambro is part of the reason the annual sale keeps going in Dawson County. Identifying himself as half-Cherokee, he said that his father and grandfather, both also named Julius Fambro, have been working the land for generations.

"I plant everything for the markets. I've got a 30-acre garden," he said. "I probably turn about three crops for this each year. I've got 15 acres of pumpkins, squash and cucumbers and potatoes. In the winter, I grow winter crops too."

Both he and Pruett said their planting seasons begin in March.

"I start planting about late March and I bring plenty each day - about more than I can handle now," Pruett said. "Everything I bring is usually picked that morning or the night before."

Pruett said the farmers let the land and the customers dictate how long they stay out and sell.

"It's pretty steady with people. People come out when they can and buy what they want," he said. "We stay out here and sell as long as we have stuff to sell, until we run out of crops. Last year, we went on as long as November. We're out here as long as the people and the crops keep coming."

The markets are open at two locations in Dawson County, setting up around 8 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at city hall and from 7:30 to 10 a.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays at the Dawson County Extension Office on Academy Street.

If you are interested in selling at the county market, contact the extension office at (706) 265-2442. For more information about the city's market, call city hall at (706) 265-3256.