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Farmers offer fresh fare
Vendor: Its food you can trust
3 Farmers Market pic1
Elaine Ingram, left, secretary at the Dawson County Extension Office, buys fresh flowers from Heidi Collett at the Dawson County Farmers Market. The market is open from 7:30 to 10 a.m. every Wednesday and Saturday. - photo by Chelsea Thomas Dawson Community News

Dawsonville resident Grace Collett has been selling her homegrown vegetables during the Dawson County Farmer's Market for nearly 10 years.

Tomatoes, squash, beans, cucumbers and eggplant were among the produce offered at her table July 11.

"We try to pick our produce two to three days in advance so what we bring is fresh. What you usually buy at the store is much older," she said.

Dawson County Extension Agent Clark MacAllister said freshness is one of the many benefits of buying locally harvested crops.

"Locally grown produce is fresher than what you find in the grocery store. It hasn't been transported across the country or sat in a hot warehouse," he said.

Plus, it supports "our neighbors and friends" and "keeps our resources inside Dawson County," he added.

First-time vendor Dava Hudgins agreed.

"Local produce helps the regular American," she said beside her basket of cucumbers. "In addition to it being homegrown, without chemicals and healthier, you know the folks selling it to you ... its food you can trust."

And there is a sense of community at the market, vendors note. Many sellers and buyers know one another from returning year after year.

"I have met a lot of good friends and people. And it's been fun," Collett said.

Collett said her favorite memories at the market have been spending time with her four grandchildren, who help her sell produce.

"I try to give them a chance to work," she said.

Other produce available at the market often include lettuce, corn, peppers, onions, herbs, apples, blueberries and hand-cut flowers.

The market runs from 7:30 to 10 a.m. every Wednesday and Saturday through mid-September in the parking lot of the extension office at 298 Academy Avenue.

But vendors recommend getting to the market early.

Anyone interested in being a vendor must fill out an application at the market. Those who have sold at previous events need not apply. There's no cost to set up.

Another opportunity for local growers is through the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame, which allows farmers to set up in front of the municipal complex from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Those interested in selling at the municipal market should contact the hall of fame at (706) 216-7223.

There is a $10 a month fee to sell at the market.