Locally grown fruits, vegetables and flowers will roll in by the truckload Saturday as the Dawson County Extension Office's annual produce market opens.
Running every Saturday through mid-September, the produce market will be open from 7:30 to 10 a.m. in the parking lot of the extension office at 298 Academy Avenue.
Dawson County Extension Agent Clark MacAllister reminds shoppers 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.
Area residents last year seemed to appreciate the freshness as they arrived early to pick out fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers.
"Much of the produce found at the market will have been picked that day, or the day before," MacAllister said.
Only people who live in Dawson or surrounding counties can sell at the market. Anyone can shop at the market.
"Shopping at the market helps our area by keeping our resources inside Dawson County," MacAllister said. "It is also a pride issue. We should feel proud to eat food that was produced by our neighbors and friends. Local markets like these really help build a stronger sense of community."
Last year tomatoes, squash, beans, plums, cucumbers, blueberries, eggplant, onions and herbs were among the produce offered.
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.