By now, we’ve all seen the headlines of how COVID-19 has taken its toll on farms of all types, but farmer’s markets across Georgia’s Lake Country are officially open for business and providing local farmers, and crafters, the opportunity to sell their products.
Putnam County’s Harmony Park Farmer’s Market resumed for its season on Saturday, May 23, and has been taking place every Saturday since. Morgan County’s farmer’s market at Farmview Market opened its season on Saturday, June 13, with its Summer Harvest Festival.
“We’ve had some of the most successful markets in our history,” said Harmony Crossing marketing consultant and farmer’s market overseer, Lee Heffernan. “Most produce vendors are selling out by 10:30 a.m. and consumer attendance has been amazing. We’re also at a record number of vendors, 35 to date, and we get more requests for applications each week.”
Heffernan said the Harmony Park Farmer’s Market is also seeing the variety of vendors expanding. The weekly market now has two meat vendors, a fresh shrimp vendor and many other handcrafted items from local vendors.
“We’ll soon be at capacity,” Heffernan said.
It was evident Saturday that the farmers and crafters were happy to be back to selling their goods. Market-goers were met with cheerful smiles from the vendors as they made their way through the rows of tables at both Harmony Park and Farmview.
Heffernan said in a world filled with negative news, the market is something positive.
“In my opinion, people were tired of going to Publix or Walmart and our Saturday markets provide not only an opportunity for purchasing fresh produce and other items, it is a chance to get out in the sun and enjoy a sense of community,” Heffernan said.
A sense of community obtained at a distance because both markets had signs throughout them noting social distancing rules. Heffernan said during the first two weeks of the Harmony Park market they had off-duty Putnam policemen to ensure the safety measurements were being followed.
“We had no issues at all,” Heffernan said. “Each vendor is responsible for their own safety precautions given the variety of goods sold. So far, everything has worked out well.”
Hundreds of people visited Farmview’s farmer’s market on Saturday. The visitors were treated to music by local performers and made the most of their visit by grabbing a meal at the store’s café. The Summer Harvest Festival was the signaling of the start to the farmer’s market season, which like Harmony Park had to be pushed back due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The Farmview farmer’s market will take place weekly on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through early fall. The Harmony Park Market takes place weekly on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon through Sept. 26. Make sure to take cash with you when you visit the Harmony Park market.
“Harmony Park Farmer’s Market not only provides a beautiful setting to purchase fresh produce, baked goods and other hand-crafted items, it is a chance to get outdoors, meet our vendors and others in the community and experience the essence of what makes living or visiting Lake Oconee so special,” Heffernan said. “Each vendor has a story and it makes you appreciate not only their product but how special it is to have this regular seasonal event in our community.”