Growers rebuild food economies at local market

Tomatoes are the best-selling produce at the DeKalb Farmers Market. They are expected to be harvested after the Fourth of July.

A 39-year tradition in DeKalb County continues with the return of the DeKalb County Farmers Market Tuesday at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Fairgrounds at 3 p.m.

Farmers Market Manager Grady Dalton said the market’s opening day is expected to see 10 to 12 growers, but the amount of vendors and the harvests they bring will increase as the season progresses.

The DeKalb County Farmers Market is unique from other markets in that all of the items supplied come strictly from local farmers in town.

“We will have squash, cucumbers, cabbage, onions, broccoli and I think our peach man from out in Dogtown is going to have 15 to 20 bushels of nectarines on opening day,” Dalton said. “We have a gentleman out on Lookout Mountain that will be there with some hothouse tomatoes.”

Hothouse tomatoes are grown in a controlled environment and can be produced year-round.

Dalton said the local tomatoes grown in their natural environment won’t be harvested until July.

“We won’t have tomatoes until after the Fourth of July,” Dalton said. “But there is a lady who will be bringing squash and peppers on opening day, and there is another lady who is bringing apple pies.”

Dalton said Deadra Lynn Salyers is the lady who will be bringing the pies. He said this year she is selling a never-before-seen good at the market.

“She will be selling apple pies for people who are diabetic,” Dalton said. “This is the first time we will have that at the market.”

Dalton said there will be a vendor selling sweet treats like tea cakes on opening day as well and that the variety of goods increases as the market’s season continues throughout the summer and early fall.

“We hit peak around the Fourth of July,” Dalton said. “That’s when we have tomatoes, corn, beans, peas and October beans and potatoes.”

Dalton said the market sees anywhere between 30 and 35 vendors in the late summer months and that the VFW has made adjustments in recent past to accommodate for the crowd the market draws.

“We spent $3,300 to have ceiling fans installed,” he said. “So we turn those on and can cool that place for the growers and the shoppers.”

DeKalb County Commission President Ricky Harcrow will be presenting the VFW famers market with a check opening day. Any producer in DeKalb County is welcome from opening day onward, but producers must get a permit from the DeKalb County Cooperative Extension Services office.

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