You don’t have to travel all the way to East Asia for handpicked Shitake mushrooms or to Russia for homegrown Siberian kale. With one trip to the East Lake Farmers Market (ELF), you can have all this and more at your fingertips.
The East Lake Farmers Market opens for the 2014 season on Tuesday, April 15. Local farmers and vendors selling organic and specialty items will welcome returning customers and new ones seeking local, fresh goods from April to October.
“This season, we are trying something different by operating on Tuesdays, instead of Saturdays. We will use Saturdays for education with the urban farm, hosting workshops and special events for the community,” said Doug Williams, who founded the market in 2009 and expanded the concept in 2011 to include an urban farm after receiving $82,000 in funding from DeKalb County, the Southeastern Horticultural Society and the Centers for Disease Control’s Communities Putting Prevention to Work program.
Oakhurst, Agnes Scott, Decatur, Kirkwood, Edgewood, unincorporated DeKalb, Midway Woods and Avondale Estates have been big supporters of the farmer’s market every since it opened, Williams said.
Foodies like Thomas James, who lives in East Atlanta, are anxiously waiting for the April opening. The market gives them the excuse to not only shop, but walk and meet people in the community.
“I think the market has been a great addition to this community,” said James, who makes visits to get fresh produce. “You can just walk up freely, meet new people, bring your dog and shop with some great farmers.”
This season, the 4,800-square-foot market will feature organically harvested vegetables, fair trade teas, local flowers, freshly baked breads, sweet Georgia peaches, free range chickens and body soaps and other specialty items.
“The growing popularity of the market and people wanting to eat fresh is a fantastic thing. With our market and urban farm, we can pour more energy into the goal I started with: building community through food,” said Williams. “This season will be like the others in that we will continue to strive to strengthen the local economy and encourage healthy lifestyles by promoting products and programs from local farmers, businesses and artisans.”
The East Lake Farmers Market is located at the intersection of Second Avenue and Hosea Williams Drive in east Atlanta. It will be open April to October, Tuesdays, 4 to 8 p.m. or when the sun sets. For more information, call 404-428-8017 or visit http://elfmarket.org.