GFMA Member Market Feature | Canton Farmers Market
As part of our feature series on GFMA member markets, we wanted to introduce you to the Canton Farmers Market. In this feature, market manager Micki Farley gives us insight into why markets are so important and how GFMA is working to support them. Browse through the Q&A below to learn more from Micki. 1. When and why did your market start? The Canton Farmers Market, sponsored by the Canton Main Street Program, began in 2009. The Market was established to further the vision of the Canton Main Street program who sees historical downtown as the heart of the community where social, economic and civic activities generate a welcoming environment in which local citizens and visitors can live, work, shop and play.
2.What makes your market unique? The Canton Farmers Market accepts only locally grown GEORGIA quality products and handmade crafts. All products must be GEORGIA grown, raised, created and/or assembled by the vendor. An exception is granted for coffee and seafood. There is no charge for farmers within a 100 mile radius of Canton. We feel that farmers are the heart of the market, there would be no market without them!
3. Give me an idea of what a typical market day looks like. What vendors are there and what type of products can shoppers find? Each Saturday morning from the 4th weekend in May through October, you will find us in Cannon Park and the surrounding parking lots from 9am – 1pm. The vendors begin preparing their spaces as early as 7:30. There is a scurry of activity from the moment we arrive until closing. It is an open air market, set in a beautiful, historic downtown Canton. The Gazebo of Cannon Park provides a welcoming environment and the brick pathways to and from the gazebo lead you right to all the vendors. Our market features vegetables, herbs, eggs, honey, homemade breads and baked goods, seafood, fresh meats, processed cheese products, locally grown plants, fresh cut flowers, specialty foods, oils, vinegars, spices, re-purposed wood products, homemade soaps and beauty products, boiled peanuts, teas, Georgia arts and handmade crafts.
4. What's the one thing you wished people understood about farmers markets, farmers and/or the work that you do? The farmers and producers work hard to bring their products to market. Items that are sold in grocery stores may be shipped in from across the US or imported. Our products are produced locally and are fresh. Buyers can talk to the farmers and produces to understand what is fresh, how is makes it to market, and even get recipes and tips.
5. Why do you think local markets are important to communities? Markets are feeding our communities. They are supporting local families, businesses, and putting money directly back into the economy in Canton and the surrounding areas. Markets bring the community together in a common gathering and get people connected. Many people meet at the market to start their day. The social connection is important and it has allowed lots of generations - new and long-term - to connect about our town and community.
6. How is GFMA assisting you and your market in connecting people to local food? GFMA provides guidance for best practices to market managers and local farmers. Their new partnership with Georgia Grown will provide more visibility to markets across the state of Georgia.
7. Is there anything I haven't asked that you'd like to mention? In 2015, the Canton Farmers Market converted to a 100% producer only market. This attracted several local farmers back to Canton. Our attendance improved and we were voted the #1 Farmers Market in the region for 2015-2016. This season we have seen our attendance continue to grow and we have attracted several new, quality farmers and vendors. We strive to continue to improve to provide the very best there is to offer to our customers.
Learn more about the Canton Farmers Market, here.