Prominent farmers markets in Cherokee County continue to thrive this year as the growing season picks up.
The Main Street Woodstock Farmers Market started in 2009, and Kyle Bennett, director of tourism and visitors center operations, said 44 vendors are signed up and more are added every week.
“The Woodstock Farmers Market has experienced the largest crowds it has ever had in the first two market days this year,” Bennett said. “Our market is a great source for fresh produce, fresh baked goods, and bath and beauty products.”
The Main Street Woodstock Farmers Market is 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. every Saturday through Oct. 26.
Bennett recommended visitors to the market arrive the first hour it’s open because popular items sell out quickly. Bennett said in the past the market has been “very popular, but it has reached new levels this year.”
He said there is plenty of parking next to the market, which is in the parking lot for City Center at the corner of Main Street and Towne Lake Parkway in Woodstock.
The Waleska Farmers Market is in its fourth season, and Market Manager Zach White said customers drive from surrounding counties to visit the market. The market is in the parking lot behind North Cherokee Church of Christ at the corner of Highway 108 and Highway 140, next to Reinhardt University in Waleska.
“It is amazing to see the wonderful turnout from the community each week,” White said.
“We were voted the 11th most popular farmers market in the country in the Small Town Boutique Category in the 2011 America’s Favorite Farmers Market Contest.”
The Waleska Farmers Market is open from 4:15 to 7:30 p.m Thursdays through Oct. 24, and Mondays through July 29. The market will be closed July 4. Parking is free.
White said last season there were about 22 vendors a week, and said the frozen fruit sorbet is a big hit in the summer.
“We have some yummy homemade baked goods from pies, breads, cakes, muffins and much more,” White said. “We have some amazing local produce vendors at the market in the summer time with a big selection of produce.”
The market has a variety of events during the season and has two in June. The third annual Waleska Blooms photo contest is accepting entries through Thursday and a winner will be announced June 20. The market will also have a squash dish recipe contest June 27, and judging will start at 5 p.m.
“It has been amazing to see the growth of the market. The first season of the market we had (it) just once a month; this year is our biggest season with over 30 markets and two a week in July,” White said. “We have had wonderful support from Waleska Mayor Doris Jones and the Waleska City Council, Reinhardt University and from the Waleska community.”
The Cherokee Farm Bureau sponsors the Cherokee Fresh Market at Cagle’s Family Farm in the Hickory Flat community. Volunteer Liz Porter said the annual event has been around for years and said all vendors with locally grown or hand-crafted farm and garden items are welcome.
“I think the honey and related products are the most interesting. Also, since this market is almost exclusively vendor grown,” Porter said. “Our vendors bring in odd things from time to time. Garlic scapes (flower stalks of the garlic plant), for example.”
The market is at 362 Stringer Lane in Canton, under a wooden pavilion on the Cagle’s Corn Maze Hill. Parking and restrooms are free, and there will be a children’s play area.
The Cherokee Fresh Market will have their third annual Pie Day on June 29. Pies will be judged and the winners will compete in the Cherokee Pie Challenge between Woodstock, Waleska and Sixes markets Aug. 24.
The Canton Farmers Market in Cannon Park on Main Street in downtown Canton by the gazebo features farm fresh produce, baked goods, specialty food items, handmade soap, handmade chocolate, fresh flowers, plants, shrubs and herbs.
The Canton Farmers Market is open every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon, and continues through Oct. 26.
Market Produce Preview
Main Street Woodstock Farmers Market
“Our market is a great source for fresh produce, fresh baked goods, and bath and beauty products. As of today 44 vendors have been approved to take part on the Main Street Woodstock Farmers Market with more signing up for the market each week.” — Kyle Bennett, director of Tourism and Visitors Center Operations
Waleska Farmers Market
“Homegrown local baked goods, jewelry, soap, candles, spices, yummy frozen fruit sorbet, wood crafts, produce, plants, honey, fresh eggs and much more. Last week we had goats and baby chicks for sale, it is always something new each week at the market.” — Zach White, market manager
Cherokee Fresh Market
“Cherokee sweet onions, garlic, cabbage, celery, Cherokee sweet and green salad onions, potatoes, lettuce, squash, cucumbers, Swiss chard, fresh cut flowers, plants, fresh eggs, baked goods, handcrafted items, fresh local honey, beeswax lip balm and moisturizing skin cream, jams, jellies and spice mixes. Coming up: watermelons, peaches, blueberries, tomatoes, green beans, corn, field peas and other summer vegetables.” — Liz Porter, Promotions and Education Committee volunteer
Canton Farmers Market
“The open air market will feature farm fresh produce and baked goods, food specialty items, handmade soap, handmade chocolate, fresh garden flowers, bedding plants, shrubs and herbs. We are very committed to our community and to the local farmers, artisans and downtown small business owners.” — City of Canton’s website