In Woodstock, more than 1,000 people are showing up each week to load up on fresh fruits and vegetables at the market, featuring about 40 to 50 vendors, said Kyle Bennett, director of Tourism and Visitors Center Operations.
“It is going amazingly well. Since we are at a new location, we were not sure how it would go and about getting the word out, but it is more popular than last year,” Bennett said.
Along with a cornucopia of fresh produce, special events are planned throughout the summer to tempt shoppers to come out to the markets.
Antique tractors will be on display at Cherokee Fresh Market in the Hickory Flat Saturday from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and market-goers can vote for their favorite. The event is sponsored by the Cherokee County Farm Bureau and the winner will be announced at 11 a.m.
Saturday also marks the first of the tasty and delicious Cherokee Pie Challenge 2014 Pie Days, planned at each of the county’s farmers markets through August. Bakers can cook up entries using local ingredients.
“We hope for about 20 pies. This is the first time to do the pie contest, and I think it will be great,” said Camille Wehs, who is in charge of the farmers market in the city. “I think we will have a good showing”
Wehs said the city is averaging about 500 people who come through each Saturday, and more people are coming out this year than in years past.
The winner of each Pie Day will compete for county bragging rights on Aug. 23 in the Pie Day Finals at Cherokee Fresh Market.
Bennett said at last year’s Woodstock Pie Day, 30 pies were entered, and he looks for even more this year when the city holds its Pie Day Aug. 2.
“Every year it has gotten more and more popular, and I am looking forward to seeing what delicious pies get entered this year,” Bennett said.
Pie Day is followed by a pie eating contest, and those in attendance might get a chance to sample some of the entries as well, he said.
Pies can be sweet or savory, and hot or cold. The pies submitted for judging must contain at least one locally available ingredient, which does not need to be in season and may be fresh, frozen or canned.
Categories are Youth under 18, Adult and Professional. For information on the pie contest, contact Shirley Pahl at Cherokee County Farm Bureau at (770) 479-1481or email firstname.lastname@example.org for contest rules and entry form.
Woodstock is also holding a weekly farmers market at the Outlet Shoppes of Atlanta on Tuesdays, and Bennett said while that one is smaller, it still attracts about 15 to 20 vendors and gives shoppers a chance to sample some wares.
“The outlet mall market is a little smaller, and there is a different shopping habit there. It has developed into people buying items to enjoy there such as cupcakes, boiled peanuts, peaches. Some are doing good at both,” he said.
One vendor showing at both markets is Will Womble of Will’s Farm Fresh Produce. Womble brings in as much as 10,000 pounds of fresh produce each weekend and almost all is purchased, Bennett said.
A listing of what will be at the Woodstock market this Saturday includes tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, peppers, onions, eggplants, peaches, beans, cantaloupe, carrots, corn, kale, okra, Vidalia onions, peas, potatoes, romaine, sweet potatoes, Swiss chard, watermelon, blueberries, blackberries, jalapenos, lavender and lavender related products, jams and jellies, bath and beauty products, spice blends, peanut brittle, crepes, lemonade, boiled peanuts, pet treats, cupcakes, pies, cakes and baked bread.
The Woodstock Farmers Market will feature a cooking demonstration by Chef David Silverman of Reel Seafood on July 19 at 10 a.m.
Farmers markets in the county include:
• Cagle’s Family Farm Cherokee Fresh Market: 362 Stringer Road, in the Hickory Flat community in Canton, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., Saturdays through Aug. 30;
• Woodstock Farmers Market on Market Street: Market Street, parallel to Main Street, between Mill and Maple streets in downtown Woodstock, 8:30 a.m. to noon Saturdays through Oct. 25;
• Woodstock Farmers Market at the Outlet Shoppes: 915 Ridgewalk Parkway in Woodstock, 4:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Oct. 28;
• Waleska Farmers Market: North Cherokee Church of Christ, at 7198 Reinhardt College Parkway in Waleska, 3 to 7 p.m. Thursdays through Sept. 4, no market July 3;
• Ball Ground Farmers Market: City Park in downtown Ball Ground, off Gilmer Ferry Road in Ball Ground, 2 to 6 p.m. Fridays through Sept. 5, no market July 4;
• Canton Farmers Market: Cannon Park, between East Main and North streets in downtown Canton, 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays through Oct. 25; and
• River Church Farmers Market: 2335 Sixes Road, Canton, 2 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Oct. 29.