At least 20 vendors could be featuring their wares on opening day at the Dallas Farmers Market Saturday, April 20.
The market is set to operate on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon from April to October in downtown Dallas. It will feature vendors mostly from Paulding County offering homegrown fruits, vegetables and more, siad market director John Grant.
“It’s a coming together of local farmers and craftsmen,” said Grant, who is operating it for a second consecutive year.
Debbie Hill, who is on the five-member board for the nonprofit market, said officials hope it could attract shoppers to downtown Dallas who would also patronize the historic area’s mix of entertainment, dining and retail establishments.
The weekly pop-up farmer’s market operates in the parking lot next to Regions Bank at the corner of Confederate Avenue and West Memorial Drive, across from the Old Courthouse and the Bagby Building where Georgia Highlands College offers classes.
The market in 2018 featured a wide range of homegrown and homemade items such as fruits and vegetables, plants, perennials, herbs, honey, jams and jellies, fried pies, bread, soap and doll clothes.
This year, the market will open with vendors selling spring tomatoes, squash, homemade ites and more, Grant said.
He said local business leaders asked him to direct the weekly market in 2018 after a different group operated it on a smaller scale for about six years in a lot adjacent to the Bagby Building.
The move to its current location gave the market more customer parking, a larger area for vendors, and a chance to offer activities for children, he said.
Members of the Paulding Fine Arts Association, which operates a gallery in the Old Courthouse, painted a colorful mural on a retaining wall on the eastern edge of the lot which helped make the site more attractive, he said.
He said the “vast majority” of vendors are Paulding County residents offering products they grew or produced. He said he seeks vendors from outside the county only if they offer something not grown in Paulding, such as peaches or apples, that customers are demanding.
Hill, who owns Debbie’s Garden in Paulding County, formerly sold plants and perennials at the bustling Marietta Square Farmers Market which boasts about 65 vendors and operates year-round on Saturdays and May to October on Sundays.
She said the Dallas market’s leadership group is seeking to diversify its offerings this year with activities like cooking demonstrations. That could attract more customers and more vendors, Hill said.
“Our goal is to build this market,” she said.
Grant said he is working to create more activities and features to make the market more than just a place to buy fruits and vegetables.
“They could go to Kroger to do that,” he said. “We’re trying to enhance it to where it’s an experience.”
Enhancements could include featuring local musicians eager for exposure, he said.