MARIETTA — Fresh, local produce is on the menu at the Marietta Square Farmers Market.
Vendors gathered in the public parking area on Mill Street Saturday, its first weekend of the new year. Guests streamed in and out throughout the chilly morning to buy breads, homemade goods, vegetables and other produce.
Farmers said despite the cold, they were glad to be back in business and were taking ample precautions against COVID-19.
Tammie Rogers and Kip Bishop run Edengate Farm, a 16-acre spread located in Bartow County. On Saturday, they were selling an array of vegetables including scallions, carrots, and greens. They’ve been making sure to prepackage all of their produce, which is picked the day before it goes to market, in a sterile kitchen at the farm. Their farm was also deemed an essential business at the pandemic’s outset, which allowed them to continue working throughout 2020.
“We’re kind of waiting to see what happens next,” Bishop said. “But we’re thankful to be OK.”
Rachel Braden, meanwhile, stood shivering in the wind before an immense spread of fungi of all shapes and sizes. She is the sole owner and cultivator of Bella Vita Mushrooms, which she runs out of her farm in Plainville.
Braden primarily earns her money from restaurant orders, which dried up in the early months of the pandemic, but she was glad to be able to make it out to the market.
“We have like a quarter of what we were doing in the beginning,” Braden said. She noted that while turnout was good Saturday, she expects the market to pick up when warmer weather arrives.
Pinewood Springs Farm, based out of Stockbridge, has been sending produce to the Marietta market nearly every weekend since 2016. Co-owner Jeff Anthony said the last year has been challenging, but business is picking up as of late.
“We do a lot of pre-orders now, so we’ll put bags together and people will come and pick them up,” Anthony said. “But it’s actually not been too bad. In the beginning, it was kind of a struggle … it hit really hard.”
Anthony also said that working with groups like Georgia Organics to get assistance with finding buyers has helped as well.
“We’ve just had to pivot,” Anthony added. “I have some friends that are farmers down in McDonough, Henry and Rockdale counties … and we all help each other.”
The Marietta Square Farmers Market is open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. For more information, visit www.mariettasquarefarmersmarket.com.