The vendors at the Dunwoody Green Market will show their Thanksgiving spirit at this week’s market by preparing and serving a free thank-you breakfast.
The breakfast is the vendors’ gift to the community for its support of the market. They will serve it on Wednesday from 8-10 a.m. at the market’s location adjacent to the Post Office in Dunwoody Village. Food will be served on a first-come, first-served basis and will include coffee, pastries, melons, muffins, breakfast meats and biscuits. There will also be toe-tapping music to help create a festive fall mood. The market will be open until noon.
This is the next to the last day for the market this year. The 2011 season will end next Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. A full complement of vendors is expected both weeks.
“This has been a fabulous year,” said Paula Guilbeau of Heirloom Gardens in Forsyth and the market chairman. She said the foot traffic was good this year, even during the gruesome summer heat.
“The Community clearly embraces us,” she observed. “It’s sad to see another year come to a close. I’ve already had a few people ask ‘what will we do when you close?’ ”
One answer is to make arrangements with vendors for winter deliveries by getting contact information from them either during the next two market sessions or from their websites. Community supporters can find vendor websites on the Dunwoody Green Market website.
There’s a good chance they would be willing to meet you during the market off-season to make a delivery, says Guilbeau.
After all, as Michelle Greene, the director of market volunteers, says, “Crops don’t keep a calendar, and the farms keep producing.”
For those who do keep a calendar, the market will open for the 2012 season in mid-April. The exact date will be posted on the market website. Interested community members can also sign up on the website for the market’s electronic newsletter, which reaches 1,400 people in Dunwoody and beyond.
The Dunwoody market used to be one of only a few community markets in the area, market Treasurer Ann Bailey of Annie Okra’s Barn in Rydal said as customers moved from stall to stall at last week’s market. Now, she said, there are markets in surrounding communities, such as Sandy Springs on Saturdays and in Norcross. This dilutes sales and contributed to somewhat of a mixed year for revenues, she pointed out.
The community market movement in Atlanta is part of the green movement that is gaining momentum across the country. According to information distributed in the Dunwoody market’s newsletter, the number of farmers markets in the United States has increased from 1,755 to 5,274. There was a 13 percent increase between 2008 and 2009 alone, the newsletter article added.
The newsletter item went on to say that farmers markets still represent only a relatively small piece of the pie. In 2008, there were approximately 85,200 grocery stores nationwide (this number includes both supermarkets and convenience stores), which means that there are still more than 15 grocery stores for each farmers market in the United States.
The Dunwoody market, though, offers several aspects of food services that usually aren’t available at the typical chain grocery store..
The Dunwoody market, for example, is a producer-only market. That means all the vendors, farm and non-farm, must grow or make what they sell.
A second is that the produce the Dunwoody Green Market farmers sell is Certified Naturally Grown. That means that the vendors who sell at the market must use sustainable production methods. In the case of the farmers, for instance, they don’t use chemical fertilizers, pesticides or genetically modified seeds.
A third is that the produce sold at the market is often a scarce heirloom variety available only from specialty growers. And virtually all of the produce, heirloom or not, was picked the day before it’s sold on market Wednesday’s instead of being shipped to store shelves, in some cases long distances.
So, if you’re getting into the Thanksgiving spirit, come out to Dunwoody Village Wednesday morning. The market vendors would like to serve you breakfast as their way of saying thank you for your support. Don’t worry if it’s a cool morning. That toe-tapping music should help you stay warm.