We haven’t missed a week at the Grant Park Farmer’s Market since it opened this summer. Living three blocks away from the park makes it easy to get our local, seasonal food fix. I often visit the East Atlanta Farmer’s Market (which has most of the same vendors) as well, especially if one of my favorite vendors was sold out on Sunday, but since I can’t walk there–and its Thursday-afternoon schedule is a lot harder to make with a preschooler–the Grant Park market has been my staple this summer.
In no particular order, here’s a list of some of my favorite vendors at the Grant Park Market. Not all their food is organic, but all of them are delicious, local, and just plain fun.
1. Pearsons Farm. Next week, sadly, is the last week of the peach season. The beginning of the summer really had the best peaches–June was when I was going to markets twice a week because I just couldn’t last any longer without satisfying my Georgia peach addiction. The late-season peaches aren’t quite as addictive; my daughter and I only eat one each a day instead of three or four. Although not certified organic, their peaches are sprayed only as a last resort for pest control. And I’m a strong believer that local is better than organic, especially when local means I can have a leisurely face-to-face conversation with the farmer.
2. King of Pops. This is the reason why every kid in Grant Park can’t wait to go to the farmers market. In addition to being a family-run and very ecologically responsible company, they make amazing popsicles. Try the Mexican chocolate flavor. And the blackberry mojito. And the Georgia peach (made from Pearsons Farm peaches). Heck, try all the flavors. And let your toddler do the same.
3. Grace’s Goodness. Grace makes the most amazing hummus you have ever tasted. And baba ganoush. And pimento cheese dip. And soups. She also promised me she would try to make my favorite Romanian eggplant salad, which I tasted in Romania and have never been able to replicate. My daughter (oddly) isn’t a big fan of dips, but Grace’s dips have enabled me to keep vegetables in my diet this summer despite the weird pregnancy aversions that have made me want nothing but meat. Grace is currently in the midst of a fundraiser to expand her business and repair her biodiesel truck so she can deliver fresh, seasonal, local, fresh food to your intown doorstep–a dinnertime lifesaver for busy families. You can contribute at Kickstarter.com.
4. Umurima wi Burundi. Among the many farmers selling fresh produce at the market, this farm stands out. This Decatur farm, near the Avondale MARTA station, is run and operated by Burundi farmers who came to Atlanta as refugees. Part of the Global Growers Network, the farm combines the expertise of lifelong Burundi farmers with the knowledge of local Atlanta farmers to create a sustainable, multicultural farm. Very cool idea.
5. Crack in the Sidewalk Farmlet. This farm doesn’t have a website. To be perfectly honest, I’m not entirely convinced they have a farm. They’re urban foragers–experts on found food, edible wild plants, and fungi. You’ll recognize them at the market as soon as you see them; they’re the ones with bare feet and dirt under their fingernails. They’re the real thing. I once watched one of the guys from Crack in the Sidewalk wander away from the market, pull a fungus off a tree in Grant Park, and take it back to his table to sell. Food doesn’t get any more local than that.