Though the events occur only one day at various farmers markets across the state, the long-term effects from the Georgia Grown Farmers Showcases last throughout the year.
That has certainly been the case for the Savannah State Farmers Market, which has hosted a farmers showcase the last two years in conjunction with its annual Summer Fest. If visitors enter as strangers on that day, they leave as friends, according to Rita Davis, manager for the Savannah Farmers Market. She says more than 5,000 vendors attended the 2014 event.
“There were all kinds of vendors, and our farmers had a very big day,” Davis says. “I think it really helps the market. It seems like after [the farmers showcases], things really pick up. More people learn about us, and we get more visitors. You’d be surprised at the people who don’t even know this place is here. So it is definitely good advertisement.”
In addition to Savannah, the Georgia Grown Farmers Showcases were held in Atlanta and Macon. A showcase was also added to the Moultrie Farmers Market for the first time in 2014.
“We’re one of the biggest agriculture counties around and have a good location, so we have lots to offer,” says Cindy Jursik of the Moultrie State Farmers Market on the decision to hold a showcase.
The market recently added a lot of new features, including a feed store, western wear store and meat market, and a showcase seemed like the perfect way to introduce them to the public, Jursik says.
Sponsored by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, visitors to the farmers showcases can expect to find a range of locally grown seasonal vegetables and fruits, and locally raised meats. They’ll also come across a variety of other items such as olive oil, jams, soaps, candles and beeswax lip gloss.
The showcases includes activities for kids and adults, too, such as watermelon seed-spitting contests and kiddie train rides.
Davis says the event at Savannah Farmers Market included a wine tasting, which was quite popular among visitors, plus cooking demonstrations and an antique car and tractor show. In addition, Extension agents were on hand to offer tips for gardeners of all levels.
The Farmers Showcase originated at the Atlanta State Farmers Market in 2012, then expanded to include more in 2013 and 2014.