‘Local’ Senoia farmers’ market offers different approach
Coweta County’s newest farmers’ market is now open. And it comes with a difference. Our Community Farmers Market at Grace Baptist Church on Ga. Highway 34 requires that its vendors are all local, offering organic or naturally-grown products and carry a “producer-only” qualification.
OCFM is located at Grace Baptist on Hwy. 34 east of Thomas Crossroads and specializes in products from local vendors in Coweta, Fayette and surrounding counties.
Marianne Pizzitola, one of OCFM’s owner-operators, said the new market is a joint project involving a group of local farmers, vendors and Grace Baptist Church. And OCFM is a producer-only market ensuring fair prices for both the vendors and the consumers, she said.
“All of our vendors meet strict requirements, all are preparing food in a licensed kitchen certified by the Ga. Dept. of Agriculture and our vendors are licensed. There is no other farmers’ market in a 30 mile radius that meets these standards. You know when you shop with us how your jams, jellies and bakery goods are made and that they are processed in a certified and inspected kitchen. Our farmers are all-producer only.”
Steering clear of broker operations that populate some farmer’s markets, Pizzitola said producer-only means that everything at the market has been grown, raised or made by the seller, ensuring fair prices for both the vendors and the consumers.
As for the numerous standards required for the products sold at OCFM, a sampling of those include:
-Farmers - must maintain either an organic or naturally-grown farm; eggs must be either certified organic or certified naturally-grown feed must be used exclusively; and all meat products must be certified naturally-grown or organic.
-Prepared food vendors - products or ingredients cannot contain hydrogenated oils, artificial dyes or preservatives; and products must state the geographical source.
-Artists - all products must be handmade by the artist.
“The market staff visits member farms and kitchens to make sure its consumers are getting the highest quality produce and products. Vendors range from farmers, dairies, ranchers, chefs, food artisans and artists,” Pizzitola said. “We believe in a quality product that no one else is providing and we believe the community would benefit from it. Grace Baptist Church believes it too, because they host our market so together we can serve our community.”
The OCFM requirement means that the buyer interacts with the local farmer or producer furnishing the products.
Pizzitola noted that many farmers’ markets eventually transition into something that looks more like a flea market. That transition is something OCFM intends to avoid.
Our Community Farmers Market is located at Grace Baptist Church at 825 Ebenezer Church Road. The market will be open, rain or shine, on Saturdays from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. until November.
For more information contact Marianne Pizzitola at 678-664-4342.