By Kathy Jefcoats
FOREST PARK — From apples and alfalfa sprouts to watermelon and yams, the Atlanta Farmers Market has the largest selection of produce in one place on the southside.
It's all in Forest Park and Saturday is the perfect time to visit. The Georgia Department of Agriculture is hosting its annual free Georgia Farmers Showcase from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Spokesman Matthew Kulinski said it's a great way for residents to get to know the market.
"Customers can try products, meet farmers and see the abundance of products for sale at the Farmers Market," he said.
The 150-acre market is just off I-75 at exit 237. It is the largest market of its kind in Georgia and features wholesale and retail vendors, restaurants such as Oakwood Cafe which serves fresh produce, a garden center, a welcome center and a USDA federal-state office.
Saturday's event will feature fruit and vegetable tastings from local producers, prepared foods from local chefs and restaurants and educational booths geared toward children. The market is expecting more than three dozen vendors from across the state to participate in the showcase.
The event is free and so is parking.
Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black said he hopes the event draws a crowd.
"Agriculture is the largest industry in our state and this event will utilize the Atlanta State Farmers Market to show our locally produced items,” he said. “Georgia Grown has been revitalized this year and this event is one of our new efforts to renew the retail side of the market. Whether you’ve been before or never visited, this is the perfect opportunity to see what the market is all about.”
In addition to a wide range of Georgia-grown fruits and vegetables, consumers will also find locally-produced meats, cheeses, plants and flowers, as well as jams, jellies and honey. Those from similar areas of the state will be grouped together to regionally showcase what agriculture in Georgia is all about. There will also be a petting zoo, entertainment, talks about gardening and much more.
The welcome center at the Farmers Market sells Georgia-grown products year-round.