There are only a couple of weeks left to visit farmer’s markets in both Highlands and Cashiers as both are remaining active throughout October.
The Green Market, Cashiers
The Green Market operates from 2-5 p.m. on Wednesdays at The Village Green Commons and began in 2016 as a way to offer local growers a place to sell their products, and give area residents the opportunity to get farm-fresh food, said The Village Green Executive Director Ann Self
“The market is open in late May through the end of October,” said Self. “This is the first year we have stayed open through October. It is great fun to see the pumpkins, fall and winter squash, and other seasonal items on our vendors’ tables.”
All of the vendors must grow, raise, or prepare their food within a 150-mile radius of Cashiers guaranteeing that it is locally grown and made, said Self. The one exception to this policy is a fish vendor who catches the fish and ships it the next day.
The Green Market offers produce, eggs, mushrooms, meats, spices, fish, baked goods, honey, plants, flowers, and more.
Self said the Green Market had a significant increase in customers this year and consistently averaged close to 200 people each week, higher during the summer months.
She added several safety measures were implemented to maintain social distance.
“We have had to implement safe distancing and other health measures such as wearing masks, one-way traffic, and monitoring the number of customers in the market,” said Self. “We have had some vendors who have created products with COVID-19 in mind, for example, the Mountain Man Cave Honey vendors made hand sanitizing spray with their homegrown lavender. We have also received tremendous support from the Jackson County Agricultural Extension office who have provided signs with COVID-19 messaging, masks to give for customers without, gloves for vendors, and hand sanitizer. The Highlands-Cashiers Health Foundation also provided hand-sanitizing stations.”
Self said the Green market wouldn’t be possible without dedicated organizers.
“Scott Alderson and Tania Duncomb of Native Private Culinary have served this year as the market managers,” she said. “They have done a tremendous job, offering their great food service experience, ideas, and a positive, cheerful attitude in this unusual time.”
Highlands Farmer’s Market
The Highlands Farmer’s Market is focused on produce, with a couple of craft vendors grandfathered in back when it began 15 years ago. It’s held on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon at Kelsey-Hutchinson Founders Park.
For the past 8 years, the Farmer’s Market has been managed by Don Deal, of Deal Farms in Franklin, who said he has also seen larger numbers this year compared to previous years.
“The popularity has grown over the years,” said Deal. “Especially this year, we had a lot of people because of the virus. They don’t want to go into a store, they want an open-air market. We’ve been busier than we’ve ever been.”
The Farmer’s Market began at Highlands School, then moved to Bryson’s Plaza, and eventually Founders Park. Deal said the park is a great setting for a local market.
“It’s a good thing for the community,” he said. “People like coming out, walking their dogs, and seeing all the good things we have here.”
Many Hands Peace Farm Manager Joey Kyle sells his wares at both Highlands and Cashiers markets offering mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggs, chicken, and more.
“We see about 200 people a week,” said Kyle. “It’s a good and steady crowd with a lot of familiar faces and people are really appreciative. And I love fielding random mushroom questions, but we always sell out of mushrooms first.”
Jane Chalker offers crafts made by children in Haiti, recently selling handmade artwork created out of discarded steel drums. Proceeds from sales go towards projects that benefit areas throughout Haiti, including paying teacher’s salaries and beginning community gardens through Highlands Friends of Haiti and the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation in Highlands.
Chalker said artwork involving bears is always popular so she asked her friends in Port Au Prince to make more bear art. She had to send a photo because many of them didn’t know what a bear looked like.
“Once they knew what a bear was, they sent me some great stuff, and it sold out right away,” she said. “We buy it from them giving them jobs and then sell it, which goes towards projects in Haiti.”
The Green Market:
When: 2-5 p.m., Wednesdays
Where: The Village Green Commons
Highlands Farmer’s Market:
When: 8 a.m. to noon, Saturdays
Where: Kelsey-Hutchinson Founders Park