The Harmony Crossing Farmers Market offers a unique array of vendors who offer freshly grown produce, delectable baked goods and everyday items such as clothing, writing utensils and pottery. The market began 5 years ago, and visitors from across the south have discovered the charm and delight of the market. The idea stemmed from Lowell White and Sharon Kramer, a resident who saw a need for promoting local farmers and artisans. Kramer and White banded together to organize the market and attract vendors and patrons alike.
David Hoersten began organizing the farmer’s market two years ago, after coming to work for White. He learned the organization of the market from both White and Kramer, and has been working on making the market even bigger and better.
“When the market started it averaged five to 10 vendors. Now we average 15 to 30 vendors, and we have about a thousand folks on busy holiday weekends that come to the farmer’s market. But on any given weekend we seldom have less than 400 people come out to support,” Hoersten said.
The multi-purpose space in the Harmony Crossing center is ideal for the farmer’s market, as it is able to hold tents, product and people comfortably.
“It’s been unbelievable how the community has embraced the market. We do have market information available so that vendors and patrons can go and check it out, but we mainly focus on word of mouth. We get people from all walks of life here, and that’s what makes it so great and diverse,” Hoersten said.
To become a vendor at the market, Hoersten explains that vendors must sell products that are Georgia made or grown in Georgia. No commercially sold items are allowed at the farmer’s market. The market features fresh produce, baked goods, soaps, lotions, sauces, barbeque rubs, clothing, custom hand-made pens and pottery.
“We have a little bit of everything and anything. As long as the products are made by the vendors, we are happy to have them at the market,” Horesten said.
The well-established market grows in size every year, as well as positive reviews. Horesten laughs as he talks about patrons coming up to him on warm winter days talking excitedly about when the market will be open again. The market is, in fact, open from May until the last weekend in September, every Saturday from 8 a.m. until noon.
“It is a great way for us to bring the public and vendors together, and we don’t try to do anything really fancy. Vendors pay $10 per tent per Saturday. Vendors can have up to three tents per Saturday, and we have an $80 cap for the season. We end in September because the kids are back in school and football season begins. We’ve found that the spring and summer months are the best time for the market,” Hoersten said.
Last year during the 4th of July, Hoersten found that he couldn’t count the amount of people who were at the market to purchase their homemade and homegrown items.
“It is a great way to support local vendors and enjoy a great social experience. In the end, we’re here to support our local farmers and artisans, and have a great time while doing it,” Hoersten said.
For more information on how to participate in the farmer’s market, log on to www.localharvest.org and search for farmer’s markets in Eatonton at Harmony Crossing. Or contact David Hoersten at (706) 923-0190.