April means the reopening of local farmers markets, which bring fresh fruits and vegetables, music and the smells of newly baked breads and pastries.

Residents of Brookhaven, Buckhead, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs soon won’t have to drive far to find fresh produce and other products from local farmers and businesses. Markets open in each of those communities this month.

Whitney Cook, left, and Brandon Webb shopped for plants at the Peachtree Road Farmers Market on opening day last year.

Peachtree Road Farmers Market

Location: Cathedral of St. Philip, 2744 Peachtree Road NW

Saturdays, April 11 – Dec. 19

Hours of operation: 8:30 a.m. to noon through September; 9 a.m. to noon October through December

The largest farmers market in the area, the Peachtree Road Farmers Market boasts more than 70 vendors, 50 of which are on site every week. Customers won’t have to ask farmers how their edible offerings have been produced, says Market Manager Lauren Carey, as all participating farmers are required to use seeds that have not been genetically modified. Feed for animals and livestock is also required to be GMO-free.

“We require that all of the produce and meat at our market is either certified organic or certified naturally grown, so they’re getting fresher, cleaner food to put on their table,” Carey said. “Often, [customers] drive past other farmers markets to come to us because of the variety, the direct relationship with the people that grew their food, rather than people who are reselling food, and also because of our high standards.”

The market also features live music, chef demonstrations and events aimed at children, including a petting zoo on April 25, the day which will mark the market’s ninth birthday.

For more information: peachtreeroadfarmersmarket.com

Heritage Sandy Springs Farmers Market

Location: 235 Sandy Springs Circle through April; Corner of Mt. Vernon Highway and Lake Forrest Drive beginning in May

Saturdays, April 11 – Oct. 31

Hours of operation: 8:30 a.m. to noon

On any given Saturday, you can expect to see 45 or so vendors in attendance—10 or so farmers, half a dozen artisans selling items from pottery to wearable art and accessories, and more than two dozen prepared foods from coffee to fresh tamales and even barbecue sauce.

In addition to vendors, the market hosts several civic and nonprofit groups throughout the year, while attendees can also enjoy live music from area artists.

“It’s a great gathering place. It’s just in the heart of Sandy Springs and it brings people together. You see your neighbor, we have local politicians come to the market, so you can really touch and feel your community,” said Lori Coombs, manager of the Heritage Sandy Springs Farmers Market. “The fresh produce is number one, but [customers] really like the atmosphere.

Oct. 31 will be the last day the market will feature its full festivities, though an abbreviated market will be held during following Saturdays so farmers can continue to sell their products.

“The farmers are still growing and they want to still come, so we do a two-hour market between November and mid-December. We’ll keep going for them to be able to sell their produce,” Coombs said.

Brookhaven Farmers Market

Location: University Baptist Church, 1375 Fernwood Circle NE

Saturdays, April 18 – Dec. 12

Hours of operation: 9 a.m. to noon

Patrons returning to Brookhaven Farmers Market this year will find it in its new location across from the fire station. Regular vendors include Blue Donkey Coffee, cheesemaker Orobianco, and FarmMobile, a mobile farmers market truck from which customers can buy local veggies, eggs, grassfed beef and more.

For more information: brookhavenfarmersmarket.com

The Peachtree Road Farmers Market in Buckhead drew a crowd last year for its opening day.

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.