You might say that metro Atlanta was ripe for a wave of farmers markets, in light of renewed interest in farm-to-table food and an influx of urbanites championing it.
Edward Hunter, the new general manager of the Dunwoody Farmers Market, has had his eye on the trend for a while.
“Atlanta has seen a flight into the city of young, educated people in the last 15 to 20 years,” says Hunter, an Atlanta native. “Now there’s so much that is thriving here, and people want the experience of a farmers market. There has to be 50 of these in the metro area now.”
Georgia’s agricultural roots also are a factor in the popularity of the markets.
“There’s still an agrarian spirit in the state,” Hunter says. “People dabble in growing their own food. There are nascent growers, but also people who grew up doing it.”
The Dunwoody Farmers Market, which launches its second year on May 4 in Brook Run Park at 4770 North Peachtree Road, represents a partnership between the city and the Dunwoody Homeowners Association.
Hunter says about two-thirds of the 30 confirmed vendors will be weekly regulars — the season runs through September, on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to noon — and favorites such as Watsonia Farms (peaches) and Regina’s Farm Kitchen (homemade jam) will be back.
For more information about the Dunwoody Farmers Market, go to dunwoodyfarmersmkt.com.
Hunter, who now lives in Athens and works full time in hospital tech, fielded a few questions about the market and his role.
Q: How did you fall into overseeing a farmers market?
A: A friend of mine, Brandon Smith, started in peach and produce distribution eight or nine years ago. He saw a need in the Atlanta metro area for some competition. The number of markets has doubled or tripled since he started, with different demand in different parts of the area. I think I can help Brandon with something that’s already strong in Dunwoody. I’ll try not to mess anything up.
Q: How will this year’s market build on the success of last year’s? What’s new?
A: There will be more variety. We’ll try to have more food-truck activity, such as Jamaican food, barbecue and Marlee Street Eatz. Two or three times a month, we’ll do a theme.
Q: Will the market have music again this year?
A: We’ll have live music for at least half of the season, including Alex Gordon. He’s a solo act who adds the perfect ambiance. He has a “yacht rock” style that’s relaxing. It’s eclectic instrumental music that ranges from the Beatles and Nirvana to Miles Davis and Herb Alpert. We’ll also have a string duet and some singer-songwriters.
Q: What’s special about putting the market in Brook Run Park?
A: The park seems to be a real draw for the Dunwoody area, and it’s got a killer playscape for families with kids. The property helps bring businesses into the market. Dunwoody has had [a farmers market] in fits and starts over the years, and the Dunwoody Homeowners Association seems to be a great organization.
Q: How would you define the vibe of a first-rate farmers market?
A: When it serves the function you want it to, it’s almost like a neighborhood grocery store.