Weekly local market opens, 16 farmers sell fresh goods

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Macon’s Main Street Program, Community Health Works and Macon Roots have recently collaborated on a new farmers’ market in downtown Macon called Mulberry Street Market.
The producer-only farmers’ market will supply local organic meats, produce and eggs in Mulberry Street Park from April through September. All the products in the market are locally grown, giving customers the ability to buy the freshest products while creating relationships with the farmers who grew them and to ask the farmers questions directly.
The farmer’s market has been in business for four weeks and is open every Wednesday from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. selling a variety of fresh goods from fruits and vegetables to a variety of meats.
“The whole idea is to support local farmers so the people that you see at the Mulberry Street Market are the actual producers of the food,” said Tripp Eldridge, the Food Access Coordinator for Community Health Works.
The Mulberry Street Market was created as a response to consumer demands. Alex Morrison, Director of Macon’s Main Street Program, conducted an informal survey to determine the customers’ preferences.
“This Wednesday market is a result of responding to those consumer demands for a consistent weekly market that’s producer-only and conveniently accessible to the central business district downtown. We found that the Saturday markets were hard to get consumer participation in because they were perceived as being inconvenient. People didn’t want to come downtown in the weekend as much,” Eldridge said.
Mulberry Street Market is hoping to increase their selection while keeping the focus on fresh, local food. Currently, there are 16 farmers participating who frequently have been selling out at each market.
“My favorite part about the market is seeing the farmers go home with an empty truck. There are a lot of measures of success for farmers’ markets but the market only survives if the farmers go home empty-handed,” Eldridge said.
“Farmers’ markets are known for being this intersection of so many positive things, such as community development and sustaining your local farmers. It’s an environmental choice and it’s a health choice,” Eldridge said.
Macon has experienced farmers’ markets in the past, but none quite like Mulberry Street Market. The Mulberry Street Market, located between First and Second Street, is in the heart of downtown Macon.
“We’ve had this history, this food culture, but it was so quickly eroded by the convenience of everything so [Mulberry Street Market] is reclaiming that food culture before it’s totally lost and just falling in love with what real food is again,” Eldridge said.

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