Weekly famer's market offers produce, supports local farmers


When most Mercer students think of Downtown Macon they think of places for entertainment, such as The Rookery, or restaurant icons like Nu Way Wieners.
Many students would be surprised to find out that Downtown Macon also provides them with a place to purchase bread, milk, fresh fruits and vegetables, meat and even ice cream.
The Mulberry Street Market is a farmer’s market located in Mulberry Street Park between First and Second Street. It began in April, and it is a partnership between Macon Roots, Community Health Works and the City of Macon Main Street Initiative.
The Mulberry Street market is a producer-only market, which means that there is no “middleman”; consumers purchase goods directly from the local farmers who produce them.
A variety of farmers sell their products at the market.
Vinnie’s Bakery sells cookies and other baked goods, in addition to freshly-squeezed lemonade and peach sweet tea. Davis Farms, of Roberta, Ga., sells fresh produce and flowers. Southern Swiss Dairy, located in Waynesboro, Ga., sells their natural, hormone-free milk, which is bottled the same day that their cows are milked. They sell delicious chocolate milk and ice cream as well.
Many other farmers sell an array of other goods at the market, including local honey, freshly baked bread, and grass-fed, hormone-free meat.
Salamander Springs Permaculture Farm is one of the farms that travel to the Mulberry Street Market each week.
It is a 50 acre farm located in Milledgeville, Ga., that sells a variety of fresh produce and flowers.
Salamander Springs practices permaculture, which allows them to produce crops without depleting the Earth’s natural resources.
The farm also supports the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) program.
WWOOF links volunteers with organic farmers in order to educate people about more sustainable ways of living.
By choosing to purchase goods from farms like Salamander Springs, people can support local farmers, as well as the environment.  Because local goods do not have to be shipped as far, less gasoline is used.
According to Mark Vanderhoek, founder of Macon Roots, the Mulberry Street Market allows consumers to “eat outside the box.”
“By supporting local farmers consumers help them to continue to be environmentally stable producers,” he said.
Additionally, Vanderhoek says that buying locally-grown, organic foods from the Mulberry Street Market gives consumers the opportunity to experience the “local flavor” of Middle Georgia while receiving all of the nutrients that they need.
The locally-grown produce may seem a bit more expensive than supermarket produce, but by externalizing their costs the farmers are able to keep their farms environmentally friendly.
The Mulberry Street Market is open every Wednesday from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.  It provides consumers with a locally grown, organic alternative to larger supermarkets.
For Mercer students who have access to a kitchen, the market could provide the vast majority of their weekly grocery needs, including meat, produce, bread and dairy products.
Students who do not have access to a kitchen would still find plenty at the market.  The Mulberry Street Market is a great opportunity to purchase healthy, delicious food while supporting the local economy and being environmentally friendly.