The Clarkesville Marketplace – a new open air farmer’s market – will celebrate its Grand Opening on Saturday, May 6 from 9 a.m. to noon. The Marketplace will be located adjacent to the historic Gazebo, in the upper parking lot of the former courthouse in Downtown Clarkesville at 555 Monroe Street.
The market will open every Saturday, rain or shine, through September with the exceptions of May 20 and September 30, when the City of Clarkesville hosts the Mountain Laurel Festival and A Taste of Clarkesville events.
The Clarkesville Marketplace is a non-profit collaborative effort between the City of Clarkesville, Clarkesville Main Street and local farmers and artisans. “The purpose of the market is to create a sales venue for local area farmers, provide opportunity for consumers to purchase quality locally-grown goods, to provide a community gathering place, and to promote and stimulate economic development and create traffic in the downtown area,” explains Mary Beth Horton, Clarkesville Main Street Manager. “Our local businesses are on board and excited, and we think this will really energize our downtown each week.”
“Fresh and local” is the market’s credo. All vendors farm, make, and live in Northeast Georgia. The marketplace will feature in-season produce, fresh cut flowers, baked goods, prepared organic coffee, local honey, jam and jellies, farm-fresh eggs and meat, and handcrafted items from local makers. Local vendors will vary from week-to-week.
Lisa Loeffler, market manager for Clarkesville Marketplace and the Clarkesville Farmers Market and an artisan soap vendor, explains why she loves participating in the farmer’s market. “I love the family-like atmosphere—among the vendors, which is quite close-knit, and the wonderful rapport between vendors and customers,” Loeffler says. “In my case, I love sharing the products I’ve personally made with people who actually live near me.”
The Clarkesville Farmer’s Market, a non-profit organization made up of local chemical-free growers, health-conscious prepared food vendors, and independent area artisans, will be a season vendor and relocate from outside The Old Clarkesville Mill to the new Marketplace for its sixth season.
Michelle Taylor, from Taylor Creek Farm in Toccoa, and other local market favorites will be set up, as well as some new faces. Taylor, who also serves as the Clarkesville Farmers Market president, is passionate about the local food movement. Emphasizing “the power that local food can have on a community,” she underscores that it is “a long-term investment in our children’s future.”
On May 6, the market will showcase live folk music from Northeast Georgia’s own Chuck Taylor. Clarkesville Marketplace hopes he will be the first of many local musicians to entertain guests this season.
A downtown farmer’s market preserves the area’s rich agricultural heritage and simpler times, according to organizers. It’s also a fun place to take the kids, meet up with friends, shop, and enjoy a Saturday morning in a quaint downtown setting.
In order to host the Clarkesville Marketplace, the upper parking lot of the former courthouse will be closed to thru traffic each Saturday until noon. All customers and vendors are encouraged to park in the lower courthouse lot or in the public lots around the downtown square.
To keep current on special events and all things market-related, follow @ClarkesvilleFarmersMarket on Facebook. If you are interested in being a vendor, or would like more information about the Clarkesville Marketplace, please visit www.clarkesvillega.com.