This year the Ellijay Farmers Market is celebrating its 15th anniversary. The market first opened in the parking lot of the First United Methodist Church and after two years, it moved to the Farm Bureau Insurance parking lot, which it outgrew and then moved to its present location at 1 Broad Street in Ellijay, adjacent to the Gilmer County courthouse and roundabout. The Ellijay Farmers Market is organized and sponsored by the Gilmer County Master Gardener Extension Volunteers, an outreach of the Gilmer County UGA Cooperative Extension (UGA Extension) office and the University of Georgia (UGA) College of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences (CAES) in Athens.
Vendors must follow the rules and regulations as set forth by the Georgia Department of Agriculture if selling food products such as produce, jams, jellies, cakes, cookies, breads, pies, honey and any items that have to be licensed. These guidelines help insure products that are handmade, and locally grown, are safe. Vendors must be local farmers and gardeners, processors of local agricultural products, homebakers, artists or hand-crafters who have produced the items offered for sale.
More detailed information including all policies and procedures are available at the Gilmer County UGA Extension office (1123 Progress Road in Ellijay), on our local web site at www.ugaextension.org/gilmer/, or through a dedicated email to market managers, Lynn Robey and Margaret Williamson, at email@example.com. Be sure to check out the Gilmer County Master Gardener Extension Volunteers on Facebook at Gilmer County Master Gardener Volunteers or online at https://gcmgvolunteers.wordpress.com/.
Vendors actually register and pay at the market on the first morning they arrive for the season by filling out a registration form and making their one-time payment of $15.00 (cash or check only) at that time. This year electricity is available for vendors. The electricity fees are a one-charge of $25.00 plus $3.00 on each additional day it is used. The vendor registration fee is good for the entire season which begins Saturday, April 28th and runs thru Saturday, October 6th.
The market hours are from 8:00 am to 12:00 noon. Vendors arrive at 7:00 am with setup complete by 7:30 am and they can stay until 12:00 pm, or a little later than noon if they desire. Broad Street will be blocked so vendors should enter thru the parking lot behind the courthouse.
If you are a consumer and plan to visit the market, keep in mind that produce vendors can leave as soon as they sell out, so make sure you arrive early to select from all the choices available. And again this year, the Master Gardeners will have their “Ask a Master Gardener” table set up that has information about flowers, vegetables and general gardening.
We look forward to a great season and support from the community for our farmers, gardeners, homebakers, crafters, and artists. We expect there will be other products as well, so mark your calendar and plan to attend Saturdays now thru October 6th. Remember: shop local!!!