It's 8 a.m. on Saturday morning, and I'm more excited than a kid on Christmas. It's the first day of the Athens Farmers Market season, and I can't wait to stock up on all the best local products Athens has to offer. I grab my canvas shopping bags and head to Bishop Park, where over 55 vendors have already set up their wares.
Upon arriving, my caffeine-addicted brain immediately spots the 1000 Faces Coffee stand, and I wait eagerly for my perfect cup of Finca Idealista. Hot coffee is generally my go-to, but they also have iced coffee for those warmer summer mornings.
My next move is over to Holy Crepe for my favorite breakfast staple: a sweet nutella and banana crêpe. You can tell that Grici is from the northwest of France, a region renowned for the best crêpes in the country, because his sweet and savory crêpes are seriously delicious. The only thing sweeter than their crêpes is the love story behind the food truck. Grici met his Athenian wife while she was studying abroad in Paris, and subsequently moved to Athens with her. They have set out to bring French recipes and American ingredients together and share their love of food with the Athens community.
By this time, the music of Larry Forte has filled the market pavilion, and I take a seat near the stage while I enjoy my breakfast.
Now it's time to do some serious shopping. I head over to my favorite vendor Tagyerit Farms for local pork products. I love visiting this booth because owner Michael Shoptaw always greets me with a warm smile and a big jar of leaf lard. Leaf lard is the highest grade of lard, and it is perfect for baking because it is flavorless and creamy. This is not the same hydrogenated lard you can buy in blocks at the grocery store. All of Michael's products are from pasture raised animals on untreated land, and it gives me comfort to know that his pigs enjoy a good life.
I then head over to Gary and Susan Shaw from Hickory Hill Farm for radishes, lettuce, kale, and strawberries. After that, I browse around the market for a few more pantry staples: handmade pasta from Antonio's, carrots, grits, Golda Kombucha, goat cheese, and eggs.
Best of all, the Athens Farmers Market isn't just for food. There are dozens of local artist and craft vendors with a variety of gifts, candles, paintings, and other creations.
Wandering around the market is a magical way to spend your Saturday morning. Not only will you rack up on all the best local stuff Athens has to offer, you will be invigorated by our sense of community. Be sure to check out the Athens Farmers Market every Saturday at Bishop Park and every Wednesday at Creature Comforts Brewing Co. in downtown Athens.
If Saturday mornings and Wednesday afternoons don't fit within your schedule, never fear. Local Athens products are available every day of the week -- check out our local page for ideas.