Come Saturday morning, plan to end your run around historic Savannah at Forsyth Park for the city’s largest farmer’s market.Forsyth Farmer’s Market is reminiscent of this historic town’s past, where traders would meet to sell goods. Now the city has tapped into the local food movement, and each Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm visitors can take their pick of dozens of vendors selling fresh produce, artisan goods, pastured meats, and beverages.
Since the market’s inception in 2009, it has grown from eight vendors and a few hundred shoppers to more than 30 vendors and several thousand shoppers per week.
“We are the sole food-only, producer-only market nestled in ‘Savannah's Living Room,’ the 30-acre, live oak-lined Forsyth Park,” says Teri Schell, executive director of the market. “Our mission is to support small-scale family farmers and work on food access issues in Savannah.”
Forsyth Farmer’s Market takes its local focus seriously. In addition to selling solely whole foods and plants, 75 percent of the products sold by vendors must be produced on their farm. No outsourcing here, as most vendors are from small, local growers; priority goes to organic growers.
Visually appealing booths from local farms feature the South’s crop staples: towers of tomatoes, mounds of peaches, bunches of lettuces, and pyramids of sweet potatoes, to name a few. Many were picked the day before the market, allowing optimal freshness so you can enjoy them much longer than your traditional grocery store goods. Canewater Farm was originally a sugar cane plantation and distillery, although now the certified organic farm’s 20 acres supply the market with power greens such as kale, collard greens, arugula, and broccoli. Adam’s Farm , a small scale garden and greenhouse, sells a rainbow of offerings, from bright green hydroponic lettuce to sun-gold colored tomatoes.
The market also sells pastured meats.Charis Farms’ pastured poultry model ensures the most sustainably raised chickens and turkeys, some of which are rare-heritage breeds. The same is true forHunter Cattle, whose pork is pasture-raised and beef is free range.
For snacks,Verdant Kitchen sells spicy ginger snaps, chews, and ginger beers (non-alcoholic) made from Savannah-grown, USDA organic ginger.Chocolate by Adam Turoni features confections that are so artistically created, you’ll feel guilty ruining the design when you take a bite. And get on the local honey wagon to reap the cold-fighting, allergy-taming benefits. Avondale Apiary is the market’s only registered organic apiary, which means your honey is as good as it gets.
“There is no better place to see a community at its best than at the Forsyth Farmers' Market,” frequent shopper Leigh Thomson says. “Smiles, friendly words of wisdom, and great food make this city a better and tastier place to be.”
Never been to the market? Stop by the market table when you arrive for $5 in tokens to spend on goods, available for first-timers.