Veggies in East Coweta: New market opens near Grace Church
By ALEX MCRAE
East Coweta residents who love to shop for fresh vegetables, fruits and handcrafted items can do it all a lot closer to home now that Our Community Farmers Market has opened at the corner of Highway 34 east and Ebenezer Church Road in the parking lot of Grace Baptist Church.
The market, which is open every Saturday from May-September from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and October-November from 9 a.m. to noon, is the only such market in unincorporated Coweta County. The market is the brainchild of Marianne and Matt Pizzitola, who own and operate Magnolia Manor Sweets, a gluten free/ custom allergen bakery.
It took several months to get the operation set up and organized and the Pizzitolas are working now with county officials to make sure the market complies with all regulations, but say customer response is strong and growing.
"People like having this out here," said Marianne. "It's been great."
In addition of offering one-of-a-kind crafted items and farm fresh produce, the market also serves the community by giving a portion of the proceeds to the food pantry at Grace Baptist.
"They have been wonderful to us," Marianne said. "We hope to have a long relationship with them."
To insure that only the highest quality products are sold at the market, all vendors pass quality inspections and all prepared food items must be produced in a kitchen facility licensed and certified by the Georgia Department of Agriculture.
Farmers wishing to sell items at the market are told they must meet the following qualifications:
• All produce must be grown on your farm.
• We encourage organic, natural and eco friendly farming practices.
• No re-selling. All produce must be grown/produced by the selling farmer.
• No single item vendors without board approval.
• All produce must be clearly marked and priced.
Prepared food vendors' products must meet the following qualifications:
• Must be prepared in a Georgia certified Department of Agriculture Kitchen and businesses must be licensed.
• May not use the following: products or ingredients that contain: hydrogenated oils, artificial dyes or preservatives.
• Are asked to source products grown locally, in the following order:
• From within the market•
• From local farms within Georgia
• Within the Southeast region
• Within the continental U.S.
• If a product requires use of ingredients outside the continental U.S., vendors must get approval of market management. Use of internationally sourced spices, salts, olive oil, vanilla and coffee is permitted.
Artists must make the products they sell. Sustainable and eco-friendly practices are encouraged.
"What we want are things that are hand-made, home-grown and local, " said Marianne. "We think that's what customers want, too."