Tech Gets Fresh: The Georgia Tech Farmers Market
Every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tech Walkway transforms into an authentic farmers market, lined with vendors and filled with students in search of fresh goods and produce.
Nearly all Tech students are familiar with the weekly market, but may not know as much about its origins and vendors.
In the fall of 2012, the Georgia Tech Farmers Market began as a way to connect students, faculty, and staff with local offerings from the community. Dining Services and the Student Center joined together with about 10 vendors to sell a few fresh and local treats. Since then, the market has grown by about one or two vendors a year and now features a group of 19.
The market was designed to allow students, faculty, and staff to stock up on sustainable and healthy food while providing them with a chance to interact with local farmers and support Georgia’s economy. The market helps incorporate the Tech community into the local food system.
A Moment with the Vendors
Vendors are selected through a structured process to ensure that the best products are featured in the market. They either come recommended to Dining Services or contact the department independently. Then, Dining Services staff meet with potential vendors to learn about their business and sample their products.
After being vetted, the vendor may be invited to join the market. The decision is based on several factors including the quality of the product and how it could be received by the campus community.
Based out of Lawrenceville, Georgia, Legacy Bakers is run by Ann and Fred Harri. The married couple has been baking together for about 40 years. Legacy Bakers’ specialties include biscotti, soft granola, and pound cakes. With more than 72 varieties of biscotti, there’s a flavor for anyone’s taste.
“We make our biscotti fresh every week and bring an assortment to the market,” said Fred Harri. “After about four or five weeks, we change varieties.” Flavors are both sweet and savory, with options such as chocolate espresso and lemon poppy seed.”
Aldo Ramos has been the master gardener of Sunshine Farms since 2008. The family-run farm is located in Monroe, Georgia, and strives to provide healthy and nutritious produce to the community.
“I grow a variety of crops throughout the year including heirloom tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli,” Ramos said. “Right now, tomatoes and green beans are popular. In the spring, broccoli and cauliflower will be in demand.”
Ramos encourages students to buy locally to avoid consuming foods that have been treated with pesticides.
“We’re certified organic and do not use any pesticides,” he said. “Organic produce at local supermarkets may have been treated with ‘organic’ pesticides.”
The Georgia Tech Urban Honeybee Project stand is run by students involved in the honeybee research project at Tech. Lena Chu and Hannah Greene, both third-year students, have been working the market since their freshman years.
“All of the honey comes from Honeybee Project bees. We have hives on the rooftop of Clough Commons along with three off-campus locations,” Greene said.
Proceeds generated at the Georgia Tech Farmer’s Market are used to support the project, which is designed to advance the understanding of how urbanization affects honeybees; provide innovative instruction and course design; and enrich the student experience.
JavaGenesis has been attending the Georgia Tech Farmer's Market since 2012. Tom and Juanice Christian left corporate jobs to open the roaster in Bethlehem, Georgia, with the goal of roasting each bean to bring out the best characteristics in the coffee.
“All of our coffee is fresh roasted and you can tell by its taste,” Juanice Christian said.
One of the most popular roasts at the Tech market is the Tanzanian blend. The Piedmont Blend is also a favorite – named in honor of nurses at Piedmont Hospital.
In addition to bagged coffee, cups of coffee can be purchased hot or iced and flavor additions are free of charge.
Bite Size Now is a catering company for events and private functions, but it also sells samosas, chicken curry, chicken tikka masala, and more at the Farmer’s Market. Marlene Baker runs her business out of Atlanta.
When asked about her favorite dish, Baker said, “They’re all my favorite. I wouldn’t sell students what I wouldn’t eat.”
Baker makes everything from scratch and sells fresh, hot food. She specializes in international dishes from India, Jamaica, and Latin countries. When you visit, stop by this booth early, as the tikka masala is known to sell out.
Why should you support the market?
“The market offers students the convenience of not having to leave campus to purchase fresh and local goods and has many products not found in an average grocery store,” said Trina Samuels, marketing coordinator for Dining Services.
When students purchase local products, it’s also a way to support Georgia Tech Dining Services’ sustainability initiative.
The market also offers healthy items or alternatives for students minding a specific diet, including gluten-free products, fresh produce, and an assortment of desserts that are paleo-friendly.
Other vendors this semester are: Ray’s Cuban Café, Tasteful Creations, One Screw Loose, Sunrise Kettle Corn, Sunshine Farm, That Special Touch, King of Pops, Pure Bliss, Mike’s Comfort Food, Bernes Frozen Yogurt, Mercier Orchards, Blue Moon Creamery, Gener8tions Bakery, Sparkles Cookies & Desserts, and Home Town Old Fashioned Hard Candy. Most of the vendors are based out of metro Atlanta.
The market returns Wednesday, February 8. Check the Facebook page for upcoming events.