Summer Farmers’ Markets: A Family Affair

Foodie Friday

Aug 5, 2011 by

Behind the card table sits Miss Betty. Standing proudly next to her are two young boys with their buzz cuts summer short.  “No dear,” she patiently and proudly  explains  to me when I asked if the boys were her grandsons. “They are my great grandsons.”

Jars upon jars of fresh jams and preserves, from her own fruit trees and bushes, stand before her. They are preciously lined up like little toy soldiers.  Next to the rows of figs, peaches, blueberries and pears are more mason jars. These are  filled with a variety of interesting pickles made from veggies fresh from  Miss Betty’s garden .. tomatoes infused with cinnamon, spicy cucumbers and of course, southern choux choux (mixed veggies). Which to choose is my dilemma.

A few weeks ago I was driving by a church, not far from my neighborhood, when the sign “Farmer’s Market” caught my attention. There in the parking lot was a line of card tables. People were selling produce, cookies, crafts and more. In all honesty, it appeared a little odd and a bit out of place.  I was curious to explore.

I had found a hidden gem and stumbled on a concept that is taking hold across the nation in urban and suburban settings. It seems that Miss Betty is one of a small but growing group of foodie and craft merchants that are setting up shop on weekends to sell their wares. You can find them in parking lots and sometimes in parks. It is a flash back to village markets you can find all over the world.

However, these local markets are usually held only in the summer months. I loved that it is often a multi-generational undertaking. Many of the “tables” were husband and wife teams; the cookie lady’s cute daughter was helping her. Each table has its own unique story to tell. For me, that’s a big part of the fun and the unique experience.

Back to Miss Betty. I settled on her rich, sweet and earthy fig preserves. I used some to make a marinate for chicken. It would also work nicely as a dip for veggies. Oh so yummy!

I don’t have exact measurements since  everything was to taste .. so instead of a recipe let’s call this one a flavor profile. Might give you an idea or two.

Fig Marinate


Fig preserves

Balsamic vinegar

Soy sauce

Olive oil


Finely chopped hot pepper (heat to tastes!)

Fresh rosemary

Fresh basil

Fresh mint

Fresh scallions

Salt and pepper

Turn a corner in your own neighborhood and you could find a surprise or two. Let me know what hidden gem you discover.

About the Author

Toby Bloomberg Has Written 30 Articles For Us!

Toby is Founder/President of Atlanta-based strategy and social media consultancy, Bloomberg Marketing/Diva Marketing and acknowledged by Forbes as one of the country’s most foremost bloggers. She is a widely recognized for her expertise in combining social media with traditional marketing values (strategy, customer insights, segmentation, etc.) while maintaining the authenticity of digital conversations. Toby recently wrote the first business book based on (40) Twitter interviews with marketing pros. Social Media Marketing GPS has been downloaded over 10,000 times by people all the world.
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  1. Thank you Toby for the great article on Farmers’ Market. Thank you for mentioning our gourmet bakery Love Flavors under the “cookie lady”. At present, we offer 3 different flavors of cookies: lemon, orange-cranberry, original (a spice cookie).
    Hope to see you at the market soon! Thanks again!

  2. Rebecca

    Hi Toby,
    Love the ‘flavor profile.’ I went to a similar market on Grand Isle, Vermont with the friends I visited. Same multi-generational contingent and people in the community meeting and greeting. A family of Bosnians were selling hot Moussaka, stuffed cabbage and other homey ethnic food. Food certainly bonds us!

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