Athens Farmers Market Extends Hours

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Forget about "Throwback Thursday."

The Athens Farmers Market is looking to the future with new evening hours starting this week.

Farmers Market manager Kip Parker said the added hours are due to customer request.

"Since we had a change in our time this year from 10-1 to 9-12, some people can't get here," Parker said. "Also, we thought an evening drive time would be handy for people."

Shoppers searching for fresh meat and produce can stop by from 4-7 p.m.

Parker said 19 vendors came out for the first day.

"If it goes well, more will come out. If it doesn't, it's a chicken and an egg kind of thing. As with all Farmers Markets, when a new market starts, it's always 'If we had more customers we would have more vendors. If we had more vendors, we would have more customers.' It's just a process of letting people know that it's here. It takes time."

The Saturday morning market has been in operation for 43 years and usually yields between 60 and 65 vendors.

Parker said it might take a few years for the evening hours to become popular.

Over $2 million go through the market each year.

"All that money stays local," Parker said. "It's not money that has to be shipped to California where the food was grown. Local people get fresher food, better quality food because it hasn't been sitting in a truck for a long period of time. A lot of people really like knowing their farmer and where their food comes from. They develop specific relationships with the growers. I think it works out for everybody."

The Farmers Market will continue its Saturday morning hours from 9 a.m. – noon.