The Oconee Farmers Market in Watkinsville
The best eggs can be found at the Oconee Farmers Market, but you must get there early to buy them. Several market vendors sell eggs, but the eggs from The Pastures of Rose Creek are different. Their free-range chickens roost in the Egg Mobile, a mobile chicken coop that is moved daily to make sure the chickens have plenty to eat in the pasture. This is truly free range. The eggs are about twice the price of grocery store eggs, but if you want the freshest and best tasting eggs, it’s worth the extra cost.
Location and hours
The Oconee Farmers Market is located in the courthouse parking lot in downtown Watkinsville. It has been open from April-November every year since 2004. The market is open from 8-1 on Saturday and in 2012, the Tuesday evening market was started. Their purpose is to provide a place for local farmers and producers to sell direct to the consumer. A wide variety of vegetables, baked goods, cheese, honey, soaps and meats can be found at the market. Other items available include painted gourds, jewelry, scarves and blankets. The vendors must be the original producer of items being sold and be from within a 100 mile radius of Oconee County.
You never know what you might find on a visit to this market. A couple of weeks ago, we bought Shittake mushrooms. According to the owner of Seven Crows Farm, mushrooms usually grow in the spring and fall. These mushrooms popped out in August due to the unusually mild weather we were having at that time. Last summer, I was excited to find beautiful bouquets of sunflowers and am looking forward to the sweet potatoes being harvested in the next few weeks.
Last weekend, I spoke with several vendors to learn a little more about their businesses. The owner of Hallowed Hawk Farms said they are trying a new method with their lamb production this year. Instead of raising all the lambs in the spring, they raised 12 in the spring and will have 12 more in the fall. They grow them for 6 months, but could hold them a little longer to get a larger yield of meat. They believe the smaller lambs have better flavor.
According to the Rose Creek farm manager, eggs stay fresh longer if they are not washed. There is a protective coating that keeps them sealed and prevents bacteria from penetrating the shell. Rose Creek eggs are unwashed, the yolk is a little darker than eggs we’re used to seeing… and th
As more people want locally grown food, I believe more farmers will take advantage of this opportunity to sell their goods. Selling directly to the consumer allows farmers to sell at lower prices and still keep their revenues up. As the number of vendors increase, the variety of products sold will increase, making this an even better place to shop!