Certified Farm Markets Always a Hit with Travelers

[Colbert, GA/John Holcomb – Reporting]
If you take a drive throughout Georgia, chances are you’ll come across a certified farm market. There are dozens of them in the state and
depending on where you’re at or what season it is, you can find all kinds of locally grown
food or things to do with the family. To make it more appealing and to get people
more excited about farm markets, the farm passport program was created. [Kelly Thompson, Certified Farm Market Coordinator,
GFB] I’m inspired by the farmers and the work that
they put into making a safe and healthy food supply for us, especially in Georgia there’s
all kinds of farmers and I want people to be able to see the work that goes into agriculture
and the diversity of it. [John]
Farmers are also excited about the program, as they think it will help bring people out
to their farms and help educate people about Georgia’s number one industry. [Russ Moon, Moon Farms Country Market]
It’s just more traffic. More promoting and I think a lot of people
that I’ve talked to is excited about traveling around and hitting all of the certified farm
markets and completing this passport. And it’s just going to give us another venue
to the farm and educating the public about all the farm markets in the area. [John]
But the reason for the program is more than just farm promotion. According to Thompson, she wanted the program
to be educational and also be a great family experience. [Kelly]
I’m really hoping people get excited with me about learning about agriculture and I
want people to have the fun experiences with their families of picking strawberries that
is ripe right now, but going all through the seasons throughout the year of seeing where
vegetables are grown what things look like, what certain foods look like before they’re
even picked because they don’t look the same in the grocery store. [John]
One great thing is that the program is statewide and yearlong, which allows people to get a
full year of Georgia agriculture in, which includes a chance to pick everything from
strawberries, to peaches, to apples, and so much more. [Kelly]
There are sixty-seven farms in the farm passport program this year and they are all across
the state, and so there are folks that are literally open two months out of the year
to do strawberries, and then we have yearlong operations where they start off with an early
fruit or vegetable and they continue through the summer and into the winter. Always having something that they’re growing. [John]
But just the chance to go out and pick fruits and vegetables isn’t all. Many of the farms have all kinds of other
activities to do for the whole family. [Kelly]
These farms are more than just food, because they want you to come and visit them, they’ve
made fun things for you to do while you come, so that can look like picking your own vegetables
or that could look like going on a farm tour or a field trip, or doing fun festivals throughout
the year. [John]
That’s not all though. One of the other neat things about the program
is that as you go visit farms you get rewarded for it. [Kelly]
As you’re going through and you’re getting your passport stamped, you’ll physically go
to a farm and they have stamps for you to show that you’ve been there, and then once
you do that, at the end of the year in January, you will mail your passport back to me and
I will return your passport along with your prizes back to you. [John]
Reporting in Colbert for the Farm Monitor, I’m John Holcomb.

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