By Nick Nunn Staff Writer
During the Nov. 19 work session of the Morgan County Board of Commissioners (BOC), Union County Commissioner Lamar Paris gave a presentation to the commissioners concerning the development of Union County’s farmer’s market.
Paris stated that he began to work on the idea of having a farmer’s market in Union County in 2005, but that it took two years before they were able to arrange a farmer’s market in the parking lot of the Union County court house, which was able to hold 10 to 25 vendors.
After using the court house’s parking lot for four years, the county decided to create a SPLOST referendum for the purpose of purchasing land and erecting a farmer’s market.
Union County was able to purchase an eight-acre parcel of land and had a substantial building engineered for the farmer’s market.
The market began operating in 2010, and Paris estimates that somewhere between 2,000 and 4,000 come through the farmer’s market each Saturday that it is open.
Paris said that the farmer’s market has become the “social venue for the county,” with approximately 60 vendors each week set up in the building and an additional dozen or so tents set up nearby.
Paris said that there is typically a “constant turnover of cars” during the market’s open hours, which typically last from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays.
Although the market brings in approximately $14,000 per year in rentals, Paris said that the goal of the project was not to make money for the county.
Paris stated that Union County has expanded the farmer’s market to include a cannery and intends to purchase more property so that a third building can be constructed for the market. Because of the investments Union County has been able to devote to the farmer’s market,
Paris said that it is a “first-class, nice facility” which creates an “unbelievable draw” from the surrounding counties.
• During a special called meeting of the BOC immediately following the work session, the commissioners unanimously approved of the selection of Lee Nunn as a representative on the county’s Farm Service Agency committee.