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Farmers market hitting its peak
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Costumers browse the FraLi Gourmet booth at the farmers market July 24. - photo by Photo by Samantha Koss

The Hinesville Downtown Farmers Market, which offers fresh food and products from 4-7 p.m. Thursdays through November, is now at the peak of its season.
Every week, farmers travel from surrounding counties to sell their fresh products and provide healthy ingredients for preparing home-cooked meals.
Lisa Waye, program assistant for the Hinesville Downtown Development Authority, said July-August is the peak of the season.
“We have a lot of great foods out there right now,” she said. “Peaches, watermelon and corn are all in season. … It’s a good time right now.”
Depending on the season, certain foods may not be available at the market. This will affect how much or what the farmers can bring to Hinesville on Thursdays.
“Sometimes, if farmers don’t have enough to bring, they will pull back for a couple of Thursdays,” Waye said. “So, sometimes there is less produce than usual … but we are in peak season right now.”
This is the fifth year the market has been offering locally grown and organic foods in Hinesville.
“We are supporting our local community, local farmers and local businesses,” Waye said. “The market benefits everyone.”
The HDDA coordinates with surrounding counties to allow for a market to be held most days of the week. Hinesville is on Thursdays, while Statesboro holds one Saturdays and Richmond Hill on Tuesdays.
“There is talk about starting a farmers market in Jesup on Fridays as well,” Waye added. “This gives farmers a better chance to sell their products without competing markets.”
On the second Thursday of every month, the farmers market also provides entertainment and educational booths.
“The market has a lot to offer,” Waye said. “It supports the local economy, and I think that’s the best way to go.”
Lisa Marra, the owner of FraLi gourmet, participates in the Hinesville market as a vendor to build more awareness on eating naturally and locally. She sells oils, dried pastas, breads, vegetables in oil, sauces and a few dairy products.
Marra has been successful at branding her company through the market as well.
“I’ve built quite the demand in just four years,” she said. “We have gotten our product into Whole Foods, some Krogers, Walgreens and small gourmet shops.”
Marra began the company over 20 years ago as a part-time job while living in Italy, where she met her husband. She now lives in Savannah and turned the company into a full-time business four years ago after losing a job.
Marra also was diagnosed with breast cancer around the same time.
“I refused chemo and radiation and decided to heal myself naturally,” she said. “I’m healthy now.”
Marra said her family participates in seven farmers markets in the area because they support and want to promote natural foods and healthy eating.
“We are famous for our pastas,” she said. “They are dried naturally, not chemically or flashed dried.”
Drying pasta naturally lowers the glycemic index, making the pasta healthier for diabetics, Marra said.
“Cooking foods at home, buying locally grown and eating foods full with nutrients is the best way to resist disease and live a healthy lifestyle,” she added.
In addition to locally grown foods, the farmers market offers arts and crafts. The market’s first crafts vendor, David Myers, sells a variety of specialty woodworkings at the market and by special order.
“I’m a builder,” Myers said. “It’s a great hobby, and now I get to make it my job.”
Myers retired from the post office and started working on his woodwork full time five years ago. He carves small trains, furniture, boats and other designs.
“I enjoy the farmers market a lot,” he said. “This market is like a family; everyone is pretty close, and we help each other out.”

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