10 Atlanta Chefs Dish on Their Farmer's Market Favorites

By Christopher Hassiotis  |  April 21, 2014
Credit: Flickr / burnaway

With spring now fully upon us, Atlanta's farmer's market scene has sprouted as well. Or, let's be honest: scenes, plural. Because one of the great things about living in the South is the terrific variety of growing seasons and options for vegetables, and the terrific variety of people who grow them. Whether you're swinging by the EAV Farmers Market for a midweek haul, the long-running Sunday market in Grant Park or the just-launched-this-year Freedom Farmers Market at the Carter Center, there's goodness to be found. Local chefs have long been supporters of the local food movement - it keeps prices down, quality up and communities strong. Here, some of our ATL culinary stars share some of their secrets.

  • Steven Satterfield, Miller Union

    "There are several in-town farmer's markets in Atlanta, and all of them are fantastic, but one of my favorite days of the year is the opening day of the East Atlanta market. This reawakening of the market is teeming with energy, and all of the locals come out to shop. The first of the spring vegetables appear, such as green garlic, spring onions, baby carrots and beets and radishes, young kale, farm eggs, cheeses, breads. I like to react to what is available, without a shopping list, and then figure out what I'm going to make when I get into the kitchen."

  • Shaun Doty and Lance Gummere, Bantam + Biddy

    Shaun Doty: "I really enjoy visiting with my friends Charlotte and Wes from Riverview Farms. I see them Saturdays at the Morningside Farmers Market. Just last week I purchased their grits, pork trotters, a whole pork shoulder and spicy summer sausage for a catering job I did in Augusta for the Masters!"

    Lance Gummere: "A lot of the meat and vegetables my family uses come from Carlton Farms. They send out an e-blast of their weekly offerings and then tell you where and when the truck will be parked. In East Atlanta Village, they park in the alley behind Tortillas restaurant every Friday at 10 AM."

  • Credit: Isadora Pennington

    Joey Masi, Bar Meatball

    "I love going to the East Atlanta Village Farmers Market on Thursdays right in the heart of East Atlanta Village. It's within walking distance of my house, which is awesome. This week I purchased some beautiful mixed lettuces from Scharko Farms out of Fairburn. We used it in our mixed-green salad with housemade red-wine vinaigrette. The greens were tender and buttery yet nice and crisp. Delicious! From week to week, I love not knowing what will catch my eye."

  • Nick Alicea, BLT Steak Atlanta

    "I usually start my Saturday off at the Your DeKalb Farmers Market. I grab some locally grown vegetables that we use in our chopped salad and some fresh mahi mahi or monkfish for a nice weekend blackboard special. They are always on point with their freshness and variety."

  • Jarrett Stieber, The General Muir, Eat Me Speak Me

    "I not only love shopping at farmer's markets, I find it imperative. There is no better way to stimulate creativity and excitement than letting the ingredients available at that time dictate your menu planning, and no better way to make tasty food than to cook things that are as close as possible to the soil they grew in. It's far more satisfying to become genuine friends with passionate farmers you source from than to order inferior product from an apathetic purveyor. I used some stunning scarlet turnips and baby fennel from Woodland Gardens to do a dish of honey-butter poached scarlet turnip and baby fennel, with Anson Mills farro purée, crispy farro and miner's lettuce with some yogurt that my dad made."

  • Eli Kirshtein, The Luminary

    "One of my favorite stalls at all of the local farmer's markets has to be Simply Seoul. Kimchi has long been a staple in my household and the stuff Hannah makes is top-notch. Not only is it super delicious, but it's also vegetarian and all-natural, and uses local produce. I use it in everything from making soups and rice dishes fancy to a tableside condiment and a garnish for a cheese plate. Must-have in your fridge."

  • Tyler Williams, Woodfire Grill

    "I love to go to the Peachtree Road Farmers Market on Saturday mornings. I look for tender herbs, shoots or tiny vegetables that I can add to dishes that night. Saturday nights are especially beautiful. I will buy anything that gets me excited and don’t worry about food cost at the markets because I know the money is going where I want it to - our local farmers' pockets."

  • Adrian Villareal, The Spence

    "I most often visit the Peachtree Road Farmers Market, not only to pick up produce, but to also establish relationships with the farmers. I like talking to Green Ola Farms and Burge Farms because they keep me current on how things are going on the farm front. Burge always has great baby root vegetables like carrots, radish and turnips that we use on The Spence’s spring salad, and Greenola grows peppers that we often roast whole to garnish fish or serve as an appetizer."

  • Martin Pfefferkorn, Sway, Polaris, Twenty-Two Storys (Hyatt Regency Atlanta)

    "I like neighborhood markets like the Grant Park Farmers Market in one of Atlanta's most historic neighborhoods. You can find some truly innovative, grassroots food items at smaller markets. That's where I became acquainted with The Spotted Trotter, a local Atlanta charcuterie that makes amazing salami, crepinettes, pâté, fresh sausages and other delicious, high-quality produce. We were so impressed, we included a number of their products on the menu for the new Polaris, the famous rotating restaurant on top of our hotel, which we'll be reopening this spring."