Tuesday, June 1, 2010

1 June 1923: Athens Has Always Loved the Farmer's Market

On this day in 1923, the Athens Banner-Herald reported that "Bright skies Friday indicated a large crowd at the Curb Market Saturday morning."

Potatoes, cherries, peaches, and beans were starting to "come in," and the paper reported that "the number of chickens brought to the market is increasing each day." The previous Tuesday, 65 chickens were brought from Oconee County, "where the farmers have organized a Co-operative Poultry Association."

Also available at the Broad Street market on Saturday would be turnips, turnip salad, potatoes, onions, English peas, hams, eggs, butter, "and other produce ...at reasonable prices." According to the paper, "The cabbage crop this year around Athens is fine and the vegetable brought to the Curb Market is very attractive."

The article also reported
Strawberries have about disappeared although two or three producers continue to bring them in and experience no trouble in disposing of them. Many Athens women want to preserve strawberries and buy several gallons each week for that purpose.

It is interesting to note the change in the condition of the products brought to Athens since the establishment of the Curb Market. Formerly most of the food crops brought to Athens were not selected and neatly packed and therefore could not command a good price.

Since the Curb Market began operation many farmers have learned from their neighbors who brought graded produce that they always sell out before those who did not pay much attention to the condition of the articles offered for sale. One man declared a few days ago the Curb Market has proved in a short while what the Agricultural College has been "preaching for fifteen years"--the necessity of grading products and packaging them neatly.

Prices for items at the market were given on the paper's "market page," which also included prices for items at stores such as Piggly Wiggly ("Fancy Groceries at Lowest Prices" included a quart of snap beans for 4 1/2 cents), The Wier Grocery Company (a 5-pound cloth bag of sugar cost 55 cents), King-Hodgson Company (1/2-pound can of Hersey's cocoa for 20 cents), and Combination Store Produce Department (Georgia string beans for 25 cents per gallon).

Market prices for Saturday, June 2nd, 1923 were:
Bean, string, 35 cents gallon.
Beets, 5 and 10 cents a bunch.
Strawberries, 15 cents a quart.
Dewberries, 15 cents a quart.
Butter, 30 and 40 cents a pound.
Cabbage, 5 and 10 cents a head.
Cake, home made, price according to size and variety.
Carrots, 5 and 10 cents a bunch.
Chickens, friers, 35 cents a pound.
Hens, 20 cents a pound.
Roosters, 12 cents a pound.
Eggs, 25 cents a dozen.
Eggs, selected, 30 cents a dozen.
Ham, home cured, 25 cents a pound.
Kale, 10 cents a peck.
Lard, home made, 20 cents a pound.
Lettuce, 5 and 10 cents a head.
Meal, corn, 2 1/2 cents a pound.
Onions, 5 and 10 cents a bunch.
Parsley, 5 cents a bunch.
Peaches, 35 cents a basket.
Peas, English, 20 cents a gallon.
Peas, field, 4 cents a pound.
Potatoes, Irish, 5 cents a pound.
Potatoes, Sweet, 25 cents a peck.
Sorghum Syrup, 50 cents a gallon.
Spinach, 10 cents a pound.
Turnips, 5 and 10 cents a bunch.
Turnip Greens, 15 cents a peck.
Squabs, 30 cents a piece.
Pure Bred Eggs, $1.00 a setting, orders taken.
Cherries, 25 cents a quart.

Today, Athenians can buy from local farms and other businesses from by attending the Athens Farmer's Market on Tuesdays downtown and Saturdays at Bishop Park. They run from May to November, and accept EBT payments. Year-round, Athens Locally Grown provides a weekly pickup of previously ordered items at Ben's Bikes next to the Reese Street Historic District. Though separate organizations, many area farmers participate in both markets, and both advocate the health and economic benefits of buying and eating local products.

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