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Oconee Farmers Market Taking Part in Small Business Saturday

Oconee Farmers Market will join with small businesses around the country to celebrate Small Business Saturday.

Oconee Farmers Market–in its final session of the year on Saturday–will join with small businesses around the country to celebrate Small Business Saturday.

“Each vendor is a small business,” Market Manager Cindy Norris Pritchard said. 

While the number of vendors–small businesses–that show up on Saturday isn’t possible to know for sure until the Market opens, 28 vendors set up booths last week as the Market celebrated Customer Appreciation Saturday.

Reta Thomas, an Oconee County resident and a Market regular, won a “basket” containing $429 worth of Market products. Each vendor contributed to the “basket,” which also included a recycling bin donated by the Keep Oconee County Beautiful Commission.

Each visitor to the Market who filled out a card was eligible to win. 

On Saturday, visitors will see promotional material for Go Local from the Oconee County Chamber of Commerce and for Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday was first celebrated in 2010 as a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which are dominated by big retail and e-commerce stores respectively. Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local.

“The tendency now is to want to support your local businesses,” Pritchard said. Visitors to the Market can support small, local businesses by purchasing “fruits and vegetables and farming products,” she added.

Pritchard said her own business, Seven Crows Farm, developed when she realized she was producing more food for her family than the family could consume. Her Market speciality is natural, log-grown shiitake mushrooms, but she also offers other products during the year, including jams.

Pritchard said her daughter Lexi, the Market’s youngest vendor at age 7, has learned great small business skills from her market experience, where she sells bird houses, squirrel feeders, cut flowers and lemonade. 

“She does her money management. She pays for her supplies,” Pritchard said. “She learns to deal with people and to deal with customers. And she is very sharp with the marketing, in how to promote what she has and in learning how to communicate with people.”

This is Lexi’s second season as a vendor, joining her mother on Saturdays from Market opening at 8 a.m. until its close at 1 p.m.

The Market began this year’s season on April 14, and Pritchard said Lexi does “appreciate that when the Market closes she gets her Saturday mornings back. She’ll have two mornings a week that she can sleep.”

Red Oak Southern String Band, a Watkinsville group, will play on Saturday.

Visitors to the Market will be able to buy T-shirts, newly printed in green with the Market logo.

Here are some of the other products that will be available on Saturday:

  • Winter greens and vegetables
  • Local wildflower sourwood honey
  • Honey products including honey butters
  • Lip balms and beeswax candles
  • 100% grass fed beef including ground beef
  • Pulled beef BBQ sliders
  • Jams, jellies and preserves
  • Fresh and dehydrated shiitake mushrooms
  • Boiled and fried peanuts
  • Beef jerky
  • Original and cinnamon kettlecorn
  • Herbs
  • Sea salts
  • Breads
  • Vegetable quiche
  • Vegetarian dog and cats treats in holiday bags
  • Peanut butter candy cane dog treats for stocking stuffers
  • Fat lighter bundles and packages
  • Christmas ornaments and other crafts
  • Shea butter
  • Handmade essential oil soaps
  • Hand crocheted baby blankets
  • Rag rugs
  • Natural compost
  • Parrot feathers for decorating
  • Mealworms for birds
  • Angora fibers
  • Free coffee and ice water

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