By Tia Lynn Ivey managing editor
The new Farmview Market, the brainchild of a public-private partnership between Morgan County and Kelly Products of Covington, is expected to open by the middle of next month. Work crews are finishing the final touches to the site, located just south of Madison on Eatonton Highway, before receiving a Certificate of Occupancy and officially opening for business. “We are so excited to be opening soon. We have a great management team in place, full of enthusiasm, and with a great deal of experience in grocery and food retail,” said Laura Rotroff, Marketing & Communications Manager for Kelly Products. “Once we get our certificate of occupancy, we will be able to get our team in for training and operations setup to open shortly after. Barring any unforeseen setbacks, we should be open to the public early to mid-Feb. The main retail facility, which will include the specialty grocery, butcher shop and café, will be open Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.” The open-air market will open at the beginning of April and will be open every Saturday until the end of November. This will be a separate structure from the main retail facility that will be connected by covered walkway. “Farmview Market fits into the agritourism business model that comprises a lot of Morgan County’s income. In the area of tourism, we anticipate a lot of people traveling here to visit for some of our unique offerings – the grist mill, butcher shop, the Saturday farmers market and other artisanal businesses and product offerings we will incorporate in the future. We hope to impact agriculture by local and young local farmers being able to re-establish farms that have been neglected or set aside in the past due to the commercialization of agriculture.” According to County leaders, The Farmview Market complex, which will house an all-year-round specialty grocery store, butcher shop, café and a seasonal farmers market, will enhance the area’s agribusiness while bringing in more tax revenue for the county. Morgan County has invested about $185,000 into the coming Farmview Market, which will be owned and operated by Kelly Products.
“Morgan County government’s direct return on our investment will be less than two years,” said County Manager Michael Lamar. Lamar reported that within the first year of Farmview Market’s opening, the estimated that during the first year alone, just over $200,000 in sales and property taxes, which doesn’t include utility revenue for the county’s sewer and city’s water, will be generated that will benefit Morgan County, which includes the school system, cities and Morgan County government…“We are still an agricultural-based community and probably will be for the foreseeable future and anything we can do to diversify the marketplace for our local farmers seems like a good idea,” said Lamar. According to Rotroff, Farmview Market will deliver the finest, and healthiest, local foods and products this part of the state has to offer, including: meats, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, coffee, vitamins, and artisan crafts. The site will also feature a farm-to-table style eatery. Each facet of the Farmers Market is designed to provide easy access to high quality locally-produced foods and crafts. “Our grocery items are a mix of local and unique health conscious options. Our emphasis is on minimal ingredient products that don’t contain artificial preservatives and sweeteners. Not only are our offerings straightforward and simple, but so are the ingredient lists. Our dairy section consists of specialty cheeses and farm fresh milk from local creameries and dairies. With our produce, we offer mostly seasonal fare with an emphasis on unique fresh market varieties as well as heirloom and open pollinated varieties.,” explained Rotroff.
“Our grocery store will have a grist mill where we will make corn meal and grits from heritage varieties of corn. We are currently growing two varieties that make excellent corn meal and grits. Later, we hope to grow heritage wheat, which we will make into flour. Our wellness section has a few select brands of vitamin and mineral supplements as well as homeopathic healing products. We believe that good health starts with the food you eat, but we also understand that with our busy lives we sometimes need a little help to get all of the vitamins and trace minerals our bodies need.” “Our butcher shop and meat market offers only the highest quality butchered goods. Along with traditional cuts, we offer various handmade sausages, smoked and cured goods, and pre-prepared delicacies that are sold ready to throw on the grill or in the oven,” said Rotroff. “We specialize in local and fair trade coffees. Jittery Joe’s and 1000 Faces are two examples of local options based out of Athens. Coffees will be available in whole bean form and an in store grinder will ensure optimal freshness.” While customers can consume healthy foods produced locally, they can also pick up artisan crafts while visiting Farmview Market. “We source unique, locally made artisan goods, including soaps and candles, hand-woven quilts and fair trade olive wood products among others,” said Rotroff. Rotroff is particularly excited for the café, which will highlight the stock of local farmers throughout the year. “Our café will serve breakfast and lunch, featuring a farm to table menu with offerings that change seasonally, and weekly rotating farmers plate specials; high quality ingredients, delicious and simple, southern meals, reasonably priced. For breakfast think menu items like homemade biscuits, pancakes and French toast and some lighter options. For lunch, salads and sandwiches and hot entrees,” said Rotroff. “We hope to reignite local farming for food production. We hope that cattlemen and other who raise sheep, rabbits and other proteins will participate in supplying product. Ultimately, we hope to be a partner in agritourism and enhance that economy,” said Rotroff.