By Tia Lynn Ivey managing editor
The big day is here. After years of preparation, Farmview Market opens its doors on Wednesday, Feb. 17. All weeklong, Farmview Market staff has been busy putting the final touches on complex, which includes a specialty grocery store, a butcher’s shop and a Farm-To-Table Cafe. “We have been working hard to bring our vision to life, and we are excited to be able to share it with our friends, families and community,” said Richard Rotroff, general manager, Farmview Market.”Our focus is unique, high quality local products – the best Georgia has to offer. We have spent a lot of time curating a large and exciting collection of products.” According to Laura Rotroff, marketing manager, “Farmview Market products have been chosen with care, and guests will find a large selection of hyperlocal and Georgia Grown products throughout the grocery, butcher shop and café. The grocery houses a unique collection of Georgia’s best products from local, fresh ground coffee, to heirloom variety seeds and grains, to dairy products and fresh produce, to health and wellness products, artisan crafts and more. The butcher shop will feature fresh local proteins cut to order.
The café will feature a seasonal menu. For lunch, guests can expect garden fresh salads, sandwiches and weekly special entrees. The Farmview bakery will have fresh baked pies, cakes and pastries and well as ice cream made with all Georgia ingredients.” “Our goal with Farmview is to provide unique shopping, educational and agritourism experiences for families and guests,” said Keith Kelly, president and CEO, Kelly Products, Inc. Farmview Market is the result of a unique public-private partbership between Kelly Products and the Morgan County government. “With agriculture its leading industry, Morgan County has bandied about the farmers market idea for several years. However, the upfront capital and ongoing operating expenses associated with such an endeavor were too much to bear. When Kelly Products approached the county with their Farmview Market concept and offered to operate the market, it was too good an offer to refuse. Kelly Products decision to do so was based on Morgan County’s reputation for creative public-private collaborations,” said County Manager Michael Lamar.
According to Lamar, the Farmview Market will supply a host of benefits for the local community, including hundreds of thousands of agritourists spending money, not only at Farmview Market but also other Morgan County historical, agricultural, and heritage-based attractions and local businesses. Farmview Market will also serve as a community meeting place for residents and visitors. According to Lamar, the sales and tax revenue the county stands to gain will be significant. ”
At first glance this might seem like no big deal but since Kelly didn’t ask for any tax abatements, as many traditional new businesses do, the return on the county’s investment is projected to be less than two years,” said Lamar. According to Lamar, county residents will enjoy a great location to purchase locally grown, produced and/or raised meat, poultry, pork and dry goods, as well as a first-class locally grown/locally consumed, and reasonably priced restaurant. “It will only bolster our reputation as a leading agritourism destination in the Southeast,” said Lamar. The Kellys’ vision for Farmview Market perfectly complimented the county’s vision for the future, according to Lamar. “One of Morgan County’s overarching goals is to ensure agricultural pursuits remain economically viable and providing a new market outlet for local farmers is part of this vision. Furthermore, and more broadly, Morgan County wants to be known as the leading agritrousim destination in Georgia; and as such, partnering with Kelly Products on this one-of-a-kind agritourism site is really a chance for the County to put its money where its mouth is. In a few short years and for the first time in many decades Morgan County and the surrounding areas’ residents will be able to purchase their entire food needs from locally grown sources.
This is really a first since agriculture became the industrialized business it is today. There are many business opportunities that will also stem from this new but old food production model. Additionally, it opens a dialogue about our health and wellbeing as it relates to one of our most basic, but often neglected, needs – healthy and wholesome food.” The Kellys have high hopes for the longterm success of complex. “We anticipate farmers from Morgan County and numerous other counties in the northeast Georgia region benefitting from having this venue through which to sell their products.” Keith Kelly, president & CEO, Kelly Products, Inc. “The long-term plan is to transform the site from a primarily retail location to agritourism making it a destination for families outside our local community.” Brad Kelly, business development and farm operations manager, Kelly Products, Inc. “We are going to develop some onsite growing in the form of high tunnels and trial gardens as well as some small you-pick areas. This will allow us to supplement the store and restaurant with really fresh produce as well as provide educational opportunities for schools and the general public.” The Kellys are already thinking about services and products to add down the line. According to Rotroff, Farmview Market will have a “you-pick garden” starting in spring of 2017.
“We plan on adding artisan shops around the main facility. These would house trades like cheese making, wood working, metal working, etc. We would ideally like to create the spaces and lease them out to local artisans to promote their trade. They would be able to offer classes as well as sell their goods,” said Brad Kelly. “The neat thing about this development is that it should provide different levels of opportunity for different types of farms. Someone who grows a couple acres as a side to a full-time job or perhaps someone that is retired that wants bring in a little extra income might be able to participate in the farmers market. A farm that grows really premium vegetables and is currently selling to restaurants could sell to the café. Larger operations might be better suited selling to the grocery or participating in some of all three areas.” Farmview Market is located at 2610 Eatonton Highway in Madison. Market hours are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m.-7 p.m. The café will offer lunch service from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. For more information,visit: farmviewmarket.com.