Today we welcome Lauren Carey as our FACE of Atlanta. Lauren is the Market Manager of the Peachtree Road Farmers Market, but she should really be called their jack of all trades! As their single employee (supported by a host of volunteers), she is responsible for the market running smoothly throughout the season. Welcome, Lauren!
Where did you grow up and what brought you to Atlanta?
I grew up in the Chicago area and lived in Ohio, Washington, D.C., and Western Massachusetts. We moved to Atlanta to be closer to family.
Tell us a little bit about your job as the Market Manager for the Peachtree Road Farmers Market.
What I love most about my job are the people–the farmers, chefs, business owners, shoppers, volunteers. My job is always changing and that makes it fun and keeps me on my toes. Having been here for four years, it is wonderful to see the kids who have grown up here. Children who have special Saturday market friends–the community feel means so much to our identity as a market.
The Market is the largest producer-only farmers market in the state. Can you explain a little bit about what that means?
Producer-only means everything is made, raised or grown by the seller. We take great pride in being producer-only and our customers trust in us.
With the Market entering its seventh season, what do you think are the biggest reasons for its success?
The PRFM Volunteer team is amazing–they are the secret to our success. We have 40 amazing, talented people who give so much of themselves and their talents. They inspire and amaze me every week–I call them my Saturday family.
What are some of the obstacles that you face on any given Saturday at the Market?
You never know what kind of challenges each Saturday will bring. Farmers wiped out by floods, bad weather, dogs off leash eating bacon samples, demo chefs who forget their pots, there are always surprises. Somedays the market feels like a three ring circus of logistics. I’m never bored.
If you weren’t the Executive Director for Peachtree Rd Farmers Market, what would you dream of doing?
Honestly, this is the best job I’ve ever had. I really love what I get to do and it is hard to imagine a more perfect fit.
What do you love about Atlanta?
The food! Atlanta is a very interconnected city and it is always changing and growing, while maintaining its identity. I love the feel of a big city but always seeing someone you know.
What are some local businesses around town that you love to support?
We love good food and locally made things, so we tend to support the restaurants that appear on our chef demo list, since I know they are buying delicious fresh food. Some of my favorites are JCT Kitchen, Miller Union, Empire State South, Little Tart Bakeshop and The National (in Athens).
What is your favorite way to begin your day?
I love to start my day with a smoothie. I prefer the whirl of a blender to a coffee maker. We pick lots of fresh fruits in the summer and freeze them, so even in January I’m enjoying local strawberries, blueberries and peaches.
What is the greatest piece of advice that you have ever been given?
To get something you have never had, you’ll have to do something you’ve never done before.
What is a luxury or a treat that you allow yourself?
A chocolate milkshake.
What can be found on your bedside table?
Right now, daffodils. Aways seasonal flowers.
What book are you reading right now?
Honestly, all I’m reading these days seem to be my email. Being the sole employee means a whole lot of email, but when I read for fun I enjoy a good novel or a cookbook.
Besides the market opening, what are you most looking forward to in the coming spring months?
Spring is my favorite season–new baby animals, blooming trees and the seedlings in my garden!
What are three things you can’t live without (besides God, Family and Friends)?
My doggies, great food and the ocean.
Thanks, Lauren! The Peachtree Road Farmers Market is now open! www.peachtreeroadfarmersmarket.com