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Sims Pond Farms seeks approval to host market

Sims Pond Farms hopes to become the official home of the local farmer’s market, and soon there may be the paperwork to prove it.

On Tuesday, the Troup County Board of Commissioners considered a request for official approval to run a farmer’s market with hay rides and farm tours at Sims Pond Farms. The farm is currently licensed to sell meat from the animals raised on the farm, but the farm owner hopes to give local farmer’s market vendors a regular location to call home.

“It is for producers in the area, farmers, producers of handmade items as well as baked goods will be there,” property owner Daniel Sims said. “It’s a place for the community to come in and be with the community. I can sell meat there already. We have a permit from the state, and we grow it right there on the farm. We are doing all of this to help the community, not for our own benefit. There are no gate fees. There are no vendor fees, but we are limiting our vendors to anywhere from 14 to 16. We don’t want 500 people out there, but we would like to have 150 to 200, and we limit that with vendors.”

The application for the agricultural tourism permit lists the maximum number of vendors as 20. It also notes that no amplified music or outdoor lighting will be allowed at Sims’ request. The farmer’s market, hay rides and farm tours would be confined to Saturdays after 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sims has identified what the county considers adequate parking for the weekly event.

“As I understand it, this market is kind of what was at Hillside at one point,” County Commission Chairman Patrick Crews said. “That market is dissolved, and some of the vendors came out to your place (at Sims Pond Farms). That one had run for a couple of years over in the Hillside area.”

According to Senior Building Official Jay Anderson, the county received five to ten calls and visits from people in favor of the application, and the county staff recommended approval.

“It is a good atmosphere,” said Freita Browning, who sells jelly at the farmer’s market. “We feel like family out there. He has opened it up and done just everything he could to accommodate us, and we’ve done everything we could to help him with this feature, and it is good for the kids.”

Sims Pond Farm is located at 10 Bailey Road and is open 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Sundays. For more information about the farm, call (706) 885-2996 or visit Sims Pond Farms on Facebook.