Ponce City Market The Shed

Ponce City Farmer’s Market Kicks Off

Ponce City Market’s new Farmer’s Market launched this past Tuesday in typical PCM fashion. I’m talking about the boutique, niche, yet somehow “gotta have it” qualities of basically everything Ponce City has to offer. Of course, the market is also adjacent to the Beltline, so you’re going to get the expected joggers, fitness enthusiasts, and family crowds strolling by. These two worlds coming together create a small ecosystem under the Shed, which is unlike any Farmer’s Market I’ve seen to date.

The Ponce City Farmer’s Market is held in the Shed, between PCM and the Beltline. Getting to the Shed can be a bit of a hassle for people who don’t already know what it Shed is. I also imagine there’s a wealth of people that have been to the Beltline, have been to PCM, and have physically BEEN IN the Shed, and yet still have no damn clue what the Shed is. The Shed is as pictured below – the stainless steel awning structure outside the walkway that runs between the Beltine and PCM’s 2nd floor. In my opinion, it’s more Beltline than PCM, so I would suggest anyone going there to take the scenic route along the Beltline.

Ponce City Market The Shed
The Shed at Ponce City Market can be tough to find if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

I took advantage of a parking promotion from Mountain High Outfitters, and then took some shortcuts through two parking decks to emerge into daylight right outside the Shed. It’s a route I didn’t mind…but wouldn’t recommend. You could also take the scenic PCM path, going up to the 2nd floor and then along the walkway to the Beltline.

In terms of atmosphere, this Farmer’s Market has a very similar feel as the rest of Ponce City Market. Compared to your typical Piedmont Park Green Market or Freedom Farmer’s Market where you would come to do your week’s grocery shopping – and maybe peruse some artisanal goods – the PCM Farmer’s Market is more of a boutique destination. This is no different from the rest of Ponce City Market; with its H&F Burger stand, Cookie Dough bar, and numerous high fashion shops, PCM prides itself on its boutique image. This blends nicely with the Beltline’s atmosphere as there is a yoga class adjacent to the market and runners passing by throughout the market’s peak hours.

The Whole Dog Market
Dog treats galore at the whole dog market! I got my pup some beef chewies.

The vendors at the PCM Farmer’s Market include some you’ll see at other markets around town, such as Proof Bake Shop, Levity Farms, and Formaggio Cheeses, as well as some new faces including The Whole Dog Market, So Good Pasta, Golda Kombucha, and King of Pops. In addition to great vendors, the market had a small petting zoo (goats!) from The Living Gift Market, a Chef Sampler, and a children’s play area. The Chef Sampler was particularly interesting, with a delicious grilled cheese sampler on the menu comprised of ingredients from various vendors at the market that day, like cheese from Formaggio and Levity kale!

Although these are all great vendors we’ve come to love, I did notice some food groups missing from what I would expect at a complete market, such as meats and deeper selections of fruits and vegetables. So my assessment is this: this is not the Farmer’s Market for your day-to-day grocery shopping. This is, again, in line with my assessment for the rest of PCM; it’s an ideal location to enjoy a night out, eat some great food, and indulge in some high-style shopping but I would not consider it a reasonable daily shopping destination for the average Atlanta resident.

Ponce City Market Opening Day
Eating Local at Ponce City Farmer’s Market!

The prices at the PCM Farmer’s Market were more reasonable than most of PCM, but its selection was too small to be a complete grocery solution. My hope is that as the Farmer’s Market goes on, it will gain more popularity and attract a variety of vendors. In its current form, I would highly recommend the Ponce City Farmer’s Market to anyone in the area, strolling the Beltline, or exploring Ponce City Market that wants to try something new and different. I would also recommend it as a trip for anyone living in nearby apartments who may want a change-up from their usual grocery chains.

Personally, I enjoyed my trip! It was a nice after-work stop to relax and explore, and I picked up some great food. For myself, I purchased some pasta from So Good Pasta, an up-and-coming local pasta company. For my pup, I picked up some beef treats from The Whole Dog Market. We both ate well!

So Good Pasta Ravioli
Dinner was a delicious Four Cheese Ravioli from So Good Pasta, complete with cooking instructions!

So come check out the Ponce City Market Farmer’s Market, enjoy the views, and get some great food. We don’t recommend it as your one-stop-shop grocery destination, but if you’re already in that boutique PCM mindset, you’re in for a treat. Vendors take card and cash, and double EBT if you’re on SNAP.

We hope to see you there!

Master smith Mark J. Hopper

Unleash your Inner Blacksmith

If you are looking for an unconventional way to spend an evening, treat yourself—and perhaps a friend—to one of the blacksmithing or knifesmithing classes offered by Goat n Hammer. Housed in the sprawl of buildings and open spaces in West Midtown known as The Goat Farm, this one-of-a-kind forge offers a variety of classes for novices and experienced smiths alike. Your humble writer has attended two such workshops, one devoted to turning a railroad spike into a sharpened blade and the other a class wherein you create a knife out of more conventional bar stock. Reader, I enjoyed them.

Goat n Hammer, for all your anger manag…uhm, smithing needs!

First things first: you do NOT have to possess any previous knowledge about—or aptitude with—metals or forging or knives. I am as white collar as it gets but I had a blast. The classes are not cheap, however; entry-level workshops start at $125 per person but even at this price you are getting a good deal. The cost includes all the necessary tools and supplies (of course you get to take your creation home) and most workshops last around 5 hours. It is all very hands-on and physical. Be warned: you WILL go home dirty so wear appropriate attire.

Metal and wood and grease!

Classes usually consist of 10 students, with two main instructors and an assistant. You can actually reserve the entire space for large events. The smiths, Mark J. Hopper and Jessica Collins, are incredibly talented and infinitely patient. In fact, they have earned some recent fame by appearing as contestants on the History Channel’s popular show Forged in Fire (tune in Tuesday, April 17th at 8pm EST to see their episode). During the workshops, the smiths showcase the necessary steps and then oversee and assist as students insert and retrieve glowing chunks of metal from the forge while hammering with appropriate techniques. In the final steps, they help you grind your profile before putting on the sharpened edge.

Look, a butter knife!

If you aren’t interested in blades (uh…why wouldn’t you be?), Goat n Hammer offers classes covering various foundational blacksmithing skills, from forging your own hammer to making more detailed items like leaves or even spoons. In order to progress and make more complex creations, however, you have to have completed a couple introductory courses. Which only makes sense since we aren’t talking about baking a cake here. Upper-level classes cost as much as $600 but these span several hours over a few days.

These are grinders. They will carve away your finger-flesh and I’ve got the scar to prove it.

Because of the uptick in interest in blacksmithing—credited to the unlikely success of Forged in Fire—classes fill up early. I had to reserve mine a month in advance. New courses are being added often so do check their Website and Facebook often for updates.

Behold, my creations. Both are perfect for destroying Amazon boxes and blocks of cheese.

Again, I can’t recommend this experience enough. You get to gain some aptitude in one of humanity’s oldest and most essential crafts while supporting local Atlanta artists. So step outside your comfort zone and into the heat at Goat n Hammer.


Rain or Shine, Stay Fed with the Freedom Farmer’s Market

I try to avoid going grocery shopping when I’m hungry, but as soon as I see the baked goods section at the grocery store, that notion pretty much goes out the window. It’s tempting to get a chicken tender sub at Publix or hoard Costco samples until they beg you to leave, but for those that want fresh, organic foods, those aren’t a great option.

If you want fresh, organic foods, farmer’s markets are your best option. They have local, humane produce, great people, and – if it’s well organized – a pleasant atmosphere to take it all in. In the perimeter, there are a few different options: the Green Market in Piedmont Park, the Decatur Farmer’s Market, and the Freedom Farmer’s Market. All of these markets are great venues to shop and pick up your weekly groceries, meet people, and grab a meal, but what makes the Freedom Farmer’s Market special?

ATL by Day Freedom Farmers Market Vendors
Customers shop at the Freedom Farmers Market, rain or shine

Local farmers and vendors show up at the Freedom Farmer’s Market at around 7am (rain or shine) to begin setup with the help of local volunteers and long-time organizer Holly Hollingsworth. Holly has been organizing markets like this for 15 years, and her experience shows. By 9am, small crews have set up roughly 25 tents for vendors, a bike valet, picnic benches, a children’s tent, and a small pop-up restaurant. All these amenities, live music, and wonderful people make the atmosphere worth the trip any Saturday.

ATL by Day Freedom Farmers Market Riverview Farms
Riverview Farms provides locals with humane organic meat

Freedom Farmer’s Market has tons of fresh produce from local farms including Woodland Gardens, Rise n Shine Organic Farm, Riverview Farms Meats, Watsonia Peaches, and Hickory Hill Farm. Once you’ve had your fill of fruits and vegetables, you can browse other stands such as Proof Bake Shop, Dayspring Dairy, Treehouse Milk, and Piedmont Provisions.

The farmers are obviously the backbone of the market, but what makes the Freedom Farmer’s Market unique is the local pop up restaurant that will keep you fed (and damn well) while you shop. Each week has a different restaurant, so there’s always something new to try.

ATL by Day Freedom Farmers Market Rise and Shine Galette
Rise and Shine makes a great galette!

Today’s pop up restaurant is Rise and Shine. They’re making a phenomenal Riverview ham and cheese galette (think crepe) made with gluten free buckwheat flour, topped with a fried egg. Sweet baby Jesus this thing was delicious. I had to get two because the first one looked so good that I ate it without taking a picture first. I completed the meal with some fresh coffee from 1000 Faces Coffee, just a few steps away!

ATL by Day Freedom Farmers Market 1000 Faces Coffee
Hot coffee is the perfect treat on a rainy morning

The prices are reasonable and the food is great. Vendors take cash or tokens (few take credit). Tokens are cash equivalent, so you get 10 tokens for $10. They’ll also double your EBT if you’re on SNAP.

ATL by Day Freedom Farmers Market Tokens
Tokens are the currency of choice at the Freedom Farmer’s Market

So come by, say ‘hi’ to Holly and all the friendly folk, and pick up your week’s groceries and a delicious lunch. The market is open every Saturday from 9am-1pm at the Carter Center Library. Look for signs along Freedom Parkway, there’s plenty of parking for everyone.

I hope to see yall there!