Your Dekalb Farmers Market: Food and Ethnicity in Atlanta

Return to issue

Your Dekalb Farmers Market: Food and Ethnicity in Atlanta

by Tore C. Olssen
Southern Cultures, Vol. 13, No. 4: Global South (2007)

"While the culinary atmosphere of 1977 Atlanta may have remained 'traditional,' the city itself was hardly reminiscent of the romantic world Margaret Mitchell depicted in Gone with the Wind."

In the summer of 1977, Robert Blazer opened a local farmers market in Decatur, Georgia, only a few miles from the heart of downtown Atlanta. The market began humbly in a former greenhouse with no refrigeration, and Blazer’s operation initially served as a simple exchange point between local farmers and consumers. Born into a middle-class family of Italian descent, Blazer grew up in his father’s variety store in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and was quite familiar with the retail food industry. After securing a loan from his family, he moved south with plans to enter the grocery trade himself. His initial goal seemed simple: “to provide the people in the neighborhood with high quality product” and perhaps turn a bit of a profit along the way. In the city of Atlanta, Blazer saw a “traditional” community that reminded him of his New England roots, “especially when it came to cooking.”