Thursday, February 22, 2018
The Profile

Your Dekalb Farmers Market Fosters Global Connectivity

by Amelia Kovacevich
Online Content Editor

The search is over, the best food in Atlanta has been found.

The freshest most diverse array of colorful produce, pasteries like you would find in pâtisseries in France, and a buffet-style assortment of dishes from around the world that are available by the pound for lunch or dinner can all be found at Your Dekalb Farmers Market.  Not only is this low-priced, high quality market 5 minutes from the main loop at Agnes Scott College, but it is one of the largest employers of local refugees in the city. YDFM’s commitment to supporting the large refugee community in Decatur, GA is what sets this foodie-paradise apart from the rest.

YDFM began humbly as a small produce stand in 1977 and though it is now a gigantic 14,000 square foot warhouse, it continues to be owned and run by the same close-knit family. The market’s commitment to low prices are of highest concern to owner, Robert Blazer. He strikes a balance between price and quality by “cutting out the middle-man,” so to say.

“As the very first private farmers market of its kind in Georgia, our reputation in the industry is as a pioneer in fresh food distribution to the consumer. We are very unique in receiving direct shipments of fresh food without costly warehousing and distribution delays,” writes Blazer on the YDFM wesite.

The farmers market has a workforce of 560 employees, representing 38 countries and more than 56 different languages. English is required of each employee but Blazer does not see poor English skills as a hiring deterrent.

“I’m willing to work with people with limited English skills,” Blazer says on the Refugee Works newsletter, “because I see a strong work ethic and good values about family and responsibility in those applicants.”

The international connections do not stop with the employees, the farmers market partners with several fair-trade farms in South America, Africa, and Asia to bring exotic and ethnically-specific products to the shelves. Each type of produce is identified with a sign telling the consumer exactly where it was grown and many also include some sort of traditional dish the fruit or vegetable is used for in its country of origin. This is the sort of interconnectivity that is easily accessed at YDFM, blending international awareness with fantastic food.

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