Farmers markets are popping up across Georgia. And as the summer harvest nears, they’ll be offering fresh produce and a chance for patrons to get to know the local farmers who grow their food.

The Riverside Farmers Market in Roswell, Ga., will open for its fourth season on May 14. It draws more than 1,000 people each Saturday morning to shop and listen to live music, said Louise Estabrook, a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agent in Fulton County and manager of the market.

“It's the place to be, where farmers and consumers meet face to face and everyone is the better for it," she said.

All of the more than 50 vendors at the market only sell Georgia products. The market, which now accepts EBT cards, served 26,000 patrons last year, she said. Besides farmers selling produce, meats, honey, flowers, nursery plants and eggs, there are bakers and salsa vendors as well as others with prepared foods.

“We have 140 farmers markets in the state registered on Georgia Marketmaker,” said Kent Wolfe, director of the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development. “These markets benefit everybody — not just the farmers and consumers, but the local businesses as well.”

Marketmaker does not include the 12 state farmers markets found in Atlanta, Augusta, Macon, Savannah, Thomasville, Cairo, Cordele, Glennville, Jesup, Moultrie and Valdosta.

Markets across the state are looking to provide access to all citizens. According to Wolfe, the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program is available in 65 markets statewide. The program equated to nearly $1 million in FMNP funds used to purchase Georgia-grown fruits and vegetables in 2009. A similar program for seniors will serve an estimated 11,000 Georgians this year, supplying $250,000 in fresh, local foods.

The Athens Farmers Market is already open for the year. The producer-only market offers fresh produce from local growers. Amanda Tedrow, UGA Extension agent in Athens-Clarke County, helps organize the market.