Oconee farm family takes fresh produce on the road

Margo Candelario parked her new red trailer at the Nellie B Apartments in Athens on Friday for its first appearance in what she hopes will be a weekly presence that will extend into the fall.

 

Candelario and her family are selling vegetables harvested off farmland in North High Shoals, a secluded town on the southwestern side of Oconee County.

Candelario, her daughters — Trae, Camaryn and Cheyenne — and her mother Clarice Scott, make up the Young Female Farmers, a business that began in 2006 that offers fresh vegetables and baked products. The mobile produce trailer is a new idea they are nurturing to reach other markets.

“After 10 years of vending at farmers markets, we noticed there was a trend that people who really needed the vegetables weren’t coming to the markets for various reason — pricing, location and not necessarily being able to identify a lot of the vegetables some of the farmers produced,” Candelario said as the hot sun bore down on this low-income housing complex in east Athens.

Minutes after the trailer was parked and opened for business, with red tomatoes, green cucumbers, yellow corn, and purple hull peas all laid out, their first customer arrived.

Shantel Brown, who lives in the Nellie B community, selected some produce.

“I love these,” Brown said about her collection of fresh food.

“We’re bringing it to the community and hopefully we can entice people to try produce they are not familiar and with a better price value for the produce,” Candelario said.

Young Female Farmers plans to be at this location on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to noon. They are also working to obtain a location in Oconee County as well.

For many years, the Young Female Farmers offered their baked goods and vegetables at the farmer’s market in Watkinsville and later at the market in Monroe. On their farm in North High Shoals, they grow their vegetables without using pesticides. The baked goods — pies, cakes and bread — are preservative free and made from scratch.

In 2015, the online newspaper Huffington Post and the organization Food Tank honored Candelario’s daughters when it selected 30 young women who were “rising stars” in the food and agriculture business.

The idea of the food trailer was recently born.

The family received the bright red enclosed trailer on Monday from the manufacturer in Bonaire, Ga.

“They built it. I talked to them about what we wanted to do and they were able to design it based on our conversation,” said Candelario, a published poet and author, who is also an artist who was once profiled in an article in Southern Living magazine.

This family business has been a learning experience for her daughters who have actually grown up with the enterprise.

“They have not only learned business, but they have learned you can help a community become healthier and more knowledgeable about what you put in your body,” she said.

 

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