Spending Tuesday afternoons at the Farmers Market is one of my favorite Emory traditions. Last year, I loved getting out of class to join the swarm of students on Cox Bridge who were waiting in enormous lines to get lunch from their favorite local vendors. So when Emory announced the return of the Farmers Market, I was overjoyed. The Emory Farmers Market reopened on March 23 and is now open 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. weekly.

Even though the Farmers Market has moved from Cox Hall Bridge to McDonough Field to accommodate for social distancing, the spirit remains the same: everyone is thrilled to enjoy treats from an incredible variety of stands. From fresh produce, to baked goods or even full meals, you really can’t go wrong. To give you a better glimpse into the world of the Emory Farmers Market, here are three of my favorite vendors and the wonderful products they have to offer.

Raw Dried

Upon walking into the Farmers Market at its new location, Raw Dried immediately caught my eye as it was stationed right near the entrance. Founder Victoria Bamiduro came up with the idea for her dried fruit business after feeling constantly disappointed with the options at the grocery store, claiming she was “tired of dead fruits.” Her goal was to sell healthy, high quality and delicious products that feature fresh ingredients.  

Bamiduro often gets questions about why her prices are higher than one would expect. While her bags of dried fruit are priced at $6 each, Bamiduro feels that her use of real, organic fruit ensures that her products are up to her quality standards and this justifies their price point. 

One of Bamiduro’s current favorite products, and now one of mine, is her dried strawberries, which are in season. The thin strawberry slices were sweet and reminded me of a healthier version of fruit leather. They were so addicting that I finished the small bag in one sitting. I will definitely be back to try more of what Raw Dried has to offer and to catch up Bamiduro.

Founder of Raw Dried Victoria Bamiduro shows off her dried fruit display (Allison Reinhardt).

Pure Bliss Organics

Pete Maxwell has been running the Pure Bliss Organics stand, which sells granola-based snacks, at the Emory Farmers Market for years and was excited to be back in action. For the return, Maxwell gave any student who came to the stand a free bar of their choosing. Pure Bliss sells four simple but delicious products: bars, bites, nuts and granola. They are all made from organic, natural non-GMO ingredients.

While browsing the wide variety of bars, I stumbled upon the Chocolate Almond Butter flavor. As I reached for it, Maxwell explained to me that it is not like a typical candy bar but instead a crunchy mixture of oats, rice crisps and seeds with a touch of sweetness. I appreciated that the bar was not too sweet, and I imagined it as a bar I could eat for breakfast without getting a sugar rush. The stand is also known for its “Georgia on my mind” bar, which consists of peach, peanut and pecan. The unique flavor profile is only fitting for the Peach State. No matter what bar you’re interested in, though, Pure Bliss Organics is the place for guilt-free snacks.

Pete Maxwell of Pure Bliss Organics waves to passing Emory students (Allison Reinhardt).

Marrakech Express

If you’ve ever passed an incredibly long line of students at the Farmers Market, you likely stumbled upon Marrakech Express, an authentic Moroccan and Mediterranean food stand owned by Amal Alaoui. From chicken shawarma, to falafel, to pita and hummus, every dish served at Marrakech Express is warm, flavorful and locally-sourced. Alaoui is committed to staying true to the old fashion cooking in famous houses and families in the old city of Marrakech, and this authenticity shines through in her dishes.

My absolute favorite dish from Marrakech Express is their Chicken Shawarma Bowl. I’ve tried several different versions of chicken shawarma in Atlanta, but Alaoui’s use of tender shredded chicken, creamy leguor sauce and traditional spices — actually sourced from Morocco — elevates hers above the rest. She also includes rice, a small salad, a portion of pita and hummus and an array of sides that vary each week. While the food itself at Marrakech Express is phenomenal, what keeps students coming back is Alaoui’s warmth and kind spirit. Alaoui sees Emory students not as satisfied clients but as her children whom she feels compelled to take care of and feed, Alaoui told the Wheel in an email on March 31st. Alaoui definitely succeeds each week in making sure that Emory students are happy and full of delicious food.

Students crowd around Marrakech Express after the lunch rush dies down (Allison Reinhardt).

Although the Emory Farmers Market can be overwhelming to navigate at first, each stand truly offers something unique and worth trying. Just make sure you get in line for your favorite vendor early enough before they sell out of their incredible products for the day.