With the exception of a few masks, gloves and some extra safety precautions, Saturday’s Cartersville Farmers Market looked like a normal spring day in Downtown Cartersville.
It was the first Saturday of the year for the farmers market, and the event was well-attended. With many people social distancing over the last two months since the coronavirus pandemic, both vendors and customers seemed to be enjoying a return to normal social interactions.
Few people were more pleased to see the Cartersville Farmers Market's return than Travis and Sarah Loudermilk. The husband-and-wife co-owners of Loudermilk Hobby Farm have been regular vendors at the farmers market downtown since 2016.
Loudermilk Hobby Farm sells raw, unfiltered local wildflower honey, as well as fresh, organically fed pasture raised eggs, organic whole grain wheat and fresh baked goods using organic ground wheat, among other items.
However, if a potential customer stops by their tent at the market and has a chance to speak to the Loudermilks, it becomes apparent that they’re not only passionate about their part-time business and its products, but also passionate about the community within the community at the Cartersville Farmers Market.
Names: Travis and Sarah Loudermilk
Ages: Travis, 33; Sarah, 30
Occupational titles: Co-owners of Loudermilk Hobby Farm; Travis — U.S. Congressman Tom Graves’ office, security officer and field manager.
Education: Travis — Liberty University, Class of 2011, business marketing; Sarah — Thomas Edison State University, Class of 2013, communications.
Family: 3 children — Emma, 6 years old; Lydia, 4; Liam, 14 months.
The Daily Tribune News (DTN): When did you start Loudermilk Hobby Farm?
Travis Loudermilk (TL): We started the business in 2014 with just some chicken and eggs. We started selling the honey in 2016, and that’s when we started selling at the farmers market.
DTN: Why did you start Loudermilk Hobby Farm?
TL: We wanted eggs. We wanted chickens. We wanted a small-scale farm. We use raw and local honey. And we just thought anything we wanted to get involved in, we wanted to do enough of it for the hobby to pay for itself. So we got enough chickens to sell to a couple of people around us. And they were buying eggs from us, and it was paying for the feed. We had the opportunity to partner with a beekeeper for the honey, and that just took off. So everything we sell, it’s what we already do at our house, and we’d like to share it with others. So we keep everything really high quality. And then, of course, we go spend a lot of money at Noble & Main Coffee, because we love their coffee. We partnered with them. We said, “Hey, we want to brew coffee at the farmers market. Can we brew yours?” And then they just started locally roasting it this past year. So everything we do, we use and want to share with others because we’re passionate. Everyone [at the farmers market] is passionate about what they’re doing and they are happy to inform you of their product.
Sarah Loudermilk (SL): They’re also an expert in every single product they’re selling. Every product here is being sold by the expert, and they’re passionate about it, know about it and have been doing it for a long time. If you were to interview everyone here, they all have a very compelling story about why they’re selling what they’re selling. Everybody here, it’s really a labor of love.
DTN: What are some aspects of the Cartersville Farmers Market you enjoy?
SL: It is supporting local people and local businesses in Cartersville. And, ultimately, it’s going to educate people, and we’ll be healthier for it. It’ll provide good social opportunities to build strong community relationships. It’s going to build strong bodies, because you have the best produce around, and Cartersville is going to become an even better place to live than it is currently. I think it’s a strengthening, beautiful thing all-around.
TL: And I like the aspect, as venders, we’ve gotten to know each other. Some are new here, but they’ll quickly become friends with the rest of us. And we’re all on a team. We’re not competitors. We share information with each other. And all of our goals, collectively, is to supply the community with local products.
SL: We’ve made friends through being involved with the local farmers market. ... So there’s the aspect of, it’s a community, we’re sharing a product that we feel is of great quality and a great product to use. We’re being efficient and things are paying for themselves, and on top of that, it’s truly benefiting people. So it’s great all-around.
TL: You’re buying something that was grown in this community and probably picked yesterday.
DTN: Where can customers purchase your products?
TL: We sell here in the Cartersville Farmers Market. There’s a few events we’ll do around town. We’re not really looking to go outside of our community. We could, but we would rather not. We sell at Southern With Grace, Swheat Market Deli, which is closed right now, Noble & Main Coffee Shop, Holy grounds Coffee Shop, City Blends Nutrition & Smoothie Cafe, among a few others. Those are the main shops we sell our honey in. That’s the main way we sell our honey, through the winter especially. But, when we first started doing this, people would call us midweek and say, "I need honey and can’t wait until the end of the week. Where do we get it?” So we started putting it in some stores around town, asking people if they wanted to sell it so we would have some options around whenever we started selling it.