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Food Issue - The organized chaos of Your DeKalb Farmers Market

The massive Decatur grocery keeps growing

One-hundred-sixty-thousand square feet of organized chaos awaits you inside Your DeKalb Farmers Market (3000 E. Ponce de Leon Ave., 404-377-6400, www.dekalbfarmersmarket.com), once you make it past the chaos of the parking lot, of course. The market has a diehard fan base that keeps growing thanks to YDFM's long stretches of produce, house-baked pastries, enormous meat and deli area, and endless rows of grains and other goods to get lost in. If you're a regular, you already know why you shop here. If you aren't, you probably have a friend who's a loyal customer. But did you know YDFM is a family operation?

Robert Blazer founded your DeKalb Farmers' Market 37 years ago. The original YDFM was relatively small at 7,500 square feet. In 1979, the store was damaged by a bad winter storm. When it finally reopened, Blazer's brother Harry was brought on as a manager. Once the brothers joined forces, the already popular store really began to take off.

In the 1980s, the Blazers built a new 100,000-square-foot space. Harry soon left the business and opened local high-end grocery store Harry's Farmers Market. Whole Foods eventually purchased Harry's in 2001. Today, YDFM is still run by Robert, his wife Barbara, and his son Daniel, along with a large group of employees from all over the world who have created their own family of sorts.

YDFM is growing yet again. This time, the expansion is rumored to encompass as much as 550,000 square feet, which will make it one of the country's largest markets. Approximately 2,600 new parking spots will be added and, with any luck, more carts, since any YDFM shopper knows the carts are always at a premium.

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