Farmer’s market could begin this month

Published 2:00 am Saturday, July 20, 2013

Farmers hoping to share peas, tomatoes and other locally-grown produce with area buyers may have their chance this month. But, city officials say they will have to do their part to make that happen.
Certification papers were filed Tuesday by city officials with the State of Alabama to make sure the planned farmer’s market is a certified venue for growers.
Connie Baggett, program manager for the City of Brewton, said the work is already underway to bring the market to life.
“We are working on getting our ducks in a row to make this happen,” Baggett said. “Once the papers are filed for certification, it typically is quickly approved and we can move forward.”
Baggett said the next step is to make sure that farmers who want to sell their produce are certified as well.
“It doesn’t cost a thing to become a certified grower,” Baggett said. “Local growers can go by the Alabama Extension Service office to be certified as a local grower. It’s free and they will receive a certification number showing they are a local grower. Once they have that, they won’t have to pay any sales tax on the produce they sell as a certified grower.”
Baggett also said that being a local grower isn’t limited to those in the Brewton area.
“We have a lot of farmers in this area,” Baggett said. “Growers can still participate from as far as about 25 miles outside our local area. This way, farmers from places close by can still participate. We have folks in Jay, Fla., and other communities that can participate in our Alabama farmer’s market as long as their certified.”
Baggett said a committee is being formed for the farmer’s market and she expects the market to be in place before the end of the month.
“Things are moving rapidly and we’re doing everything we can to move this along,” Baggett said. “We really expect to have our first market operating this month.”
Baggett said the tented farmer’s market will be in place along the border of Jennings Park (Burnt Corn Park) on St. Nicholas Avenue near the Persimmon Street intersection.
“We will be putting together some guidelines on how the market will run and what will be required of sellers,” Baggett said. “We hope to have those guidelines in place by next week.”
To become a certified local grower, contact the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service at 867-7760 or visit their offices on South Boulevard behind Southern Pine Electric Cooperative.
For more details on the upcoming tented Farmer’s Market in Brewton, contact Baggett at 809-1777.