Fresh & Local: Farmer’s market set this weekend
With harvest season for many vegetables at its height, this weekend’s opening of the Choo-Choo Farmer’s Market has been perfectly timed.
The market, planned at Jennings Park this Saturday, will be a once-a-month affair giving local growers a chance to sell their wares to the public, organizers say.
Brewton City Program Manager Connie Baggett said this weekend’s inaugural market day will offer opportunities for buyers to purchase a variety of items with a main focus on local produce.
“There is still time for local growers to be certified so they can participate in the market weekends,” Baggett said. “Becoming certified is required and doesn’t cost a thing to do.”
Ray Parr and Raymond Burch are already making plans to be a part of Saturday’s first farmer’s market event.
“I’ll be there,” Parr said. “I don’t know what all I’ll bring. Just whatever is ready.”
Burch said he knows he’ll have some watermelons with him on Saturday and hopes to have some other produce ready to bring as well.
“I hope to have some okra and I know I’ll have some watermelons,” Burch said. “Whatever is ready to be picked is what I’ll bring with me.”
Both Parr and Burch say they have been selling produce to Brewton area residents for more than 20 years at the foot of the Murder Creek Bridge.
“We’ve been selling here for about 22 years,” Burch said. “We’ve already got customers that come to us regularly to buy produce. This will be a good thing to have it in one place where people can find what they want.”
Parr said the two have been selling produce side-by-side for a long time and always try to work together.
“We try not to bring the same things every time,” Parr said. “Today I’ve got watermelons and tomatoes and he’s got okra and watermelons. Having some variety helps us all.”
Baggett said farmers who want to participate can become certified by filling out a brief form with the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service in their community.
“We are looking for area growers to participate,” Baggett said. “That includes any growers from Jay, Fla., Atmore, Flomaton — anywhere in this general area.”
Baggett said there is a minimal cost for growers who want to participate in the farmer’s market events.
“We will have standard and premium spaces available to rent for the market,” Baggett said. “Inside, or standard, spaces will be $20 with premium spaces renting for $25. Those premium spaces will be corner spaces or spaces with electricity available.”
Baggett also said that those who plan to have a space at the market must provide their own white, 10×10-foot tent. Farmers who plan to be a vendor at all farmer’s market events, may pay a $300 annual fee in lieu of a monthly space rental fee.
Although the market will focus primarily on produce, other producers will have a chance to be a part of the event as well.
“We will be happy to have some arts and crafts people involved in the market events as well,” Baggett said. “For those who want to have a space available at the market, they will need to submit a sample of their work to be approved for sale.”
For those who serve food, vendor space is also available for those products as well, Baggett said.
Food and arts and crafs vendors should contact Baggett for details on details and guidelines.
The market will be held at Jennings Park near the St. Nicholas Avenue parking lot area from 7 a.m. to noon, Baggett said.