Farmers market booms

Hartselle Farmers Market has overcome a slow start by now offering a wide variety of fresh, high-quality, locally-grown fruits and vegetables at its South Sparkman Street location.

The market had its strongest showing last Saturday when 11 commercial growers displayed products for sale. Tomatoes were in good supply for the first time this growing season. One grower offered peaches, and another sold prime cuts of locally grown beef from a freezer in his pickup truck. There was also a good supply of squash, cucumbers, pole beans, field peas, cabbage, peppers and blackberries. 

Another vendor sold fresh-cut stemmed flowers in bud vases and fresh-baked sourdough bread.

Some shoppers expressed disappointment the market was open but had nothing to sell in April and early May. 

One grower explained most of the farmers were unable to get in the field and work because of the wet weather and had to wait so long before they could plant. 

“My tomato plants outgrew the pots they were in and I had to dig holes in the mud to get them in the ground,” another said.

The number of people visiting the market has increased daily over the past couple of weeks as the variety of fruits and vegetable available to them has increased. Patrons are also happy with expanded hours of operation, as well as the amenities of the market’s facilities.

My family made a point of visiting a highly-promoted farmers market in Branson, Mo., while on vacation recently. We anticipated a large indoor market but were disappointed to find it was located on a city parking lot and consisted of a dozen small tents filled with handicraft vendors. 

Hartselle Farmers Market has undergone some significant changes since it has been placed under the city’s management with the Parks & Recreation Department having operational responsibility. Handicap parking on an adjoining concrete pad has been provided, as well as display tables. Hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

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