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Green thumb swap shop

Hartselle Farmers Market offers gardeners and small farmers more than a safe, convenient place to sell the fruits and vegetables they grow.

Since the market is now open six days a week, they have more time on their hands to socialize with fellow growers and glean information that will help them be more productive in future growing seasons.

They are quick to compare the general appearance of what they have on their tables with that of their neighbors and ask questions pertaining to seed variety, planting dates, fertilization and irrigation. 

Obviously, production costs are a part of the conversation. Growers openly discuss where they purchase their supplies and what they paid for them. By comparison shopping growers might find, for example, the difference in the cost of a 50-pound bag of 13-13-13 fertilizer from one seller versus another can be as much as $5. Growers report spending as much as $5 for 20 seed for a tomato variety that is not available locally. 

Most growers are old hands at what they do and won’t pass up an opportunity to tell another grower how it was done on their family’s farm when they were kids. 

They worked hard and long and learned to appreciate the luxury of a good shade tree. They dreaded the cotton-picking harvest, along with picking and shelling butter beans. Their dinner tables were filled with stewed squash, green beans, field peas, tomatoes and cornbread, topped off with cobbler pie swimming in real yellow butter. 

Tomatoes continue to be the most popular item at the farmers market, and other summer veggies will be offered for several more weeks. Greens will be available soon. 

Shoppers are advised to come early for best selection.