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Farmer’s market on the horizon

Features Editor

The Pioneer Farmers Market will open at 7 a.m. June 15 at the Pioneer Museum of Alabama and free coupons to purchase farm fresh fruits and vegetables at the market will be issued to eligible residents beginning Tuesday.

The coupons will be issued June 4 and 5, 11 and 13, June 18 and 20 and June 25 and 27 at the nutrition centers in Troy and Brundidge.

To be eligible for the Farmers Market Nutrition Program, a person must be 60 years or older on the day the coupon is issued.

Total income levels have been set at $16,391 for a household of one, $22,089 for a household of two and $27,787 for a household of three.

However, the Pioneer Farmers Market is open to anyone who wants to take advantage of this opportunity to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs from local producers. It is also a place where farmers gather to can sell their produce in a market-type setting.

The concept of farmers and consumers getting together in one place sharing something as important as the food we eat cultivates understanding and appreciation between the rural and urban sectors of society, said Don Wambles, administrator of the State of Alabama Farmers Market Authority.

Wambles said the

most successful marketing programs the FMA has implemented are the Farmers Market Nutrition Programs. From the program’s inception in 1999, the program has grown continually. This year, the program has added 18 more counties, including Pike.

"Through this expansion, we have been assisting local Pike County farmers and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System in establishing the Pioneer Farmers Market," Wambles said. "We know the farmers market in Pike County will prove to be an asset to local farmers and consumers."

Charlotte Gibson, director of the Pioneer Museum of Alabama, said the museum is an ideal location for the farmers market.

"Several spots were considered, but the museum was selected and we are excited to have the farmers market here," she said. "Our county has thrived on agriculture since its beginning and we celebrate agriculture at the museum. It is the appropriate place for a farmers market."

The Pioneer Farmers Market will be open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from June 15 through November.

"The market will open at 7 a.m. and the farmers will stay around as long as there are people here to shop," Gibson said.

The museum is doing its part to promote the farmers market by inviting those who shop the market to stroll the museum grounds.

"We usually charge admission, but we want to invited those who shop the farmers market to enjoy some of the benefits of the museum while they are here," Gibson said.

Gibson has something additional planned for the Pioneer Farmers Market.

The second Saturday of each month, vendors will be invited to bring their wares to the museum and set up shop on the grounds for a nominal fee.

"Second Saturday will not be for garage sale items,"

Gibson said. "It will be for vendors who have handmade, homemade, unique or speciality items for sale."

For more information about the Pioneer Farmers Market call 566-0985 or 566-3597.