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Farmers Market the place for farm freshness

Joan Word was not in a hurry.

Why should she be?

She was shopping at the Farmers Market at the Pioneer Museum of Alabama and she wanted to take it all in - the offerings at the produce booths, the fellowship of friends and neighbors and the early morning sun.

Word was one of many visitors to the Farmers Market Saturday morning and she was not disappointed.

The Farmers Market is her favorite place to shop for produce and other homegrown products.

"Everything here is fresh from the farm," she said. "And, there's a wide variety and the prices are good. I like buying from our local farmers and getting to know them. They can answer questions about their vegetables and even give you some tips on preparation. They can tell you when certain vegetables will be ready and available at the market."

Word also enjoys the fellowship that surrounds the market.

"No one seems to be in a hurry and we have time to visit," she said. "The Farmers Market is a great place to shop."

Frank Bryan, Farmers Market manager, said 14 farmers have registered to participate in the 2003 Farmers Market.

"Others can still register," he said. "The fee is membership to the Pioneer Museum of Alabama and that's $35. That's a good deal for the opportunity to sell your produce three times a week at the Farmers Market through the summer and into the fall. The museum's board allows the market to set up on its grounds and, in return, we support the museum."

Bryan said it's still early in the summer harvest season, but already a wide variety of produce is available.

At the market Saturday, producers had cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, eggplant, onions, new potatoes, collards, turnips, sweet corn, string beans, okra, herbs, honey and flowers.

John Curry and Dawn Key said their day at the market was very successful.

"We participate in the Farmers Market because the market is a place where people can come and get good, wholesome fruits and vegetables that are grown by local producers," Key said. "We want to provide high quality produce to the people of our area. We grow everything that we sell and we know that it's fresh and of the highest quality. That's what people want and that's what we have to offer."

The Farmers Market is being held this year in the museum's parking lot making it more accessible.

The cities of Troy, Brundidge and Banks had given their support to the Farmers Market. The cities have combined resources to purchase tents and tables for the vendors, making it more convenient and comfortable for them and shoppers.

The Farmers Market is open from 7 a.m. until each Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The market's grand opening is set for June 28.