Farmer#039;s Market celebrates second season

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 24, 2003

The Pioneer Farmer's Market at the Pioneer Museum of Alabama will celebrate its second season with a Grand Opening Saturday.

David Carpenter, county agent, said a wide variety of fresh produce will be available for shoppers and a large crowd is expected.

"The Pioneer Farmer's Market has been open for a couple of weeks but it's really getting into full swing now with all of the produce coming on," he said. "All of the producers will be local and the produce will be picked on Friday afternoon. You just can't get any fresher than that."

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Saturday's market will feature beans, peas, tomatoes, greens, different varieties of squash, cucumbers, okra, watermelons, cantaloupes, corn, many varieties of pepper, new potatoes, onions, honey, cut flowers and baked goods.

"We also have two organic growers that will have several different kinds of produce, including potatoes, onions, tomatoes and greens," Carpenter said.

The Farmers Market has undergone several changes to make it more accessible to the public and shopping a more pleasurable experience.

"We've moved the Farmer's Market to the paved parking lot of the Pioneer Museum of Alabama and that makes it much easier to get around to the different booths," Carpenter said. "We also have tents for our producers that give the market a festive atmosphere."

Frank Bryan, market manager, expressed appreciation to the cities of Troy and Brundidge and the town of Banks for their support of the Farmer's Market.

"They bought the tents and tables for us and they are a big asset," Bryan said.

Carpenter said the Pioneer Farmer's Market is attracting weekly visitors, many of them families.

"Some people are coming out each week to enjoy shopping and the fellowship of the Farmer's Market," he said. "It has quickly become a gathering place and that's good. We want the Pioneer Farmer's Market to be fun, as well as the place to buy farm fresh produce."

Carpenter said something special will be served up at the Grand Opening. Fresh vegetables will be grilled for shoppers to sample.

Grilled vegetables are good, nutritious and add zest to any outdoor cookout.

"Grilled vegetables are popular, especially during the summer months when fresh vegetables are plentiful," Carpenter said. "We are planning to have someone at the Farmer's Market Saturday to demonstrate a corn creaming tool and that should be interesting and informative."

Senior citizens who have been issued vouchers through the Farmer's Market Nutrition Program may use the vouchers at the Pioneer Farmer's Market.

Carpenter said 22 local farmers have been certified by the Alabama Farmer's Market Authority to accept the vouchers.

"Last year's Farmer's Market was a great success and we expect this year to be even bigger and better," he said. "We want to encourage all residents of Pike County and the surrounding area to come out and support our local produce farmers at the Pioneer Farmer's Market. You can't get better produce anywhere and it's guaranteed fresh."

Plans are for further growth of the Pioneer Farmer's Market include allowing homemade items as well as home grown produce.

"Farmer's Markets are popular ways to shop for fresh produce, flowers and homemade items," Carpenter. "With continued support, the Pioneer Farmer's Market could quickly become one of the biggest around."