Interest growing in Farmers Market

Published 10:50 pm Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The spring planting season is not far around the corner so it’s time to begin making plans for the 2010 Pike Pioneer Farmers Market.

And, if Tuesday night’s meeing of producers and those who are interested in becoming producers is any indication, the 2010 Pike Pioneer Farmers Market should be one of the best ever, said Tammy Powell, Pike County Extension coordinator.

“We had 23 people at the meeting including all of the producers from last year and some new folks who indicated that they want to be a part of the Pioneer Farmers Market,” Powell said. “I think the increase in the number of potential producers is due to the fact that people are looking for ways to make extra income. The farmers market is a good way to do so for those who are diligent, dedicted and willing to work hard.”

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Powell said the Pioneer Farmers Market had a very successful season in 2009 with more participating producers and more shoppers who have come to depend on the farmers market for farm fresh produce.

“One regluar shopper refers to the Pioneer Farmers Market as her ‘garden,’” Powell said. “She says ‘See you at the garden’ and she really means it. She is not going to plant a garden so the farmers market is her garden. We have a lot of faithful shoppers and we are a growing market.”

The annual fee to be a member of the Pioneer Farmers Market is $50. Member producers benefit from the farmer’s market advertisements and other promotions. They also benefit from beng a part of a group that works so well together.

“If one producer doesn’t have what shoppers are looking for, they will help them find it,” Powell said.

Pam Sanders, market manager, said that to be a certified producer for the Alabama Farmers Market Authority a producer has to grow what he or she sells or obtain special permission from the Farmers Market Authority to sale produce that isn’t grown in this area.

Plans are to expand this year’s farmers market to include bakes items, cut flowers and crafts.

“We want the market to be a place where homemade and handmade items can be sold,” Sanders said. “That should add a lot of interest to our market and also give local people a place to sale what they make. The farmer’s market supports our local farmers and also gives the people of our community a chance to buy produce that is farm fresh. The farmer’s market benefits all of us. So, we encourage all producers to be a part the Pioneer Farmers Market.”

Those who were unable to attend Tuesday night’s meeting, may contact the Pike County Extension Office on South Three Notch Street in Troy for more information or call 334- 566-0985.