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Fresh veggies plentiful at market

April Mayfield weighs pink-eyed purple hull peas for customer Ray Franklin at Hartselle Farmers Market. | Clif Knight

If you prefer fresh, homegrown vegetables to the store-bought variety, you’ll enjoy shopping at Hartselle Farmers Market on South Sparkman Street.

Two of the market’s stalls were filled with a wide selection of produce on Tuesday morning. The selection included red potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, green beans, purple hull peas, peppers, squash, cucumbers, corn, okra and cantaloupes.

“We’ve got some of just about any kind of vegetable you can grow in North Alabama,” said John Hamm of Punkin Center. “We pick every other day so what you see here is fresh and of good quality.”

He and his wife Evelyn harvest vegetables from their garden patches and bring them to the market on Tuesdays and Fridays and sometimes on Saturday.

“We were a little late getting started this spring because of all of the rain,” Hamm pointed out. “Then it turned dry and that hurt us some. Now we’re getting showers nearly every day and that’s causing some of our tomatoes to have blossom end rot. Hopefully, the weather will settle down, as we get further into the growing season. We plan to be here this fall with turnip greens, mustard and sweet potatoes.”

“We love what we’re doing and we love to come to Hartselle’s market,” Mrs. Hamm said. “We have a number of loyal customers but we could use more.”

Brian Mayfield and his wife April and their daughter McKenzie were operating a produce stand nearby. In addition to what the Hamms were selling, they had a large supply of purple hull peas and cantaloupes.

“We’ll have watermelons in a couple of weeks, Mayfield pointed out.

The Mayfields farm 25 acres of vegetable crops east of Hartselle and were able to escape the recent drought by irrigating their crops.

“If we hadn’t irrigated, we wouldn’t be here,” he said. “The prospect for having a good supply of produce throughout the growing season looks good now,”

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