Farmers market improving
After a slow start, Hartselle’s Farmers Market is improving with an increase in both the number of growers participating and the variety and quantity of fresh fruits and vegetables being offered for sale.
Last Saturday, the market had eight dealers, the largest number on a single sale day so far. They displayed squash, cucumbers, red potatoes, sweet onions, cabbage, zucchini, blueberries and tomatoes. Only two growers brought tomatoes and they didn’t last long.
A steady flow of shoppers visited the market and many left carrying bags of fresh veggies. Most growers sold out early, packed up and left for home well before noon. Still, the short supply of vine-ripened tomatoes left others disappointed.
“I’ve wanted a tomato sandwich for a long time,” said one customer after being told no one had tomatoes for sale. “I guess I’ll have to go to the Decatur market and see what they’ve got.”
A desire for fresh tomatoes easily topped the lists of wants expressed by market visitors.
Other requests were made for green beans, okra, sweet corn, watermelons and cantaloupes.
Growers blamed wet, cold weather in April with a two- to three-week delay in getting to the market with fresh garden vegetables. Tomato plants, which were started in a greenhouse, had to be covered two or three times to protect them from frosts. Other vegetable plantings were delayed because wet soil prevented growers from working in their gardens.
Favorable growing conditions over the past month have benefited local vegetable growers. Dry, sunny weather in early June got vegetables growing at a fast pace. In addition, heavy rains of the past week accelerated growth and increased the yield in plants such as squash and cucumbers. Tomatoes should be plentiful in a couple of weeks along with the appearance of okra, green beans and field peas.
If you have an appetite for locally grown garden fresh fruits and vegetables, you’ll be a step ahead when you visit Hartselle Farmers Market. Markets days are Monday, Tuesday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Thursday from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m.