Farmer's Market

Greeting visitors to the St. Clair County Farmers Market in Pell City recently were, from left, Rod Goode, Farmers Market Steering Committee member and St. Clair County Conservation District technician; Cori Harris, St. Clair County Extension SNAP-Ed educator; and Worth Barham, Farmers Market manager.

The family farm is an American tradition, but, unfortunately, it is in danger of fading away as there are now less than a million people in the U.S. who claim farming as their primary occupation. This represents a loss of almost 5 million farms since 1935. Family farms, exhibiting self-sufficiency, are the foundation of rural communities. Communities benefit from the local farmers when they purchase their goods from local merchants and provide jobs, which enhancse the local economy. This is a win-win situation for everyone.

A few years ago, we started seeing a revival in farmers markets as health conscious consumers looked for ways to get the freshest produce possible. This is good news not only for local farmers but for consumers and communities. Farmers markets can enhance our spirit of community by creating a family-oriented gathering spot to reconnect with our friends and neighbors, while helping to promote and enhance the economic vitality of local farmers.

Usually sold within 24 hours of being harvested, fruits and vegetables produced locally are fresher and taste better than produce that has been shipped for a long period of time. When eaten at the peak of ripeness, consumers can reap the benefits of the exceptional flavor and nutrients the produce provides.

With the summer growing season now in full swing, virtually any fruit or vegetable you need for your picnic or barbeque can be found at our local farmers market. In its ninth year, the St. Clair County Farmers Market is open every Wednesday from 2-5:30 p.m. until Aug. 29. It is located in the gravel parking lot on U.S. 231 North, just past the post office in Pell City.

Because it is a producer-only, state-sanctioned market, it qualifies and as a Farmers Market Nutrition Voucher Program redemption site.

If you haven’t had a chance to visit our local farmers market, we welcome you to stop by soon. Be sure to say hello to Worth Barham, Farmers Market manager, and Cori Harris, St. Clair County Extension SNAP-Ed educator, who are set up there weekly, offering food tastings, handouts and other special goodies. Also, when you are there, be sure to register for the weekly drawing for your chance to win!

Your support will allow the St. Clair County Farmers Market to continue to improve and bring not only the same great products to you next year, but many more new products as well. For updates each week on what will be available at the market, be sure to join the St. Clair County “Pell City” Farmers Market page. To learn more about all the happenings going on at the St. Clair County Extension Office, be sure to “like” our page, too, St. Clair County, Alabama Extension Office.

See you at the market next Wednesday!