By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Although Saturday (June 9) gave little indication, those who grow vegetables, fruits and nuts — or those who whip up home-made jams, jellies and such — are sure word will spread quickly that the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 Market in the Park promotion is under way.
Less than a dozen veggie vendors, honey hawkers and baked-goods barkers were on hand to market their wares at Heritage Park, and only a few dozen potential buyers had come by mid-morning to sample or purchase the fresh-from-the-farm-or-garden offerings.
Most who came to enjoy an outdoor shopping trip got what they were looking for, although some expressed disappointment that neither peas nor beans were available.
“I love to come down here and get fresh vegetables,” said Alice Peterson, her two grandchildren in tow, as she caressed the corn and scrutinized the squash at the booth manned by Edward Adams of Freemanville. “Most of these things here cost about the same as those you get in the grocery store, but the ones in the grocery store have all that stuff sprayed on them. A lot of those vegetables, you have to wash them longer than it takes to cook them, so I try to buy fresh ones when the season is in.”
Adams, known locally as “Collard Man,” didn’t have any greens yet, but his table also included large, ripe tomatoes — a commodity that was in surprisingly short supply on Saturday — and two varieties of new potatoes.
“I grow all the stuff I bring down here,” said the Freemanville farmer. “I’m going to plant my collard greens in July, and I plan to plant 200-300 head of cabbage this year, too.”
Jimmy Mason’s booth — the only one that featured watermelons — was another relatively busy one, as was the one operated by Glenda Harrelson of Atmore, who offered numerous jars of jams and pickles, a few produce items, and free range eggs.
Another popular booth was that of 4 Bees Apiary, which sold quarts and pints of golden honey while also offering free samples.
“There will be more people, once the word gets out,” said Ellen Earls, who owns with her husband 100 hives of bees in Bay Minette, Stockton, Perdido and Rabun. “I make all of these [Market in the Park] I can each year; I have since they started holding them. I look forward to coming up here the next three months.”
The three-installment farmers’ market will continue on the second Saturday in July (July 14) and the second Saturday in August (August 11). Each one will begin at 7:30 a.m. and continue through 11 a.m.
To reserve space at the next Market in the Park, or for more information on the event, call the Chamber at 251-368-3305.