Andalusia Farmers Market returns for new season
Published 9:15 am Saturday, April 16, 2022
First started in 2008 by the City of Andalusia, the Andalusia Farmers Market is back for the 2022 season beginning Saturday, April 23 and running through Saturday, July 30.
Andalusia Farmers Market has one covered market and one outdoor market from 7 a.m. until noon each week. The covered market is located at 256 Historic Central Street every Wednesday, and an outdoor market takes place at the Square on Saturdays.
“Andalusia Farmers Market is a certified farmer’s market regulated by the State of Alabama under the Farmers Market Authority. We are also sponsored by the City of Andalusia and have a board of directors composed of city employees, county extension employees, farmers’ market vendors, and market managers. We are a gathering of farmers who grow local produce. We will have bakers and canners this year and had crafters in past years. The LAAC is taking over the craft side of the market, and it will allow us to expand because certified farmers’ markets can only have so many craft vendors. Being on the Square really helps people find us and has helped grow the market a lot,” Market Manager Allison Gordon said.
Produce, baked goods, canned goods, honey, fresh eggs, cut flowers, and nursery plants will be available.
“It’s important when we have fresh crop in the community available to share it with the community and let others experience that. My husband Sidney and I are beekeepers, and we love to share local honey with the community. The farmers have a place to go and share the produce they are growing at their homes. The honey we make can be eaten right off the hive, and we will have jars available at the farmer’s market this year,” said Assistant Market Manager Sheryl McKathan.
Farmers affiliated with the market use an assortment of growing practices.
“We have some that are strictly organic and don’t put any sort of pesticides on their crops. Others are more traditional, which has been the common practice for a long time. The good thing about going to a farmer’s market is that you get to ask them exactly how they have grown the produce. That’s not something you can do when you go to the grocery store. You can see what the label says but can’t really get an in-depth idea of how long does it take for this zucchini to flower and fruit,” Gordon said. “If you ask farmers, they would love to tell you how they started it from seed and grew it into this delicious fruit or vegetable,” McKathan added.
For those interested in becoming a vendor, an application, complete with a vendor handbook, must be filled out at the market. “We hold a couple of events beforehand for people to sign up. If they haven’t signed up yet, the best way is to show up and find one of us. It’s a one-page application, and the handbook has the basic rules. If you are signing up to be a produce vendor, you need a grower’s permit from the county extension office. If you are doing canned goods or baked goods, you will need a cottage food certificate or the equivalent, which is a food safety course you’ll have to complete,” Gordon said.
Gordon, who will focus on administrative duties, stated the market has grown over the past five years in different ways.
“There is a generational growth going on right now. My favorite thing is when the little kids want to sell their produce, and their parents come with support from the community. They are little passionate entrepreneurs, and Andalusia is a good place for that. The city sponsors the event with all the proceeds going to the vendors.”
McKathan will handle the market’s day-to-day operations.
“I’m most looking forward to getting to know the community more and feel like I’ve missed out immersing myself in Andalusia. I’m super excited to be there getting to know the vendors and the community that enjoys the farmers’ market. I love getting my hands in the dirt and taking a seed into a tangible item you can eat and share. My favorite part is seeing the excitement from my kids’ faces of having them pick out seeds and planting them. It’s been such a blessing to instill that hard work ethic and share what you have worked so hard for. I want everyone to have the opportunity to experience that.”
Both were appreciative of the behind-the-scenes help they receive from the city workers. “They are never seen by the community, but they come and set up tents in the morning and then take those down. They maintain the farmer’s market building by blowing off the dust every week and cleaning things. Those are very important jobs, and we are grateful for all their help,” Gordon said. “They’re the real MVPs,” McKathan added.
For more information call or text 334-504-4691, find Andalusia Farmers Market on Facebook, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.