First started in 2008 by the City of Andalusia, the Andalusian Farmers Market returns for the 2022 season starting on Saturday April 23 and running through Saturday July 30.
Andalucía Farmers Market has a covered market and an open-air market from 7 am to noon each week. The covered market is located at 256 Historic Central Street every Wednesday, and an open-air market is held in the plaza on Saturdays.
“Andalusia Farmers Market is a certified farmers market regulated by the State of Alabama under the Farmers Market Authority. We are also sponsored by the Andalucía City Council and have a board of directors made up 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 we had artisans in previous years. The LAAC is taking over the craft side of the market and will allow us to expand because certified farmers’ markets can only have a limited number of craft vendors. Being on Square really helps people find us and has really helped the market grow,” said Allison Gordon, Market Manager.
Produce, baked goods, canned goods, honey, fresh eggs, cut flowers and nursery plants will be available.
“It’s important when we have fresh crops available in the community to share with the community and let others experience that. My husband Sidney and I are beekeepers and we love sharing local honey with the community. Farmers have a place to go and share the produce they grow at home. The honey we make can be eaten straight from the hive, and we will have jars available at the farmers market this year,” said Deputy Market Manager Sheryl McKathan.
Farmers affiliated with the market use a variety of farming practices.
“We have some that are strictly organic and don’t put any kind of pesticide on their crops. Others are more traditional, which has been common practice for a long time. The nice thing about going to a farmers market is that you can ask them exactly how they grew the produce. That’s not something you can do when you go to the supermarket. You can see what the label says, but you can’t really get a detailed idea of how long it takes for this zucchini to flower and fruit,” Gordon said. “If you ask farmers, they would love to tell you how they started from seeds and how they grew into this delicious fruit or vegetable,” added McKathan.
For those interested in becoming a vendor, an application, complete with a vendor manual, must be filled out at the marketplace. “We set up a couple of events beforehand for people to sign up. If you haven’t registered yet, the best way is to introduce yourself and find one of us. It is a one page application and the manual has the basic rules. If you are registering to be a produce vendor, you need a cultivation permit from the county extension office. If you’re making canned goods or baked goods, you’ll need a cottage food certificate or its equivalent, which is a food safety course you’ll need to complete,” Gordon said.
Gordon, who will focus on administrative tasks, said the market has grown in the last five years in different ways.
“There is generational growth right now. What I like the most is when young children want to sell their products and their parents come with the support of the community. They are small passionate entrepreneurs, and Andalusia is a good place for that. The city sponsors the event and all proceeds go to the vendors.”
McKathan will handle the day-to-day operations of the market.
“I really want to get to know the community more and I feel like I missed out on the opportunity to immerse myself in Andalusia. I am so excited to be there to meet the vendors and the community that enjoys the farmers market. I love getting my hands in the dirt and turning a seed into a tangible item that you can eat and share. My favorite part is seeing the excitement on my kids’ faces as I ask them to pick out seeds and plant them. It has 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 grateful for the behind-the-scenes help they receive from city workers. “The community never sees them, but they come and put up tents in the morning and then take them down. They keep up the farmers market building by dusting every week and cleaning things up. Those are very important jobs and we are grateful for all your help,” Gordon said. “They are the real MVPs,” added McKathan.
For more information, call or text 334-504-4691, search Andalusia Farmers Market on Facebook, or email email@example.com.