Daily photo by Gary Lloyd|
Anita Williams and her Falkville-grown strawberries at the Morgan County-Decatur Farmers Market.
Morgan County-Decatur Farmers Market opens Saturday
By Sheryl Marsh
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Anita Williams' strawberries survived a record Easter weekend cold snap that wiped out many fruit and vegetable crops, and she started selling the berries Thursday at the Morgan County-Decatur Farmers Market.
The 57-degree temperature and 16 mph, lashing wind did not keep customers away.
"I love to come here," said Kim Watkins, who was there with her father, Buddy Terry. "We have been coming here since I was a little girl and we've always gotten good service and good produce."
"I've been coming to this place since it opened," Terry said Terry. "I love it, and we've been her (Williams') customers all this time."
The market on First Avenue Southeast officially opens Saturday.
This season vendors will display their produce on newly built tables.
Burl Slaten, manager of the market said he and Robert Holladay, who works at the market, built 38 vendor tables.
"We built them at home, and I brought them to the market," Slaten said. " We needed new ones. The old ones had been here over 20 years and were shaky and in bad shape."
Also, Slaten was sweeping and getting the marketplace ready for its opening.
"I swept yesterday and this morning I came back and there were more piles of stuff," he said, Thursday. "I guess it's because of the wind."
Slaten said the cold weather was unkind to crops and caused a delay for harvests.
"A whole lot of stuff got killed off, but they'll still have cabbage, turnip greens, collards, radishes, onions, and the strawberries," Slaten explained. "Everybody is having to replant things like beans and okra because the cold weather killed those crops. The freeze didn't hurt English peas, but killed green beans."
He said farmers who re-planted crops that died should have harvests within 40 to 60 days.
Williams said she protected her strawberry plants.
"I covered them and they came out fine," said Williams.
In addition to the large berries, Williams was selling canned items, jellies and jams.
Terry said he and Watkins will continue to be faithful customers and that's why they came early.
"We come here at least twice a week to buy fruit and vegetables," he said. "We really like to come on Saturday."
That's the day the market becomes a meet-and-greet place as customers compare produce before leaving with fresh vegetables.
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