Three area farmers markets place in competitionPublished 2:13pm Friday, September 9, 2011
FROM STAFF REPORTS
Local farmers markets competed in the annual America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest over the spring and summer, and three Shelby County markets stood out above the rest.
The Montevallo Farmers Market finished second overall in the state of Alabama, first in the state in its category of boutique markets and eighth in the country in its category. Calera Farmers Market placed 20th in the boutique markets category after two months of online voting in American Farmland Trust’s “America’s Favorite Farmers Markets. Helena Farmers Market placed fourth place in the state.
Boutique markets have 15 or fewer vendors. Montevallo Farmers Market acquired 171 votes, while Calera Farmers Market garnered 85 votes from locals from June 1 through Aug. 31.
“I have seen how consumers are demanding more and more fresh flavor that only farmers markets can offer,” said Mac Higginbotham, director of the Alabama Farmers Federation Horticulture Division. “Every market is different and each is a great model for improving the local economy. It is a win-win situation, and as a bonus, the consumer saves money buying directly from the producer.”
The top 20 markets in each state will receive a prize package including a certificate and “I Support My Farmers Market” promotional stickers. Pepper Place Saturday Market in Birmingham scored first in Alabama, and West Homewood Farmers Market placed fifth.
The contest exists to raise national awareness about the importance of buying fresh food from local farms and conserving farmland where that food is grown.
“We are delighted with this recognition and appreciate the votes by shoppers and friends of the market,” Montevallo Chamber of Commerce President Mary Lou Williams wrote in an email.
The city of Montevallo will hold its Fall Market Oct. 15 from 9 a.m.-noon at its previous location behind First Baptist Church on Main Street. The market will include arts and crafts vendors, as well as produce and live music.