Testing the market: Mt Laurel, Columbiana farmers markets offer a little of everything

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 27, 2006

You can find about anything you want at Shelby County&8217;s two farmers markets, except a bad deal.

Every Saturday morning from late spring through early fall, vendors and shoppers line Mt Laurel&8217;s Town Center and downtown Columbiana looking for homegrown produce.

But watermelons and tomatoes aren&8217;t the only things you will find.

&8220;Sure the food is what brings people out here,&8221; said Regina Goldsen, who sells beach towels and jewelry at Mt Laurel. &8220;But I still make enough to come out here.&8221;

In fact, on a given Saturday in Mt Laurel, 10 to 12 vendors sell everything from produce to baked goods, from birdhouses and watches to freshly squeezed lemonade.

Now in its fifth year, Mt Laurel&8217;s Farmers Market runs from May through October. Each market season starts and ends with festivals in the spring and fall.

&8220;It&8217;s a great way to spend the day, and it&8217;s a reason for people to come out this way,&8221; said Mary Peters, seasonal contact. &8220;Once people get here, they&8217;re surprised at what we have to offer.&8221;

Vendors say they enjoy the day, even when sales are down.

&8220;Everyone here is kind of like family,&8221; said Donna Hayes, who has been selling homegrown produce since the market&8217;s conception. &8220;We would come up even if we didn&8217;t make anything.&8221;

Columbiana&8217;s County Seat Farmer&8217;s Market is new this year. However, the number of vendors has been increasing each Saturday, capping at six June 24.

&8220;Hopefully, it will keep building,&8221; said Columbiana City Councilman Tom Seale.

Mt Laurel&8217;s market is located on 5 Mt Laurel Avenue and runs from 8 a.m. through 1 p.m. from May through October.

Columbiana&8217;s market is in the county parking lot on West College St. next to the Summer Classic Property and runs from 7 a.m. through noon