Buying fresh and locally

Published 10:02 pm Thursday, May 21, 2009

Helena’s first ever Buy Fresh, Buy Local Market Day proved a success to all involved, in spite of cloudy skies and rain.

By 10 a.m., BB’s Bread, Brenda Scott’s homemade sourdough loaves were sold out. “I will definitely be bringing more next week,” Scott said.

Raymond Harrison, who farms 25 acres in Maplesville, arrived with his truck loaded with collards, cabbage, yellow squash, okra, red potatoes, cucumbers, peaches and green plums and went home with just a few green plums left.

“People in some areas just love these — they are especially popular with women who are pregnant,” Harrison said.

When asked if she would use her green plums for chutney or jam, Mary Perko replied, “I will just eat them as is — they taste like a soft Granny Smith apple.”

John Bruce’s bins of hydroponic lettuce were also empty long before noon.

“When you buy something with the roots still attached, you know it’s fresh,” Bruce said. “Miss Emily’s tomatoes will be coming in soon, as well as our asparagus.”

John Willoughby of the Farmer’s Market Authority was on hand and predicted great success for this location.

“People will learn to come early for the best selection,” he said.

Fresh-cut bouquets of snapdragons and sunflowers by Evergreen Farms welcomed the steady flow of customers. The Tim Duren family has grown mainly for the wholesale florist market for 20 years in their Coker greenhouses. Their cheerful flowers will be available weekly and soon Duren will also offer a vegetable mini-garden in a container appropriate for the porch or patio.

Two local Helena residents have specialized wares. Jennifer Vines offers homemade apple butter and strawberry jam (served over goat cheese on crackers) and Victorian-style “tussie-mussie” bouquets. She will have assorted vegetables, also, as the growing season progresses.

Kay Brashier of Home Plate Cooking has a complete menu of main and side dishes available for order ahead and take-home dinners. Her Coca Cola Cake, Gooey Butter Cake and cinnamon rolls were deemed scrumptious by all who sampled them.

The unique gourmet soaps made by Sandra McLeroy were developed after she researched and created a product that would not inflame her daughter’s eczema. Her company, Soap Opera, makes homemade bars containing only pure and natural ingredients and scented with essential oils. They contain no petroleum products and are beneficial to sensitive skin.

At the next market, on May 23, Chef Sue LeMieux from Fox Valley Restaurant will give a demonstration at 9 a.m. Chef George Sarris of The Fish Market will appear at the same time on May 30.