Home-grown support for Calera Farmers’ Market

Area residents looking for a fresh alternative to buying their fruits and vegetables in grocery stores will get a chance to shop fresh in Calera beginning June 1.

Calera residents Rebecca and Randy Krueger have been working for several months to organize and fund Calera’s first farmers’ market.

What was once a dream for the Kruegers and many other Calera residents will become a reality every Tuesday afternoon from June 1 to August 17 from 3-7 p.m. at Oliver Park off Alabama 25. The market will take place each week rain or shine, but will be called off in the event of severe weather.

Each week, the market will feature Alabama-grown foods of all kinds, and will usually feature at least one vendor selling locally made products, Rebecca said.

“We are going to try to have at least 10 percent of our vendors each week selling something other than food,” Rebecca said. “For the first market, we will have a soap maker from right here in Calera.”

The June 1 market will feature free lemonade and many special guests, including the Calera Fire Department and the Calera High School cheerleaders, to help kick off the inaugural year of the event.

Local farmers will be on hand to sell tomatoes, fresh eggs and many other different kinds of locally grown food. As summer draws closer, Chilton County farmers will also bring many different types of peaches to the market, Rebecca said.

The second week will feature a blood drive by Community Blood Centers, and all blood donated during the event will be used in area hospitals.

The Kruegers have been working to bring the farmers’ market to the southern Shelby County city since November 2009.

However, the family did much of the work on the market during the past two months, including gaining support from the Alabama Farmers’ Market Authority and obtaining a grant from the authority to purchase tents for the market.

“The ball started rolling on the market last November, but we actually didn’t get the go-ahead from the City Council until this March,” Rebecca said. “Everyone has been working really hard since then to get us ready to go in June.”

Rebecca said she expected the market to be successful from its first day, and praised the city’s officials, residents and volunteers for helping to bring the event to Calera.

“We feel like this will be a great opportunity for everyone here to purchase fresh, home-grown foods,” Rebecca said. “It has turned into a real community event. Everyone has really gotten behind it.

“Right now, we actually have a waiting list for farmers who want to sell at the market,” she added. “We are going to have great vendors providing some delicious produce.”

Ernest Montgomery, a member of the Calera City Council and the farmers’ market committee, said the market would not have come to fruition without the Kruegers’ hard work.

“I have never seen someone work so hard and so diligently to make this work,” Montgomery told the Kruegers during a May 19 City Council meeting.