Columbiana’s humble farmers’ market operates daily

Published 3:03 pm Monday, July 12, 2010

Chick Mims was eating one day at Paw Paw’s in Columbiana. Mayor Allan Lowe was coincidentally eating there at the same time.

Mims and Lowe began to talk about the usual — who do you know and what do you do? Lowe learned that Mims was a farmer and invited him to sell his vegetables and fruits in Columbiana.

The Columbiana’s Famers Market was born.

Mims has farmed for more than 50 years in Clanton, selling his home grown vegetables and fruits at the Birmingham Farmers’ Market for years. In 2005, he decided the commute and hard physical work began to take a toll on him. Mims decided he needed a change, not to retire but to just sell Chilton County-grown vegetables and fruits.

Mims’s cousin, Mike Burnett, an active farmer, became his source and the chance meeting with Columbiana’s mayor decided his area to sell, close to home.

Mims is an expert on his fruits and vegetables. He asked Clanton neighbor, David Cleckler, to work with him. Cleckler has been in farming all his life, also, and his brother is also in produce. Mims and Cleckler decided to join forces and give it a try.

For the last four months, every Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mims and Cleckler can be found on West College Street across from the Shelby County Courthouse parking lot selling tomatoes, eggplant, peaches, peppers, corn, cucumbers, squash, plums, cantaloupes, collard greens, turnip greens and watermelons.

For those who love butter beans, peas, and pole beans, you can ask for a special order and Mims and Cleckler will bring them the next day since these vegetables are more fragile in the hot Alabama humidity. In fact, if you do not see what you want, they will work hard to get it for you in the quantities you need.

On Saturday, 7 a.m. to noon, Mims and Cleckler are joined by more farmers selling their vegetables and fruits, offering the largest supply of the week.

Come to West College Street in Columbiana and buy fresh home grown vegetables for your epicurean delight.