Farmers markets come out on top

Published 5:15 pm Friday, September 16, 2011

Shelby County is consistently ranked one of the healthiest counties in the state. So it should be no surprise that three local farmers markets placed in the annual America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest.

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.

We’re glad to see Shelby County residents embrace and promote homegrown produce in such a visible way. Farmers markets provide locals with healthy diet options. They also stimulate the local economy by supporting farmers and growers.

Mac Higginbotham, director of the Alabama Farmers Federation, said he’s seen an increase in the demand for locally grown produce sold by farmers markets of all sizes.

“I have seen how consumers are demanding more and more fresh flavor that only farmers markets can offer,” he said. “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.”

We couldn’t agree more. We’d like to offer our congratulations to the farmers markets in Montevallo, Calera and Helena.

While most of the Shelby County farmers markets are finished for the year, several fall markets will be held in the coming month. We hope Shelby County residents will take advantage of these opportunities to eat healthy, locally grown fruits and vegetables. Maybe we can place at the top of Alabama’s healthiest counties list again next year.

The We Say is the opinion of the Shelby County Reporter editorial board.