Buy local, buy fresh in popular demand

Published 11:20 am Monday, July 2, 2012

Camille, Ryley and Bill Smith purchase fresh produce from Blue Heron Farms owner Kristen Goad at the Calera Farmers Market. (contributed)

By MOLLIE BROWN / Business Columnist

Despite a depressed economy, Mom and Pop stores continue to thrive by responding to ever-changing demands from the public. They offer good customer care, and cultivate neighborhood identity and friendship.

A “buy local” movement has recently spread across our country because the American public has become distrusting of corporate enterprise. Local farmers markets have sprung up to meet the demand of buy fresh, buy local homegrown produce and farm products.

Blue Heron Farms owners Kristen and Wesley Goad and son Brady have recently turned their gardening hobby into a profit-making business. Kristen’s memories of an open-air market in North Metro Atlanta inspired her to start the business.

“Back home in Georgia, there’s a store called Burger’s Market. It’s an open-air market that sells fruits, vegetable and plants. It’s the kind of place I’d like to own one day.”

Kristen and Wesley are not novice gardeners. Both grandparents had big gardens and both spent many summers working them. In 2009, Kristen completed the Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s Alabama Master Gardener Program. Kristen now serves as club secretary.

Kristen said this summer is the first they have marketed their wares.

“This is a trial run, so we decided to only do Calera Farmers Market. We’re growing okra, pink-eyed purple hull peas, crowder peas, green beans, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, eggplant and several varieties of herbs — mint, lemon balm, lemon thyme, basil, rosemary, oregano and dill. Our winter garden will have greens, lettuces and broccoli.”

In addition to produce, Kristen sells a variety of plants and tea she brews with herbs from of her garden at the market. If there is an abundance of the larger crops, she hopes to sell through Cedar Creek Nursery on U.S. 119 in Montevallo.

Selling homegrown produce is only part of Kristen’s dream of owning her own market.

“I want to have chickens and goats on our farm. There are many beneficial goat products — like goat milk, soaps and lotions. That’s my goal, but I’m taking it one step at a time.”

Contact Blue Heron Farms at 542-4490.


Mollie Brown is a business columnist for the Shelby County Reporter. She can be reached at