Valley Park and Rec holds Farmers Market

Published 7:40 am Saturday, May 16, 2020

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VALLEY — Social distancing rules were in place Friday afternoon as Valley Parks & Recreation hosted the season’s first Farmers Market session. VPR’s long-time field-marking specialist, Cooter Williams, marked off the lanes to each booth.

Big Xs marked the places where people were to stand six feet apart while standing in line. Most of the VPR staff and the vendors wore masks.

Mayor Leonard Riley was first in line for the first Farmers Market session for 2020. He left with big bags of squash, potatoes, cantaloupes, tomatoes and turnip greens, all grown by east Alabama farmers. He couldn’t help but take a jibe at VPR Director Laurie Blount’s strict adherence to the rules.

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“She made me stand in line in each lane,” he joked.

There was plenty of hand sanitizer for people to use. Bottles of it were on tables just outside the pavilion.

“We are doing everything we can for people to be safe,” Blount said.

Notices were placed on each table asking people not to touch the produce.

The fresh produce being sold looked good following a long, wet winter and an early spring ruined for many of us by the spread of COVID-19.

Steele Farms of Shorter, Alabama had the most abundant table. They had cantaloupes, watermelon, green plums from Notasulga, peaches from Chilton County, apples and oranges from Florida, tomatoes from Georgia and locally grown okra, cucumbers, squash, beans, red potatoes, sweet potatoes, fresh-cut turnips and fresh-shucked corn and collards.

Mary Finley of Camp Hill had some delicious looking small cakes and whole cakes. Her cousin, Walter Pulliam of LaFayette, had some small crates of vine-ripe strawberries and some small crates of onions.

Randall and Laura McClellan of Circle M Farm in Fredonia had their table filled with jams and jellies, looking very colorful in jars.

“Unless they (the state) shut us down, we will be here every Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. through the growing season,” Blount said. “We will be here as long as our farmers have produce and want to sell it under the pavilion.”