Valley Farmers Market has good variety in first day

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, May 18, 2021

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VALLEY — Five local farmers were present for Friday’s session of the Valley Farmers Market. For the most part, spring crops won’t start coming in until June, but there was a good variety of tasty-looking products underneath the Farmers’ Market Pavilion on Friday.

Walter Pulliam of LaFayette had lots of small containers of fresh strawberries and onions, Randall and Laura McClellan of Circle M Farm, Fredonia, had 20 different varieties of jams and jellies. Shawn Finley of Camp Hill had a table full of scrumptious cakes made by his Aunt Mary, while Matthew Steele of Steele Farm, in Shorter, had a good variety of crops he’d grown alone with some Chilton County peaches and oranges and tangerines from Florida. Phil Slay of Slay Farm, in White Plains, had lots of greenhouse grown vine-ripe tomatoes.

“We have gotten off to a good start the past couple of weeks,” said Valley Parks & Recreation Director Laurie Blount. “Most crops won’t start coming in until June, but we still have a good variety here today.”

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Blount said that two Farmers’ Market traditions, Free Tomato Sandwich Day and Free Slice of Watermelon Day, would be taking place later on in the season. Free Tomato Sandwich Day will likely take place in June and Free Slice of Watermelon Day in August.

Attendees won’t have to wear masks this year, but Blount is asking the patrons to show some courtesy when at the tables.

“Let’s try to keep it one customer at a time at each table,” she said. “It’s confusing for the farmers when they have to try to deal with more than one customer at a time.”

Walter Pulliam said that the weather had been a problem for him this year.

“In the middle of May, I am normally staking my rattlesnake beans, but I’m just getting them planted,” he said. “We haven’t had good weather. It’s been either wet and raining or too cool.”

Pulliam has been pleased with his strawberry crop this year and his onions have done well, too. He learned farming from his parents, Rufus and Veola Pulliam.

“When I was young, I tried very hard to have a garden that was as pretty as theirs, and I got hooked on it,” he said. “I love what I do. My two sons, Walter Jr. and Kevin, are of big help to me. I appreciate them so much.”

The McClellans’ table was filled with jars of jams and jellies. The different varieties included peach pepper jelly, blueberry pepper jelly, plain pepper jelly, pepper sauce and hot pickles.

“People really like my pickled okra and pepper sauce,” Laura said.

“This is a good market for us,” Randall said. “It’s a good setup for us. We like being under the pavilion.”

The McClellans also had some fresh eggs from their ISA brown laying hens.

The most mouth-watering table had to be Mary’s Cakes. There were slices of key lime, red velvet, German chocolate, pound cake and carrot cakes waiting for customers in small, see-through containers. When asked how long his Aunt Mary had been making cakes, nephew Shawn Finley, smiled and shrugged, saying “A long time. She’s catering, too.”

She can be checked out on her Facebook page: Mary Finley @ Facebook.