story by Barbara Whiddon • photos by Drew Chapman
It is amazing to think about how the modern individual and families of today are actually returning to the old-fashion Southern way of thinking when it comes to food. Back in the day, people did not eat processed foods, high-fructose corn syrup or Polysorbate 80. They ate vegetables like corn, squash and tomatoes grown on their family farm or from the farmer down the road. Thankfully, we are moving back in that direction today with the help of places like the Poplar Head Farmer’s Market with their locally grown produce.
It is important to know what you are eating and where it is grown. And, the market is an excellent opportunity to communicate with the farmers and people who grow and create your food. You are able to ask the grower if they are certified to grow organic foods or what type chemicals or pesticides they use on their produce. This time can also be used as an educational tool for you and the children in your life. You can learn exactly how, when and where the seeds, seedlings or stems were planted, how they were cared for and when they were harvested.
Enjoy the open-air market while shopping for fruits, vegetables, canned items, nuts and local honey. The market is perfect for that delicious recipe for Tomato & Basil soup or the kid’s favorite blueberry pancakes or maybe the local honey is your secret ingredient for your famous salad dressing. For the meat lover in your life the market does not disappoint, offering beef and fresh seafood. A wonderful dinner for you and yours could be a steak, baked potato with a salad on the side and it is all at your fingertips. Also, while perusing in and out through the vendors they will have homemade baked goods, so you will not have to worry about dessert just buy it on the way out. The market also provides beautiful homemade crafts and lots more. If you are wondering how you will be able to get all of your fresh and delicious purchases to your vehicle, wonder no more. The market provides wagons, as shopping carts, to help make the trip back to your vehicle quick and easy.
Donna Bazaratti, Market Manager, announced that there will be a new “Volunteer Tent” this year. This tent will be a free venue for local businesses to promote and market their company. Also, the business will help with “wagon wrangling”, providing support needed for the market on that day. Donna encourages businesses to sign up before all the Saturday dates are taken.
The Poplar Head Market is a certified market with the Alabama Farmer’s Market Authority. The FMA is established to assist in the marketing of agricultural products by providing information, leadership and modern facilities necessary to move agricultural products from farm to table. This assures the consumer a better quality local product at a reasonable price. Another purpose of the Alabama Farmer’s Market Authority is to advocate for the interest and respond to the needs of farmers market and direct market farmers. All of the Poplar Head Farmer’s Market participating farmers are from the Wiregrass area and are required to have a “Grower’s Certificate”. This is certifying that they grow and harvest what they are selling.
The market is also a part of the Dothan Downtown Redevelopment Authority, an organization that supports special events to help increase downtown Dothan’s exposure to the residents of the Wiregrass and visitors from all over the world.
The Poplar Head Farmer’s Market offers fresh locally grown products every Saturday from June 4, 2016 to July 30, 2016 (except July 4th) and is located in the heart of downtown Dothan at the Dothan Civic Center’s parking lot. The market opens at 8:00am and closes at 12:00noon, so mark your calendars! This market has proudly been servicing this area with fresh produce for eight years and has no plans on stopping.