Farmers’ market slated to open June 15

Published 5:07 pm Monday, May 24, 2010

The new Butler County Farmers’ Market structure should be going up in Greenville within the next two weeks, says Richard Branum of the Greenville Kiwanis.

“The building should be here this week and we’re told they can get it up within a week,” Branum said.

Located on the site of the old jail at the corner of Cedar St. and Conecuh St., the wooden open-air pavilion will accommodate up to ten vehicles for from-the-truck selling. Additional space will be available surrounding the 40′ x 60′ foot facility, with capacity for a total of 16-18 vendors at any given time on the site, Branum said.

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The Kiwanis and the Butler County Farmers Federation have taken on the new farmers’ market as a joint project.

“The farmers’ market idea started about ten years ago out at the fairgrounds. The state started distributing these special vouchers for the elderly – 60 and up – and the disabled,” Branum said.

The market eventually outgrew the fairgrounds location and moved to Beeland Park Community Center before making the move to the new and permanent location.

Vendors at the farmers’ market must apply for a grow permit through the County Extension Office, certifying their produce is locally grown. The permits allow the vendors to sell their market produce without charging sales tax.

“We’re expecting to have a variety of items – squash, peas, butter beans, okra, tomatoes, corn, blackberries, blueberries . . . even fresh butter and eggs,” Branum said.

The new market is set to open June 15. Initially, it will be open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“We are hoping there will be such a demand the vendors will want to take a break and come back and sell from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. We’d love to see it open five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday,” Branum said.

“We’ve already been fielding lots of phone calls and there is definitely a lot of interest.”

The market is slated to be open through October. In 2011, it should begin operation in April. Branum said if the supply and demand is there, the market could eventually be open most of the year. While portable toilets will be on-site in time for the opening, the plan is to later install permanent restroom facilities at the market.

Farmers interested in obtaining a grow permit should contact the Butler County Extension Office at 382-5111.