Homegrown Alabama Farmers Market

One of the great reasons to shop at a farmers market is to know the person who planted, tended and harvested your food. Our goal at Homegrown Alabama is to facilitate relationships between local growers and the community they feed–which is to say, us. This seems important in an era when, as Virginia farmer Joel Salatin has observed, we put more energy into choosing who will fix our cars than who will grow our food.

We at Homegrown Alabama want to know that what we put on our plates is being grown in ways to improve the health of the soil, so animals and plants can continue to be productive for our grandchildren’s grandchildren. We want to eat fruits and vegetables in season because they’re fresher, healthier and far tastier, and the variety keeps eating interesting. We want to know where our food is coming from, and we want you to know, too.

The weekly summer farmers market begins in mid-April and continues thru October, every Thursday from 3-6 p.m. The market is located at Canterbury Chapel on Hackberry Lane between Bryant Drive and University Blvd.

For more information about Homegrown Alabama, how you can get involved or how we can improve the market, please contact homegrownalabama@gmail.com.

You can find details about each vendor and information for prospective vendors here.

Still have questions? Click an option below or simply scroll down.

Farmers market FAQ
Home processed rule changed
Farmers Market Nutrition Program

 

Farmers market FAQ

What kind of food can I make at home and sell at a farmers market?

Foods that do not have to be time or temperature controlled for safety can be prepared in a kitchen in a private home for sale at state sanctioned farmers markets. Examples include baked goods, jams, jellies, and pickles.

What foods cannot be made in a home kitchen and sold at a farmers market?

Low acid foods such as canned vegetables, slaws, stews, soups, sauces, and any foods containing meat or other potentially hazardous ingredients that would need to be refrigerated or otherwise be held under temperature control cannot be offered for sale. Note: Montgomery and Calhoun counties are exempted from this requirement by state statute.

Is there any type of labeling required for products made in a home kitchen?

Yes, consumers purchasing those products must be informed by a clearly visible label, tag, or placard that the food is prepared in kitchen that is not inspected by a regulatory agency.

What about raw meats?

Only raw meats, including fish and seafood, that are processed, packaged, and labeled at an inspected facility or are otherwise exempted from inspection may be sold at a farmers market.

What about eggs, boiled peanuts, and honey?

All of these products are considered agricultural commodities and may be sold at farmers markets.

Can I buy products at farmers markets for use in my restaurant?

Only whole fruits and vegetables may be purchased at a farmers market for use in a permitted food service establishment. Processed foods made in a home kitchen cannot be used in a commercial food service operation.

Can I sell goat cheese at a farmers market?

Dairy products, including goat cheese, must be processed, packaged, and labeled at a facility permitted and inspected by the Alabama Department of Public Health’s Milk and Food Processing Branch.

Information from http://www.fma.alabama.gov/FAQ.aspx.

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Home Processed Rule Change

The Alabama Farmers Market Authority has been working with the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) to allow the sale of home-processed foods at farmers markets. While ADPH does not directly regulate Farmers Markets, they do, however, have authority to regulate food establishments and food processors that may be operating within a farmers market. They also have authority to prohibit unpermitted food establishments and food processors from operating in the State. And, they have broad authority to prohibit the sale of processed foods that have not been processed in a permitted establishment.

FMA and ADPH agreed upon a proposed regulation change to exempt home kitchens that process certain foods for farmers markets from the definition of food establishments, thereby in effect establishing an exception to ADPH rules by allowing certain home-processed foods to be sold at farmers markets without any concern of intervention by ADPH.

The State Board of Health approved the amendment to Chapter 420-3-22-.01 of the Rules of Food Establishment Sanitation to clarify the definition of food establishment, specifically, what is exempted from regulation as a food establishment.
Chapter 420-3-22-.01 now excludes a kitchen in a private home from the definition of food establishment if only food that is not potentially hazardous (time or temperature control required for safety) is prepared for sale or service at a function such as a charitable, religious, civic, or not-for-profit organization’s food sale, or at a state sanctioned farmers markets, and if the consumer is informed by a clearly visible label, tag, or placard at the sales or service location that the food is prepared in a kitchen that is not inspected by a regulatory agency.

This exclusion shall not be construed as allowing the sale of low acid foods in a hermetically sealed containers (i.e. such as home-canned vegetables) when such food is not prepared in a permitted establishment. Effective date is April 23, 2009.

This effectively excludes farmers markets from regulatory requirements of the ADPH regarding non-potentially hazardous home processed foods. Certain home processed foods, for example baked breads, rolls, cookies, cakes, brownies, fudge, and double-crust fruit pies; traditional fruit jams, jellies, marmalades and relishes; candy; spices or herbs; snack items such as popcorn, caramel corn and peanut brittle, may be sold at farmers markets with appropriate labeling.

Home-processed vegetables cannot be sold at farmers markets unless prepared in a permitted establishment.

Information from http://www.fma.alabama.gov/HomeProc.aspx.

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Farmers Market Nutrition Programs

There are two components to the Farmers Market Nutrition Programs (FMNPs), the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) FMNP and the Senior FMNP. FMNPs provide a direct tie between production agriculture and nutrition by providing seniors and nutritionally at risk women and children the opportunity to buy fresh local produce directly from farmers.

The Goals of the Farmers Market Nutrition Programs (FMNPs) are clear:

  • To provide fresh, nutritious, unprepared, locally grown fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs from farmers markets and roadside stands to low-income seniors and nutritionally at risk women and children.
  • To increase domestic consumption of agricultural commodities by expanding or aiding in the expansion of farmers markets, roadside stands, and community supported agriculture programs.
  • To develop or aid in the development of new and additional farmers markets, roadside stands, and community supported agriculture programs.

The method is simple: Give low-income seniors, women and children coupons to redeem for fresh fruits and vegetables at local farmers markets and roadside stands along with related nutrition education.

Learn more about FMNP at http://www.fma.alabama.gov/Nutrition.aspx.

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