By Josie Chance
The peaches were just picked yesterday!”
“Yum, I love bramble jam.”
“I can’t wait to cook these steaks tonight.”
These exclamations and more were heard from Alfa Insurance and Alabama Farmers Federation employees at the Montgomery home office during Alfa Farmers Market Day June 30.
Alfa employees Cindy Strickland, Melanie Stanford and Heather Burge browsed each booth, anticipating their turn to visit with farmers and purchase local goods. Burge said she was excited to get home and dig into fresh peaches and sweet bramble jam.
“We love the Farmers Market Day,” said Burge, who works in Property & Casualty Services. “We even moved meetings around to make it down here in time. The farmers are fantastic, so we were excited to support them.”
The Federation coordinates the event to give Alfa employees the opportunity to interact with the organization’s farmer-members while enjoying summer’s bounty. The Federation’s Blake Thaxton said it’s important for farmers and employees to spend time together and was grateful to bring the market back after a two-year hiatus.
“Farmers are the reason we get to come to work every morning,” said Thaxton, the Alabama Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association (AFVGA) executive director. “It’s important for Alfa and Federation employees to grow relationships with our farmers so we can represent them well. This is a great opportunity for our employees to learn about local farms and the fruit of their labor.”
The market also encourages employees to seek farm-fresh goods outside of the home office.
Five farms plied their wares at Alfa Farmers Market Day. Boozer Farms’ Taylor Hatchett brought Chilton County peaches, tomatoes and cabbage. Hatchett serves on the AFVGA board with Beth Hornsby, who supplied jams, jellies and pickled products from her Lee County Hornsby Farms.
At the East Alabama Bee Co. table, shoppers chose from honey, handmade candles and beeswax bars while learning about beekeeping from Chambers County farmer and Federation State Bee & Honey Committee member Jeff Monroe.
Alfa employees searching for a refreshing treat in the heat visited Blue Ribbon Dairy’s ice cream station manned by Elmore County farmer Michaela Sanders Wilson, who serves on the Federation’s State Dairy Committee.
Rock House Farms from Cleburne County rounded out Alfa Farmers Market Day offerings with steaks, ground beef, sausage and eggs. Farmers Kaleb and Karah Skinner serve on the Federation’s State Pork Committee.
Additionally, Sweet Grown Alabama, the state’s agricultural branding program, held a drawing for a Sweet Grown Alabama basket, won by Federation Membership Assistant Office Manager Liz Coon. Learn more at SweetGrownAlabama.org.