Happy farmers, fresh produce and top-notch farm products helped put smiles on curious customers’ faces during the Alfa Farmers Market in Montgomery June 13.
Held annually for staff at Alfa Insurance and Alabama Farmers Federation home office, the market connects Alfa to the company’s roots. The Federation founded Alfa in 1946 to provide fire insurance for farmers.
Laura Maxey, who works in Alfa’s Accounting Department, snagged a haul of fresh produce during the market, like blueberries, peaches and peas. Although she’s worked at Alfa for 13 years, it was her first Alfa Farmers Market, since her vacation typically overlaps with the market.
“I told my husband the market was happening, and he said, ‘I want fresh peas!’ Then he wanted peaches for peach cobbler, too,” Maxey said with a laugh. “I like that the produce is local and that I don’t have to get in my car and drive somewhere. In the store, it’s not typically fresh like this.”
Penton Farms of Verbena in Chilton County was one of five central Alabama farms set up at the market and sold items like freshly picked peaches, squash, zucchini, cucumbers and peas. Other vendors offered goods such as stone-ground grits, tomatoes, homemade pies, jams, jellies and pickles.
Rachell Penton, who owns the farm with husband Scott, said the market is a great reminder for Alfa staff that the best quality fruits and veggies are grown right here in Alabama.
“These people are awesome to come out and support us,” Penton said. “I liked seeing all the familiar faces, and we had a great time.”
The Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (AFVGA), a division of the Federation, helped coordinate the market. The group is also organizing biweekly, one-vendor pop-up markets for home office staff. AFVGA Executive Director Hunter McBrayer said he was excited to help Alfa employees interact with the members they serve.
“On the surface, the Alfa Farmers market gives our folks the chance to buy fresh, locally grown produce, but we’re also achieving company-wide goals — to serve, grow and be healthy,” McBrayer said. “We’re giving back to our members, we’re growing relationships with those we strive to serve, and we’re improving the health and happiness of our home office employees.”
Besides Penton Farms, vendors included Boozer Farms of Thorsby in Chilton County, Hornsby Farms of Auburn in Lee County, Oakview Farms of Wetumpka in Elmore County and Slay Farms of Five Points in Chambers County.
The Alabama Farmers Federation is the state’s largest farm organization with 335,000 members in all 67 counties.