Sweet Summer Signals Season For Fresh Produce
By Marlee Moore
The Allman family nestles thousands of leafy transplants into the soil each spring, laying the groundwork for colorful produce to pepper Straight Mountain come summer.
“God blessed this mountain, and it produces beautiful fruits and vegetables,” said Blount County’s Destiny Allman Gladden.
Customers who visit her family’s Allman Farms and Orchards store choose from a plethora of produce — just-picked squash, peppers, cabbage, broccoli, corn and other vegetables, in addition to peaches, plums, nectarines and apples plucked from their burgeoning orchard.
But the family’s primary crop is the tasty tomato, which bursts onto the scene in July before production wanes in October. The Allmans grow, sort, pack and wholesale large varieties and bite-size grape tomatoes for grocery stores. Customers craving the flavor of fresh, perfectly ripe tomatoes can stock up at the farm store, too.
The farm is a member of Sweet Grown Alabama, the state’s agricultural branding program, which offers a searchable database for produce, locally raised meat and other farm products at SweetGrownAlabama.org. The Alabama Farmers Federation’s Blake Thaxton said supporting Sweet Grown Alabama just makes sense — for farmers and consumers.
“Summer is synonymous with fresh produce,” said Thaxton, the Federation’s commodity director for specialty crops. “On average, produce sold from a farm store or farmers market is less than three days old and is usually just hours removed from the field. Produce from local farmers is as fresh as it gets and delivers dollars directly back into your local economy. Plus, it just tastes better.”
Recent supply chain issues are causing minor headaches for the Allmans and other farmers when ordering supplies like packing boxes and fertilizer. But those same buzzwords showcase the importance of supporting family farms like the Allmans’. Destiny and her husband, Colby, farm with her parents, Daniel and Amy, and her brother and sister-in-law, Chance and Mary Clair.
Customers who step on the farm get the inside scoop on agriculture as they visit with the Allmans. Talking farm facts with consumers is time well spent, Destiny said.
“The questions folks have are easy to answer,” she said. “We want people to understand how hard farming is and have a better respect for where their food comes from, whether they’re buying straight from our farm or at the grocery store.”
To access local fruits, vegetables and other Alabama-grown products, visit SweetGrownAlabama.org.