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June 30, 2011   Email to Friend 

Melissa Martin
(334) 612-5448
June 30, 2011

Shoppers had a variety of options to choose from during the eighth annual Alfa Farmers Market Day. Hundreds of Alfa Insurance and Alabama Farmers Federation employees loaded up on fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods, organic grains, shrimp and other locally-produced foods.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. ---- Hundreds of Alfa Insurance and Alabama Farmers Federation employees loaded up on fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods, organic grains, shrimp and other locally-produced foods at the home office June 30 during the eighth annual Alfa Farmers Market Day.

Organized by Mac Higginbotham, Greenhouse, Nursery & Sod and Horticulture director for the Alabama Farmers Federation, the farmers market is perhaps the most anticipated event held at the home office each year. Farmers and vendors enjoy expanding their customer base, and employees enjoy reaping the benefits of their hard work.

"This event brings a lot of smiling faces because the employees here at Alfa know they are getting products that are harvested at the peak of their nutritional content and flavor," said Higginbotham. "On top of that, there's no middle man involved, so consumers are saving money buying directly from the farmer."

The event also serves as a reminder of a popular program that encourages Alabamians to support area farms and locally-grown produce.

"We celebrate the Buy Fresh, Buy Local campaign each year, and the Alfa Farmers Market Day really serves as a reminder to our employees about the benefits consumers have when they shop directly with these producers," Higginbotham said.

Recognizing there's no age limit on good salesmanship, several youngsters from Little Alfa's "Free Spirits" daycare class took advantage of the rising temperatures and offered shoppers relief from the heat at an affordable rate -- $0.50 per cup.

A fan of the farmers market, Mallory Acord noted that while it's nice not having to worry about making it to the market before closing time, the annual Farmers Market Day serves a larger purpose.

"It's wonderful to see a company promoting local businesses and supporting local farmers," said Acord, physical damage administrative assistant for the Salvage Claims Department. "Not only does it create a solid relationship between the two, but it also promotes healthy living."

Lines formed early for 5-pound bags of farm-raised white shrimp, and countless customers smiled as they hauled away coolers brimming with the saltwater sensation.

"We love what we do, and we look forward to coming out here," said Dickie Odom, owner of Odom Farms in Eutaw and president of Greene County Farmers Federation. "It's good seeing people from all across Montgomery -- not just Alfa -- come out here, and they're genuinely excited about our shrimp and the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables other farmers bring. It's a great thing."

Another familiar presence at Alfa's Farmers Market Day, Oakview Farms Granary of Wetumpka, offered even the most health-conscious shoppers plenty of choices. Popular selections were blueberries; a variety of chemical-free and organic grains including pumpkin seeds and flaked oats; raw honey; couscous; fresh farm eggs and hydroponic lettuce.

Other participating vendors included Carroll's Farm Fresh Produce of Ozark, GiGi's Fabulous Foods of Montgomery and Wise Farms of Clanton.

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