By Clint Thompson
Alabama fruit and vegetable farmers have an outlet to market their produce statewide. Thanks to Sweet Grown Alabama, a non-profit foundation that connects farmers in the state to retailers and consumers, growers can market their produce anywhere in the state.
“This database launch is the culmination of many months of work,” said Ellie Watson, Sweet Grown Alabama director. “We have been focused since September on recruiting farmers and just spreading the word about our program to the folks in the agricultural community, so we can build a database of members and a network of folks that have product available.”
Consumers can go to the Sweet Grown Alabama website and find local farms in their area. It also lists a harvest calendar so consumers can know when specific fruits and vegetables are ready to be picked. Anything from satsumas and watermelons on the fruit side to bell peppers and kale on the vegetable side are listed.
It is perfect timing for the website’s release. A push to support American farmers has been made during the coronavirus pandemic. Consumers are wanting to purchase fresh, local produce.
“Consumers, now more than ever, desire to know whose hands have been handling the product that they’re eating and where it’s been and where it’s been grown and how it’s been grown. COVID-19 has really given folks a heightened sense of awareness about the supply chain,” Watson said. “Sweet Grown Alabama can really meet a need to connect Alabama farmers and families who are looking for high quality, safe, healthy products. This database launch timing was perfect. It was something we wish could have been launched at the beginning of COVID-19. But we’re thrilled it’s at least up and running now.”
Sweet Grown Alabama is a membership organization. Watson said there are more than 130 completed applications that have been submitted.