New downtown Anniston fresh market opens Saturday - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

New downtown Anniston fresh market opens Saturday

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ANNISTON, Ala. - Start fresh in Anniston.

That's the slogan for the new downtown farmer's market in Anniston.  The revamped fresh market is in a new location, next to the old railroad station that now houses the Cheaha Brewing Company.

"The past few years for us, being at Zinn Park, it's been kind of slow," local grower Tammy Parris said.

"The customers just haven't been coming, so I'm looking forward to this year."

Parris and her husband grow about a dozen different fruits and vegetables in several giant gardens by their home in Piedmont.  She said growing vegetables began with her husband's grandfather.  It is a hobby to her, and she enjoys gathering at farmer's markets with other small independent growers.

"My plan this year at the market is to have a recipe, highlighting one of my vegetables, just to give people an idea of how to prepare," Parris said.

Anniston's market manager, Jean Ann Oglesby, worked with city officials to raise money and supplies totaling $60,000 in order to improve the city's market.

"We want it to be a community happening," Oglesby said.  "The city of Anniston decided that we would reinvent the downtown market and start fresh in Anniston."

Mayor Vaughn Stewart said it will be a vital part of the city's new downtown entertainment district, along with Cheaha Brewing Company and the

"All vibrant cities have a good market, and we just weren't satisfied when we took office, as far as where we were as far as our market, so we basically are fine tuning it," Stewart said.

"It's very important that you first shop local."

Stewart said the city is reaching out to area restaurants to provide a connection to the growers, in order to serve some local produce in their meals.

Some of those chefs will be on hand on a rotating basis.  Lowe's Heroes built an outdoor kitchen area with a grill, and there will be a local chef at the market each week to grill different meats depending on what they find in season.

Other vendors will have roses, goat cheese, and artisinal bread.  The market will also have live music and entertainment for the whole family.

"We'll have a kid zone, and this week it will be with [Anniston Museum curator] Dan Spaulding, who is showing kids about creepy critters that are in the gardens," Oglesby said.

The mayor said the market also hopes to work with children on nutrition.  Stewart said the city will work with the Calhoun County Department of Human Resources so that some people who receive food stamps will be able to use them to buy local produce.

"It's a proven fact that homegrown food is better for you than this mass produced food that's got all the preservatives," Stewart said.

"When you look at an urban population, you've got school kids out during the summer and they're not getting the nutrition, a lot of them, that they need.  A farmer's market is huge."

The downtown market runs from 8 to noon every Saturday through September 13.  The main area is the corner of 12th and Walnut, between the Anniston police station and Cheaha Brewing Company.

There are currently about 25 growers signed up to sell produce, but Oglesby said she will accept application from others.  The market requires a current growers permit, to provide evidence the produce is grown locally.  Email Oglesby at marketmanagerafm@yahoo [dot] com.