Sweet Grown Alabama Day will forever be July 22.
Kay Ivey, Alabama Governor; Rick Pate, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries; and other agriculture leaders and farmers joined forces at the Alabama State Capitol on Wednesday to celebrate the launch of a new online searchable database, which connects Alabama farmers and families.
The celebration was highlighted by a special farmers market and Gov. Ivey issuing a proclamation that declared July 22, 2020, Sweet Grown Alabama Day.
“Alabama’s farmers have a significant impact on our great state with over 580,000 Alabamians working in agriculture and related industries,” said Ivey in a press release. “Connecting with local farmers through Sweet Grown Alabama is a great opportunity to show your support for our neighbors and enjoy the wonderful products grown right here at home.”
Originally launched in September 2019, Sweet Grown Alabama’s online membership database includes more than 150 farmers and businesses that sell Alabama-grown products directly to consumers.
Nearly 30 vendors and Sweet Grown Alabama members joined the celebration on Wednesday with a farmers market on Bainbridge Street. They sold produce, meat, honey, pecans and other locally produced items.
“We feel like we had a great morning. We just wanted to serve those farmers and do everything we can to make sure they had a good morning. That was the whole goal,” Sweet Grown Alabama Director Ellie Watson said. “We were glad to have them all in Montgomery today.”
Industry leaders continue to preach the importance of buying locally grown produce and supporting Alabama farmers.
“People are asking different kinds of questions about their food. They want more information about where it’s grown; who grew it; how it’s grown. We knew that’s what people wanted,” Pate said. “You don’t talk to anybody that doesn’t say, they want to know that the tomatoes that they’re buying at the grocery stores or the tomato they’re buying at the road-side stands are actually from Alabama.”
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.