More farmers needed for Madison County Farmers Market


Jean Ayers runs the cash register at Ayers Farms new home at the Madison County Farmers Market

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Good news if you enjoy buying fresh fruit and veggies at the Madison County Farmers Market, one family who's sold their goods there for years will be back this season.

But this year, Madison County leaders are looking for another family farm to join them.

Spring has just begun. And Jean Ayers is back in a familiar place, ringing up produce at the market on Cook Avenue.

"They sell all kinds of fresh vegetables. Better than the supermarket," Brent Smith said. Smith runs Smith Store-it Self Storage next door.

"We've been here for 30 years and Taylors was on the other end, they were here for 60 years," Jean Ayers said.

But Taylors is gone and it appears the most recent tenant won't be back.

"So many people want the option of locally grown food," Madison County Commissioner Phil Vandiver said. "We can't get the farmers there without the people there. It's a little bit of the chicken and the egg."

Vandiver says Monk's Market was only on a one year lease, and that after last season, they opted not to renew it. That's something he hopes can still happen. Until then, they need someone else to take over the space before the start of the season, which is less than a month away.

"We're going to re-bid that," Vandiver said. "Try to work it a little harder and find some local farmers who may want to come in."

"Nowadays, you can't find young people to work that hard and older people just aren't interested," Ayers said.

Ayers says she's hopeful another local grower will sign up. Their grand re-opening will happen the second weekend in April.

If you're interested in renting the space, you can contact the Madison County purchasing department at (256)532-3507. Vandiver says they plan to accept bids for the next three weeks.